Farm in a Box

Farm in a Box ‘Little Tokyo

I never thought I’d see “permaculture” and “Home Depot” in the same sentence, but an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (For a Green Thumb, Just Add Water) connects the dots between the two with a new product line called Farm in a Box Aquaponics from Earth Solutions.

Farm in the Box is a combined fish tank/planter box. Waste from the fish circulates into the planter box via a pump to provide fertilizer for the plants as well as removing nitrogen and ammonia from the water. From the Earth Solutions website:

“By integrating fish with vegetables, naturally balanced aquatic ecosystems are established making it unnecessary to add fertilizer, chemicals or remove nitrogen rich water.

As in nature, plants, fish and oxygen loving bacteria create a symbiotic relationship; Fish waste is converted by bacteria to a plant loving nutrient which helps maintain safe levels of ammonia without discarding waste and water.

Aqupaonics is an efficient, intensive gardening method with average of 3-6 fold greater yield per square foot. And even though water is everywhere in an aquaponic system, there is as much as 90% less water used than in-ground methods. Other advantages to aquaponics, is that it is fun, easy, most can be done anywhere, by anyone who shares a passion for locally grown food and herbs, without the challenges of in ground farming. Experiment with growing aquaponically raised fish and vegetables in your house on the patio in a greenhouse or community garden, and enjoy!”

Having never tried aquaculture I can’t say if Farm in a Box is a good idea or not, but it sure is interesting to see an advanced permacultural concept ending up in the isles of a big box store. If Home Depot wants to distribute a product like this or Nike wants to use fixed gear bike “culture” to sell shoes, I’m all for it. Let’s get the ideas out there. It’s up to us to take the next step and actually eat the fish.

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11 Comments

  1. This is a very interesting idea. But what happens when the sunlight hits the aquarium part of the set-up? Won’t the fish get way too hot?

  2. I never had anything that fancy, but back when I had fish, in the interest of water conservation, when I had to clean their tank, I scooped the water out of the aquarium and poured it onto my plants. They all seemed to thrive. I also dumped the carbon from the spent filters into the garden beds. Everyone was happy :) .

  3. Those looks real nice, but they’re expensive. If anyone has any information about making one of these rather than purchasing, please share.

  4. I’d be interested in knowing if this thing will survice a winter in the north east. I don’t want to see dead fish when the temps drop below 20F. I know gold fish are cold water fish but that generally fish don’t do well in small bodies of water.

  5. One guy from California, is doing this on a large scale, in greenhouses. He uses a heater to keep the temps where they need to be in winter time.

  6. These can be kept indoors or outdoors, and pretty much thrive everywhere. I have one, and when the sun hits the tank too harshly, I typically put a board in front of the tank so the fish have shade.

    It was a bit on the expensive side, but definately worth it :)

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