Food insecurity is an issue that has plagued our nation and many others for centuries, the study of solutions to which has been a passion of mine since I started college. We understand the depth of the issue for the developing world - limited access to the variety nutrient-rich foods which a balanced diet necessitates, due to environmental, economic, and/or geographical limitations. However, we fail to realize that this same insecurity still abounds on our own soil. In Queens, a bustling borough of New York City, there are thousands of families who live without access to dairy, meat, eggs, or fresh produce. We see this in Detroit, where, after the fall of the auto industry, citizens of a once flourishing city have only a handful of bodegas masquerading as grocery store stand-ins. These families in urban areas are reduced to consuming processed, packaged snacks, resulting in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and other ailments associated with a poor diet. In developing nations, poor soil quality, geographic barriers, limited water supply, and lack of funding is impeding on communities' ability to support sustainable food production.
Aquaponics, by definition, is only a system which allows recycled waste from aquatic organisms to support plant growth, and vice versa, in a cyclical manner. But aquaponics is more than just a system. Aquaponics is a reliable source of protein-rich food for the malnourished citizens of underdeveloped countries. It is a steady source of income for struggling families in rural regions. It is a catalyst to environmental sustainability, food stability, and economic growth, and can achieve these things even in the far reaches of society.
Aquaponics is development. It provides families and communities with hope for better health and well-being, and in turn, improving their lives and the global commonwealth. I am drawn to aquaponics for these reasons, and I hope you will be too.