The Future of Farming
Darren Handschuh - May 7, 2019
Naomi LaFrance has a vision.
She wants to feed not only people from her first nation in Saskatchewan, but other nations as well.
And she wants to do it all with as little impact on the planet as possible so she turned to the Aquaponics Training Institute in Vernon for help.
Aquaponics is the marriage of hydroponics and aquaculture where the best of both systems are used to grow plants with very little harm to Mother Earth.
“Right now we have a hockey arena that is not being used so maybe we will be able to convert that into a growing operation,” said LaFrance. “I didn't realize how big it can become. I just came here to learn and the more I am learning, the bigger the vision is becoming and it's pretty exciting.”
The Aquaponics Training Institute is located in the BX area and is the brain child of Shawn Bonnough who teaches classes on aquaponics.
One of the big advantages of aquaponics is the food will grow 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a minimal environmental footprint.
“The fish are fertilizing the water for the plants and the plants are filtering the water for the fish,” said Bonnough. “In between those two living systems is the bacteria that breaks everything down and creates natural fertilizer which is not harmful to the environment. This is the only system that is working on 10 percent of the water of traditional farming but is producing 10 times as much food.”
LaFrance said she will take what she has learned at the institute back her Cree nation in Saskatchewan.
The Aquaponics Training Institute offers courses online as well as at the institute itself.