Maggie's Farm Aquaponics

Water and fish may sound like scarce resources to obtain in desert regions, but many people are experimenting with a fish, water and plant combination that could help feed growing populations in the future.

They are combining aquaculture and hydroponics to create aquaponics systems in their homes or businesses.

Aquaculture involves raising fish in tanks or other controlled sources of water, while hydroponics grows plants in aquatic environments. But in aquaponics, fish and plants are raised in tanks as part of an interconnected arrangement.

The water from the fish tank is filtered in a second container and then transferred to a third enclosure containing plants that are provided nutrients from the water fertilized by fish waste.

The plants use that water and help filter it, and then the water is sent back to the original tank with the fish continuing the cycle.

Tucson AquaPonics Project

In the Tucson area, Maggie's Farm Aquaponics is experimenting with this concept on a large scale, but many residents are also getting involved thanks to assistance from groups, such as Tucson AquaPonics Project, which was founded by Tucson resident Casey Townsend.

In addition, Southern Arizona businesses are also getting involved in the movement.

These include Local Roots Aquaponics and Ecogro, which are attracting an increasing number of enthusiasts.

And while water is a scarce in the desert, supporters say aquaponics actually saves this important resource compared to traditional farming methods where plants are placed and grown in the ground.

Supporters say aquaponics has been around for centuries even though many people think of it as a recent innovation.

Marana Farmers Co-Op