There is an increasing interest in aquaponics, the combination of fish production with hydroponic vegetable production. In most cases producers are interested in small scale rearing for home consumption. There are a few individuals and groups looking at commercial scale production. There is little in the way of financial analysis and research based scientific knowledge available with regard to these operations.
A number of activities were undertaken in 2015. Three potential producer groups were assisted this year. In Indianapolis, an non-governmental organization (NGO) was investigated for possible collaboration on setting up an aquaponics demonstration center as part of an urban agriculture initiative. An IBAT planning grant facilitated for this work. It was determined that this was not the appropriate setting for such an endeavor. A group in Greencastle, Indiana, interested in aquaponics as both a social business and incubator asked for technical assistance to help formulate a business plan that could be presented to investors. No word yet on their moving forward. Lastly, as part of a tour of aquaculture operations by culinary professionals funded by an Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) grant, a commercial aquaponics producer meet along with set up markets of their product directly to restaurants.
An aquaponics presentation (short overview) was presented at the Small Farms conference in Danville Indiana. A grant submission to National
Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), PI – Dr. Paul Brown, to try and focus aquaponics producer research needs at the national level for research going forward was declined. Lastly, attended training on the new food modernization act on produce safety in Frankfort. Out of this meeting we were able to pair researchers Hye-Ji Kim (aquaponics research, Purdue Horticulture) and Amanda Deering (food safety, Purdue Food Sciences) together for potential collaboration in the future.
The amount of interest in the subject matter will more than likely be increasing in the future and the more science based information available the better. Partnering with Dr.’s Kim and Deering, should lead to collaborative research and extension across disciplines in the future.
Purdue Aquaponics video.