The Edible Source grows fish and plants together in one seamless, integrated environment. The fish provide a nutrient rich environment for the plants while the plants act as a bio filter to clean the water for the fish. Beneficial organisms such as bacteria, protozoa and crustacea convert the raw fish waste into usable nutrients for the plants and crowd out harmful water organisms.
In an aquaponic system, all of the water is recycled. The water acts as a delivery system for the nutrients coming from the fish. The Edible Source uses a system called Deep Water Culture. In this system, large water tanks are shared by both the plants and fish. The fish are physically separated from the plants by nets. The plants grow on rafts floating on the surface with their submerged directly in the water. As long as the water is oxygenated, most plants will tolerate this arrangement.
The farm demand for water can be up to 90 percent less than aquaculture or agriculture normally requires. Water loss can only occur through the plants and animals themselves. All the organisms work together to produce a balanced ecosystem where everyone wins.
The Earth-Sheltered Greenhouse
Conventional greenhouses are built on top of the ground and generally require huge amounts of electricity or other fuels to heat and cool the building during extreme weather. The Edible Source borrows concepts from earth-sheltered dwellings, such as sod homes, solar pits and recent innovations such as those built by Earthship Biotecture in Taos, New Mexico. All models create a building that uses the natural phenomenon of the earth to heat and cool the building.
The building is protected with earth and filled with large water tanks that absorb heat energy from the sun, which results in a remarkably stable interior temperature without any need for active heating or cooling systems.
Soil Based Greenhouses
Did you know that some common edible crops survive through the winter in Nebraska without supplemental heat? Spinach, kale, arugula and root crops like carrots, radish, turnips and beets all survive below freezing temperatures. The key is protecting the crops from physical damage due to wind, animals and snow while the tissue frozen. We built several low tech “coldhouses” in 2016 to take advantage of all of our available real estate and expand our volume. We operate a no tillage system with lots of organic matter. We use broad forks and drip irrigation and encourage beneficial insects, worms and fungi with shredded plant debris.