BACKGROUND & BENEFITS
Though considered a trendy, alternative agriculture approach today, aquaponics is an ancient farming method dating back over a thousand years and has been used in various cultures around the world. This unique growing method is the combination of aquaculture (farming fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water).
Since aquaponic farming does not involve the use of soil, this method can be applied in food deserts in more urbanized areas that have less access to fresh crops. One of the major differences between aquaponics and traditional, soil-based agriculture is the ability to grow food in places that have very little square footage. By using vertical growing techniques as well as using storage racks for horizontal beds, growing large quantities of food is possible for people in urban environments.
AQUAPONICS AT HG: ACADEMICS
At HGCS, we offer two levels of aquaponics. Level 1 provides students with a broad-based education on the major branches of science and math that affect how aquaponics works. Students receive instruction on biology (both botany and zoology), chemistry (maintaining good water quality), and physics (how water moves, why water behaves the way it does). They also receive instruction on environmental science with regard to alternative energy sources and how to utilize them in an aquaponics set up. In level 2, the class is more STEM-based with students studying the design aspects of aquaponics systems. They learn how to apply the entry-level knowledge from level 1. In addition, students learn entry-level engineering as they master how to select the proper pump for a system; they learn practical skills in both plumbing and electrical construction, and they learn tool safety by operating with cutting tools, as well as drills and other hand tools needed to build a system.
AQUAPONICS AT HG: MISSIONS
HGCS also uses aquaponics as a missional tool for sharing the gospel. During the class, the students regularly grow vegetables as part of their class grade. At every harvest, the students are allowed to taste test their crop and then send the bulk of the harvest to HGBC’s food pantry.
Approximately 250+ families use this food pantry monthly, and our aquaponics program helps supply those families with fresh, healthy vegetables.
Every year, the senior class has the opportunity to go on a mission trip to either the Dominican Republic or Ecuador. Currently, there is an aquaponics system established in Ecuador and plans to build one in Dominican Republic. Our hope is that by providing nutritious food to people in need, we can open up a conversation about Christ and his love for the nations.