Who says you can’t be a farmer?
If you’re into living healthy, eating organic, and just seeing things grow, why not build your own farm? 🙂 With aquaponics, you’ll get to grow your own veggies and cultivate freshwater fish right in the city – even in your own home if you’ve got the space to spare. The men of Bahay Kubo Organics will teach you how.
Bahay Kubo Organics is a social enterprise that’s out to spread the technology of aquaponics so that food becomes something you produce instead of something you have to buy. Ultimately, it’s a model they want to bring to communities that have no land to plant on and communities where food security is a red flag – basically, where it’s needed most. The goal is to help communities evolve into self-sustaining pockets of green.
How does aquaponics work?
In an aquaponic farm, the fish tanks and the plant containers are all connected via pipes that pump water back and forth all day long. The freshwater fish produce waste water which travels to the plants. The plants absorb the waste using its nutrients as fertilizers – in effect filtering the water back to cleanliness. The clean water goes back to the freshwater fish, giving them a healthy environment to live and grow in. It’s what a healthy relationship should look like 🙂
What do you need to start?
- fish tanks or aquariums
- recycled plastic containers
- PVC pipes
- gravel or rocks
- metal bars
- netting (if your farm is outdoors, this may help with pests such as birds)
- grow lights (if your farm is indoors, this will be the light source)
Why build an aquaponics farm?
- Grow your own veggies, herbs, and fish. They’re all organic and you definitely know where they came from. Cucumber, romaine, tomatoes, sweet basil, lettuce, tarragon, mint – you name it.
- It will motivate you to eat healthier. Aside of being proud of having grown things, your nearest source of veggies will be closer and cheaper than your nearest source of junk food!
- Lowered carbon footprint. By ticking off veggies and fish of your grocery list, you remove yourself from that part of the supply chain which takes up its own set of environmental resources and produces its own waste. What’s more, your urban farm makes little to no waste. Everything gets used up and becomes functional.
- Educate your loved ones. Urban farming is a great way to get your loved ones, especially the children, to learn and appreciate how food is grown and why it shouldn’t be wasted.
- Community/family bonding. Having a shared farm is a good way to spend time with the people in your family and the people within your community. For sure, it will bring team work, accountability, and a few laughs.
- Business opportunity? With a good enough turnout, you can sell your veggies and your fish to the people around you at a low cost. Since there’s no harvesting months, once you harvest one batch you can go ahead to the next one without any lost time.
If you want a more detailed explanation, get in touch with Bahay Kubo Organics 🙂 For people who want to learn, they hold workshops in aquaponics farming. Aside from teaching individuals, they also teach communities here and in the provinces.
Aquaponics for a cause
Here are just some of the places Bahay Kubo Organics has set down roots, in partnership with people who dream of sustainable communities.
Just visited this aquaponic urban farm in the middle of Payatas, set up by @bkorganics for the Fairplay For All kids’ center 🌿🌱🍃🍀 It’s a house where kids from the community can go to learn, play, and be cared for. The fresh food and fish go directly into the kids’ meals so they eat healthier. Farm to table 🌞
They’ve also built farms in the Las Piñas GK village and in Culion, Palawan 🙂 Read more about their efforts on Rappler.
If you know of any other communities, foundations or individuals who would benefit from an aquaponic urban farm, get in touch with Bahay Kubo Organics. If you’d like to meet them, you can also visit them at the Muni Market Day on March 28 at Capitol Commons where they’ll be holding a workshop on urban farming.
As an urban farmer, here’s a phrase you can take literally: plant the seeds today and watch them grow 🙂