Choosing aquaponics over other forms of market gardening and organic agriculture offers numerous benefits to both the farmer and their local community.
Reducing Physical Labor and Heavy Machinery Use
Many new farmers who are drawn to the agriculture industry from other careers, greatly underestimate how taxing traditional methods can be on the body. Even raised bed and intensive greenhouse growing requires a lot of bending, lifting, stooping and miles of walking each day. If you turn to heavy machinery to speed up production and reduce physical labor, you're adding significant upfront and recurring costs to the farm's budget while producing plenty of pollution along the way. The smaller footprint and reduced labor requirements of an aquaponics system make it an ideal choice for new and experienced farmers. It provides a way to grow crops without the constant bending and physical strain typically required for weeding and harvest.
Generating a Healthy Profit
There's never a guarantee that any particular business will succeed or turn a profit. With proper planning and access to an established market, an aquaponics business definitely has a good chance at becoming profitable. A study completed in 2014 by John Hopkins University provides the best information about the profitability of new aquaponics businesses. Some factors that were positively associated with profitability in the 257 businesses surveyed included:
- Making the aquaponics business the business owner's primary source of income, allowing them to devote more time to it.
- Living in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 13, which allows for a wider range of crop and fish varieties, and reduced needs for supplemental heating and cooling for year-round growing.
- Developing a strong understanding of aquaponics through training programs and hands-on internships.
Enriching the Local Community
Aquaponics businesses have the potential to solve food desert issues because the systems are easily adapted to urban and rural environments alike. Wherever people are living miles away from affordable sources of fresh vegetables, fruits and healthy protein sources like fish, aquaponics farms have an opportunity to expand local food supplies and enrich the entire local area.