The results of one of Lethbridge College’s most delicious applied research projects can be found in restaurants throughout southern Alberta – produce grown in a greenhouse on the college’s campus.
This produce is grown using an innovative combination of aquaponics and aquaculture. Aquaculture and aquaponics are exciting developments in agriculture where fish and plants are cultivated together in a growing system with re-circulating water that produces plants year-round safely and efficiently. The novel system also enhances growth rates of greenhouse crops. The plants are seeded each March and nurtured by a water supply provided by fish. The water is then re-circulated back to the college’s fish facility for reuse. No herbicides or pesticides are used, and the aquaponics produce is harvested twice weekly starting from May until the end of October and for sale to the public.
In 2013, Lethbridge College received funding to advance applied research in aquaponics. Principal investigator Charlie Shultz assists aquaponics producers in the region to overcome technical problems and policy obstacles in their systems.
“This [project] could go a long way to addressing food security issues,” Schultz says.