Integrated aquaculture and agriculture for resource-efficient food production
One of the greatest challenges imposed by climate change is the ability to provide sustainable management of land and water resources to secure food for a growing population. Integrated aquaculture-agriculture (e.g. aquaponics) is an exemplary resource-efficient technology that allows for nutrient, water and energy recycling within the concept of safe and sustainable food production. Due to its controlled environment, aquaponics is able to deliver fresh food with minimal resource inputs despite external climactic conditions (factors such as cold/dark winters or drought in arid regions).
Within this project, we aim to advance current aquaponic designs with the goal of developing this technology from farm to fork through innovation in existing integrated fish production techniques and state-of-the art greenhouse designs in conjunction with permaculture and agroforestry approaches. Such technology, based on optimal use of water, waste and energy, will aid in achieving sustainable development goals for human health and nutrition, resilient food value chains, and regional/local food production. We will achieve this by:
1) developing models that support the environmental, economic, and social benefits of different integrated aqua-agriculture technologies;
2) integrating results of socio-economic and environmental parameters into the design of new technologies;
3) examining demonstration facilities that are implementing novel permaculture and agroforestry practices.
This will also include scientific research on options for anaerobic digestion technology for sludge/slurry transformation of fish wastes, and transformation of plant wastes into biogas.
Taken together, we will present reliable data on how integrated farming systems can contribute to agricultural resilience, both environmental and economic, and deliver a meaningful understanding of new commercial applications, societal and economic goals for integrated farming, as well as policy change in this important field.