Farming without the soil? Advocate and RoCo Commissioner talk "Aquaponics"

Published: Mar. 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM EDT
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It's farming, but without the dirt or the chemicals.

This week students at Overton Elementary School in Salisbury got an introduction to Aquaponics.  It's where food is grown in water that's filled with fish.  Advocates say that creates a balance with nutrients and reduces the need for chemicals.  The waste from the fish fertilizes the plants, while the plants purify the water for the fish.

Local homebuilder Hugo Correa gave a presentation to students at Overton Elementary School this week.  Dr. Kay Wright Norman of the Rowan Salisbury School Board attended, along with Rowan County Commissioner Jon Barber.

"And that's the good thing about the aquaponic system," Correa told WBTV.  "It's combining agriculture with hydroponics to produce better food, it's a really good method to teach kids technology."

Correa says kids can use the technology they already have to learn more about aquaponics and have the program integrated into classroom learning.

Commissioner Barber is active with SEED (SouthEast Economic Development) Foundation, which he says is about "growing a profitable agricultural industry and building healthy communities."

Barber told WBTV that SEED committed to Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody last October to take the lead in setting up school gardens at every elementary school.  He says the idea is to "promote nutritional initiatives for our education system through Aquaponics, which uses 90% less water than traditional farming techniques."

SEED will recommend the establishment of an Aquaponics Academy Program with age appropriate interaction plans for Head Start, elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as local colleges.