Coming to Montreal: more UA including aquaponics!

IMG_3409Through my surveys (and also through talking to people at UA events) I can say that aquaponics (so merging aquaculture (animals) with hydroponics (plants) is gaining traction in Montreal. Tilapia and lettuce year round are in!!!

When I visited one of the local UA actors, he informed me that Violons et Champignons were going to help their center install a 1000l tank to raise some tilapia (or catfish) and grow lettuce year round. The motivations for this Montreal organization are both educational (they a community center for a lot of local youth and do kindergarten all the way up to high school activities) and food security (they work with food backs and they often lack greens so the aquaponic lettuce will come supplement the baskets). If this pilot goes well, they have plans to help local schools get smaller units.

Violons et Champignons sell mushroom kits for home (inside or out) and do a lot of conferences and activities to teach people about the benefits of fungi for gardens (and ecosystems in general). They also do aquaponic systems.  I really appreciate the idea of regaining understanding of food production and agriculture as an ecosystem, and the missing link for the public is with the recycling of “waste” through decomposition back in to viable inputs (like P).  I think aquaponics is definitely a great of learning about ecosystems and nutrient cycling in food production.

One can’t keep up with all trends in UA (on the ground or in the literature I am finding out, because projects and publications are growing exponentially) but aquaponics seems to be on the up and up. In addition, the city of Montreal is also moving forward with its “permanent committee” on UA and launched a website at a 5 à 7 I went to this week. I also went to a Quebec Solidaire conference on UA (so provincial political parties seem to be taking an interest). Someone also shared a recent article through twitter about the importance of UA in social and ecological resilience of cities (which was nice because I am always looking for research that bridges social and environmental assessments through ecological and system theories). Lots happening every week it seems. I am even learning of new gardens pop-in up that I should probably go survey.

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