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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Aquaponics at the Philadelphia Flower Show

A few weeks ago Sarah Gabriel e-mailed and asked if I wanted to do an aquaponics lecture at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

"Sure." I'm always up for doing something about aquaponics, but I had no idea what a huge event this is. The Philadelphia Horticultural Society is the oldest such society in America, formed in 1827. The Flower Show has been held annually since 1829 and is now the largest flower show in the world. Oh my goodness!

We were joined by Heidi Wood-Tucker who works with Dr. Stephen Hughes on the aquaponics program at Cheyney University. We had about 60 people attend our talk and demonstration. Heidi talked about the large aquaponics system they have at Cheyney, where they raise tilapia and grow basil - even using all their resources to produce basil, they are unable to satisfy the huge demand in this area. For my part, I put together a small demonstration system. I used the 10 gallon fish tank I'd gotten at PetSmart and a boot box from The Container Store, all on a wire rack from Target. In the process of preparing for this I made the awesome discovery that I could make my bell out of a glass jar as long as I propped it up a bit to allow water to flow underneath. It was fun getting to "see" how the bell siphon works!

I had a great time after the presentation wandering the show and talking to folks. I came home with lots of new friends, some nifty tools and gifts, and great ideas. Awesome!

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