DNX Technology | A pond, plot, a community to feed

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Hannah A. Papasin
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

We have heard about that oft-repeated line about giving a man fish versus teaching a man how to fish.

Ian Solas of IF Green Technologies had that in mind when he pitched the concept of an aquaponics demo farm to the village of Pahanocoy leaders.

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“The idea is to have an integrated farm, to start training non-farmers into creating small areas to produce [agricultural] products,” Ian tells DNX Lifestyle.

This, he says, not just aids the community in terms of sustainability, but also provides potential additional income.

The concept, see, can be done even on one’s own backyard.

What is the concept?

A technology called aquaponics, which is a portmanteau for “aquaculture” and “hydroponics”.

In this particular aquaponics demo farm, it starts with fish pond teeming with red tilapia. The tilapia are regularly fed, so they regularly poop. Their poop then passes on to a filtration system where bacteria turns it to nitrates. This is then delivered to a soilless system of growing plants, in this case, green healthy heads of lettuce, with not a leaf discoloured or bruised.

“This [demo farm] serves as a learning hub for non-farmers in the community; this is needed in case there is another lockdown,” he says.

There is no such thing as a bad plant grower.

“I did not have any idea how to grow things,” he says, but with plants, it is fairly easy. All you have to do is sprinkle a hundred seeds, and one will surely sprout.

This particular method of growing – in this case hundreds of heads of lettuce – is introduced to the village of Pahanocoy, as the barangay chooses the beneficiaries and assists through a form of microfinancing.

This much is confirmed by barangay kagawad Glen Burgos who says that part of the criteria for inclusion would be residents that have ready backyard for planting, or at least those who are willing to grow their own food.

There is also a soon-to-be-opened market where the produce grown by the demo farm will be displayed and bought.

Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman Carlo Valderrama is also encouraging his fellow youth to engage get interested in growing their own food through aquaponics.

“I wish to engage them in urban farming, instead of just focusing on online gaming,” he says.

Fortunately, the idea was well-received by the youth in the village when the idea was pitched, Carlo reveals.

His fellow youth, he says, is excited about the idea, which is why the youth council has readied a series of online webinars on the topic for interested participants.

For indeed, when do need to teach a person to fish but to start while they are young. And then perhaps when the food is scarce, they will have a means of feeding themselves for a lifetime.

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