With the global population on the rise, sustainable farming is stealing the spotlight. Meet aquaponics – the dynamic duo of aquaculture and hydroponics.If you’re interested in broadening your understanding of fish farming, hydroponics, or sustainable food production methods, you’re in luck – the Aquaculture Building is the place to be. Get ready to dive into hands-on demos, interactive setups, and live fish encounters.

Heading up the aquaculture exhibit at this year’s Expo is David Cline, bringing years of experience in aquaculture, along with a background in ornamental and recreational pond management. He’s a former president of the United States Aquaculture Society and is currently an associate professor at Auburn University’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences.

Aquaponics is designed to have a co-dependent relationship. Fish and plants collaborate to create a self-sustaining ecosystem. Waste produced by fish provides essential nutrients for plant growth, while the plants purify the water, which is then returned to the fish tanks. This is an efficient and relatively simple system that minimizes environmental impact, making aquaponics a promising solution for sustainable food production.

Concerns about food security are prompting many to explore new ways of raising their own fish and vegetables in their backyards. Food security involves access to reliable and sufficient nutritious food. Cline explained, “Aquaculture is all about providing healthy protein and plants for the future. It’s designed to change  protein from fish food into food people can eat.” This way of growing plants and fish has the potential to make a lot of food in a smaller area.

Over the course of the week, the Aquaculture Center will have industry experts located at the exhibit. They will host educational demonstrations on setting up a small aquaponics system, techniques for pond management, and an introductory overview of aquaponics. In addition, cooking demonstrations featuring farm-raised catfish and a tutorial on fish fileting will also be part of the program.

As the global population continues to grow, the spotlight on sustainable farming is getting brighter, and that’s where aquaponics comes in. Aquaponics is all about teamwork, and it’s an efficient, eco-friendly system that holds the promise of sustainable food production. Stop by the aquaponics exhibit today and have a chat with experts while you dive into hands-on experiences – you might even get to taste some farm-fresh catfish.

2023 Sunbelt Ag Expo Aquaponics