Production and Consumption of Homegrown Produce and Fish by Noncommercial Aquaponics Gardeners

Authors

  • David C. Love Johns Hopkins University
  • Laura Genello Johns Hopkins University
  • Ximin Li Johns Hopkins University
  • Richard E. Thompson Johns Hopkins University
  • Jillian P. Fry Johns Hopkins University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2015.061.013

Keywords:

Gardening, Garden, Homegrown, Fish, Health, Aquaculture, Aquaponics, Food Security, Tilapia

Abstract

Aquaponics is the integration of hydroponics and aquaculture into a single food production system. The aims of this paper are to describe production practices and costs among noncommercial aquaponics gardeners, and identify factors related to homegrown food consumption using a survey. The sample size was 399 respondents from 24 countries. The median aquaponics system was 350 gallons (1,325 liters) in volume, 100 square feet (9 square meters) in size, and cost respondents US$500 to US$999 annually. Respondents consumed homegrown aquaponics plants far more often than they consumed fish. The primary factors that affected weekly homegrown plant consumption were location in warm climates, which allows for a longer growing season and likely lower input costs; an interest in improving diet; size of aquaponics garden; and years of experience. Respondents with high school or less education consumed homegrown fish and crops more often than those with college or graduate education, indicating that aquaponics may contribute to community food security at the household level for these individuals. Noncommercial aquaponics gardens have significantly higher yearly costs compared to soil-based gardens, so the participants who are attracted to aquaponics (typically middle-aged men with high levels of education) may not be food insecure, which weakens the case for aquaponics as a means of improving food security. Based on our findings, further research on this topic and other work to expand aquaponics to improve community food security should focus on low-cost yet productive aquaponics systems in warm climate regions and among more diverse populations.

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Author Biographies

David C. Love, Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University; and Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland USA; 615 North Wolfe Street, Room W7009; Baltimore, Maryland 21205 USA; +1-410-502-7578.

Laura Genello, Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University; and Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland USA.

Ximin Li, Johns Hopkins University

Department of Biostatistics, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University; Baltimore, Maryland USA.

Richard E. Thompson, Johns Hopkins University

Department of Biostatistics, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University; Baltimore, Maryland USA.

Jillian P. Fry, Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University; and Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland USA.

Published

2015-12-18

How to Cite

Love, D. C., Genello, L., Li, X., Thompson, R. E., & Fry, J. P. (2015). Production and Consumption of Homegrown Produce and Fish by Noncommercial Aquaponics Gardeners. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 6(1), 161–173. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2015.061.013

Issue

Section

Open Call Papers