After taking a year off to travel abroad, the thought of reducing my ecological footprint has always been on my mind. Like many, I seldom made changes to become more sustainable, even though I was often thinking about it. This year, when I deviated from my regular scholastic regiment of economic and business related classes and took botany, everything changed. The teacher’s brilliance coupled with the intriguing subject matter motivated me to change my habits, and more importantly, to put forth a greater effort in the advancement of sustainable products.
My initial master plan to grow enough food to largely supplement my diet consisted solely of building my own planter boxes. I built planter boxes and filled them to the brim with vegetables but was disappointed.
Although everything has grown wonderfully, not a single plant has perished, the planter boxes have yielded far from enough calories to make a sizable impact on my diet. I have, however, been able to grow all of the lettuce necessary for several salads a week, enough sweet peas to have a couple a day, and a constant supply of rose merry and basil. I’m waiting on the carrots, onions, chives, zucchini, broccoli, peppers, radishes, tigger mellons, and tomatoes to fully mature.
From my experiences thus far, the main obstacle in between me, and probably many other people like me, and self sustaining food production is space. In order to grow enough food to fully support myself I would need a lot more space than I currently have, which means the average college student would have the same problem. After this realization I started exploring alternative methods of growing that would help reduce the amount of space required to grow plants.
The two popular methods that I found were hydroponics and aquaponics both of which reduce the amount of space needed to grow plants. After further research, it was apparent that aquaponics, the marriage of hydroponics and aquaculture, was by far a more effective and sustainable way to feed myself. I have since read several books, made several systems, made several prototypes, and am working on perfecting the indoor aquaponic herb garden as Mutualistic Symbiosis’s first product. The goal of this first product is to expose both adults and children to the benefits of aquaponics, its simplicity and effectiveness and how it’s the perfect way to grow organic food locally.