Tragedy strikes the Grow Dome

20140608-092430-33870829.jpgAs part of my presentation in the Grow Dome, I turn off the aerators so that the water can get still and people can see the fish, especially during feeding.  Most unfortunately, I forgot to turn it back on afterwards.  This happened on Sunday afternoon and I noticed the pump was off on Monday about 17 hours later.  I quickly turned the aerators back on and to my relief, there was no evidence of the damage that had been done.  I came in on Tuesday and found 47 dead blue gill.  This was a huge loss in so many ways.

There is a saying around here that goes “No hay mal que pasa que bien no venga.”  It is the local version of the saying that says “Look on the bright side.”

I guess there is some learning and understanding that can happen from this event.  First of all is to be aware that a single mistake can destroy the operation.  This begs the question of the sustainability of an aquaponics system that can be destroyed with a single mistake.  At the other end of the sustainability spectrum is the maize that can be grown with two irrigations.  It could be said that the aquaponic system can be more sustainable with the use of solar panels and batteries to avert the disaster of inattention or power outage, etc.  But this still begs the question of how sustainable the system really is.

It is interesting that one of my talking points for the group visiting on Sunday was the intimacy a farmer has with life and death.  I guess I got that idea thrown back at me!  But I must always be aware of another talking point that is common to my presentations.  I advocate for a sustainable agriculture that can be practiced anywhere with nothing more than good seeds and a strong stick.  Beyond that, we will pick up the pieces from other mistakes and innovate where there is ability and interest, but the foundation of all this sustainable agriculture is faith in the most basic and humble act in the practice, knowing that we are the continuation of the original and gifted process that was given to us by our ancestors and the originator of time…

 

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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