What is “aquaponics” you might ask, and that’s a great question! Aquaponics is term and technology so new that it hasn’t even been added to Webster’s Dictionary yet. This new technology is a cross between hydroponics (growing vegetables in soil-less conditions) and aquaculture (the cultivation of aquatic animals or fish in controlled scenarios). In the system at Project Samuel, the fish actually dirty the water and as it moves it gives the plants the nutrients they need. The plants then act as a biological filter for the water and cleans it as it passes through the grow bed. The video (click to see here) will give you a better idea of how the system works but we wanted to share with you how this system came to be.
A little over two years ago, Timothy Vowell, President of Relationships For Christ Ministries Inc, visited a fish hatchery in Heber Springs, Arkansas with a fellow pastor. As he began to see how the process worked, he thought, “We can grow fish at Project Samuel in Zambia!” From that day the team at Relationships For Christ Ministries began researching how we could make this technology work to feed the world. We found a missionary, James Clayton, that built a similar system in Haiti. With his help, we took his design and modified it to meet our needs at Project Samuel Zambia. We also sought advice from the University of Houston, LeTourneau University, and leading experts in aquaponics studies located in Australia and Florida. After much study and research we are excited to announce that today we have our first system up and running in Zambia, Africa. We want to thank Brother James for traveling to Zambia to assist in the construction of our first system. We have plans to perfect the system and even have an engineering intern coming to Project Samuel this summer to help us along in the process.
At Relationships for Christ Ministries this new way of growing food is very important to us for several reasons. First, it is part of our self-sustainability drive for Project Samuel Zambia. This new technology will not only feed the children of Project Samuel but also provide enough fish and vegetables to sell in the local communities. We believe that God has given us this system to help feed the world, and after it’s perfected, we intend to share it in order to do so. In a plot of land 24 ft by 32 ft, this new way of growing food can grow enough protein AND vegetables to feed a family of 8 for a year. This system would be very beneficial and applicable in almost any country. Lastly, we believe that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but if you teach him how to GROW fish he will be able to feed himself and his family for generation after generation. We look forward to the day we see this aquaponics system along with the Gospel of Jesus Christ impacting the nations and changing the world.