Hydroponics and Aquaponics at Disney’s EPCOT (Video)

So earlier this month my husband and I took a trip to Walt Disney World Orlando Resorts. We spent a significant amount of time in EPCOT, my favorite of the Disney parks even when I was small. (BONUS points for those of you who can name what EPCOT stands for.)

EPCOT is promoted as the “educational” park and thus Disney takes full opportunity to showcase some of the latest and greatest technologies available. One of the neatest exhibits is “Living with the Land” which showcases experimental growing conditions in Disney’s expansive greenhouses. These greenhouses use techniques to increase yields. Organic agriculture is also used.

Of course I was completely enamored with the exhibit and forgot to take pictures myself, so please see the video below of some of the neat things I saw including hydroponic plants on conveyor belts and a complete aquaponic system. As a side note these plants supply much of the fish and vegetables eaten throughout the Disney parks. So cool!

The Great Aquaponics Experiment of 2011

So as our household hunkers down for the winter months we decided to try aquaponics. Aquaponics is the merging of aquaculture (farming of fish and aquatic plants) and hydroponics(growing plants without soil).

 

Fish naturally create byproducts, which are pumped into into grow beds filled with gravel. Bacteria convert the ammonia from the fish byproducts into nitrites and then other good bacteria convert the nitrites in nitrates, which are used by the plants as nutrients. Through this process, the water is sufficiently cleaned and filtered and returned to the fish, while the plants get the nutrients they need to grow. [Read more...]