As a child I grew up in a small town serenely located at the foot of the Rockies in Colorado, known as Loveland. Here, I learned what farming was as much of my surrounding community consisted of farmland. I recall driving by vast fields of soil, filled with row after row of corn while cows murmured as my family and I meandered beyond the golden reeds swaying in the wind.

My concept of farming was cultivated at a young age, but it began to change as I grew older and my childhood fantasies, or rather my childhood ignorance, dissolved. I began to understand that issues of food safety, importation costs and the slow death of family-owned farms all were increasingly at the mercy of the government and the ever-in-trouble economy.

As I grew older with each passing year, so did my worries. I began to become increasingly frustrated with my inability to solve these deep-seeded issues that would eventually affect not only me, but my future children as well as their children. Questions arose in my mind as to how to feed others, how to feed ourselves; however, I could find no solution to liberate me from my woes.

It was in Loveland that I learned what farming consisted of and it was here that my ideas of farming were also shattered. It was here, in my same small town of Loveland, that my worries about the future of agriculture began to dissipate and I began to regain hope for future generations. What I discovered was generated the first moment I stepped through the doors of Nourish the Planet as an intern for the company. I began unraveling the world behind sustainable agriculture through the use of fish farming (aquaculture) combined with hydroponics, also known as aquaponics.

Aquaponics was unlike any farming I had ever known. A system that did not use soil and yet still produced not only beautiful rows of pearly green lettuce, but was also a producer of domestically grown fish. A system that used less water than other farming ventures and a system that would produce organically grown, pesticide-free, delicious produce.

It was mind-blowing to discover.

To be able to create a sustainable system that can be delivered anywhere in the world to help feed individuals was a concept so hopeful to me that it was difficult to grasp at first. However, as I continue to arrive week after week at Nourish the Planet, I grow more hopeful with the thought of how aquaponics will change my life as well as the lives of millions of others.

Written by Katie Kelley, Social Media Intern, Winter 2011

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