In 2015, Dining Services designed and installed an aquaponics system in The Den in Northside Café. The system has since moved to Southside Dining Center and has increased in size and capacity. This small system grows a wide variety of herbs and fresh greens which are used in the meals served at Southside.
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). Waste from freshwater fish is fed to plants through a hydroponic system. Bacteria break down the waste products into fertilizer, which the plants then consume. The system then recirculates the filtered water back to the fish. Aquaponics systems can be built indoors, outdoors, as large as a skyscraper or as small as an average window.
About the WSU Dining Aquaponics System
The Southside aquaponics system provides healthy produce to the Natural Station in the Southside dining center. This system has a small footprint, demonstrating that aquaponics systems can produce more food per acre compared to conventional growing techniques.
Incorporating aquaponics into Dining Services is a way to demonstrate how to grow food while conserving as many natural resources as possible. Because aquaponics recirculates the water in the system and cleans the water along the way, it uses only a fraction of the water quantity that conventional growing techniques would use. Excess nutrients are also captured in one of the unit's filters which can be used to restore nutrient depleted soils.
Visitors are welcome at Southside to see the aquaponic system in action!