In our quest to find and touch base with fellow aquaponics enthusiasts, Dean, Betty, Lani and I visited the Ateneo de Manila University to take a look at the AP set up of Jose Felix. Felix is a student at AdMU taking up Environmental Science. He is also involved with a group advocating community based social enterprise activities as a means to attain food security. Their group is currently working with an impoverished community near the Tumana River in Marikina City. For Felix, setting up an aquaponics system for the community will potentially answer the issue of sustainable food production and in the long run could be a vehicle to promote healthy eating habits.
The aquaponic system uses one IBC container. The IBC is cut to make up one grow bed and one fish tank. The system runs flood and drain with water drawn from the fish tank into the grow bed via air lift method. Growing media used were I think river quarried stones. Supplying the nutrients are two catfish which Felix affectionately treats as pets. Currently, we saw kangkong sprouts in the growbed. Felix is hoping to get more funds to be able to further improve his set up or to set up another system elsewhere. He confesses that majority of the funds he used came from his own pocket. We observed that the AP set up rested on uneven surface. Dean pointed out that this might affect water movement. Felix, in setting up his AP system, got help from Glenn Martinez. Glenn is acknowledged as one of the experts in the field and he gives advice to those wanting to learn more about aquaponics. We learned from Felix that Glenn will be coming over to Manila to give a lecture presentation on aquaponics at the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City sometime this month.
After taking a look at the AP set up inside the campus, Felix showed us the university’s vermiculture project and the water treatment facility. I hope that other universities and learning centers will also encourage their students to look into organic and sustainable processes of food production.
We are awed by the civic mindedness of Felix. Most young people his age would be thinking about a lot of other things and helping a community become self sufficient would be at the bottom of that list, I suppose.
Kudos to young people like Felix who finds new ways of creating value for poor communities! We hope and pray that they succeed.