A fish grows in Vancouver

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The water, now clean, is returned to the aquatic animal environment and the cycle continues. Aquaponic systems do not discharge or exchange water. The systems rely on the relationship between the aquatic animals and the plants to maintain the environment. Water is only added to replace water loss from absorption by the plants, evaporation into the air, or the removal of biomass from the system.

Aquaponic systems vary in size from small indoor units to large commercial units. They can use fresh or salt water depending on the type of aquatic animal and vegetation.”

This was pretty much what Peters told Chow and the reporter, both of whom seemed ready to sign on to get started growing fish at home and enjoying them for meals.

The reporter then hesitated and asked, “but I guess you have to kill the fish somehow.”

Peters laughed and agreed that you did, but said she would also come over and “harvest” the fish, if a customer required it.  She estimated she could get an apartment-dwelling fish farmer set up for under two thousand dollars.  The reporter figured that after 100 meals prepared from fish out of the tank, the cost would have been recouped.  Chow looked skeptical about that, but still seemed enthusiastic about the prospects of farming fish in an urban backyard.

Chow then moved onto the subject of chickens, which he discussed with Duncan Martin.  Chow recalled taking a tour of a chicken factory in Langley.

“You’ve got little chicks on one hand, and they go into the barn. Eight weeks later they go into Safeway wrapped in plastic. That’s the kind of thing you’re eating.  They’re feed bags. They have a channel and they have a water pipe that runs out and sprays water and gives water to the chickens and they have these pellets that drop on the ground.

“That’s not a good chicken,” he said.

But Duncan said you could drive out to Langley now and get good chickens to put in your backyard.  “They lay eggs whether or not there’s a rooster.  You have to keep on taking the eggs.  You have to keep taking them or they’ll get broody.”

“An egg that we buy is not fertilized.  Well, it could be if there’s a rooster. They just kind of bump against each other and some people talk about the higher nutritional content of a fertilized egg, but it’s mostly whatever you feed them.”

Councillor Chow talks chickens with Duncan Martin 

Chow said he used to buy honey from a friend in Surrey.  “They have a certain kind of wheat in that neighborhood and that’s the kind of flavour they got.”

Mayor Robertson arrived late. He had just gotten back in the middle of the night from a trip to New York City on the red-eye and had only had three hours of sleep.

He seemed energized, however, as he chatted with Backyard Bounty Collective farmpreneurs about living systems.  When asked how it had been to meet with New York Mayor Michael Blumberg,  the eighth richest man in the U.S. and a man presumably far removed from the soil, Robertson said, “It was an experience.”

City Councillors and Backyard Bounty Farmpreneurs below

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