The most sophisticated version of solar pond aquaculture at New Alchemy was an aquaponic system developed by Ron Zweig. Fish are grown in a solar pond and lettuce grows hydroponically on the surface. For more information, please readAn Integrated Fish Culture Hydroponic Vegetable Production System by Ron Zweig, from Aquaculture Magazine, May/June 1986.
An advantage of this system is its structural simplicity: no electric water pumps, no water pipes, no filters, no clarifiers, no plant rooting media, etc. It is a modular, mobile unit. They have worked successfully both outdoors and in greenhouses.
For more information about growing fish and vegetables in solar ponds, read Earle Barnhart’s summary of Zweig Pond Aquaponics.
There is a world in which humans integrate into the water-nutrient cycle. Welcome to Greenway, an achievable, sustainable vision from Earle Barnhart and Hilde Maingay.
Greenway is a vision of an ecological neighborhood, where basic needs – food, water, shelter, transport, communications – are provided in ecologically sustainable ways with renewable energy. It’s a network of homes, greenhouses, garden, and businesses, connected by sheltered corridors. Housing is integrated with agriculture. Biology is integrated with technology. People are integrated with the cycles of the Earth.
Greenway – then & now
New Alchemy Institute first explored the concept of bioshelters from 1970 to 1990, including design, research and testing of prototypes.
Among our major tasks is the creation of ecologically derived human support systems – renewable energy, agriculture, aquaculture, housing and landscapes. The strategies we research emphasize a minimal reliance on fossil fuels and operate on a scale accessible to individuals, families, and small groups.
– Bulletin of the New Alchemists, Fall 1970
How do we get to Greenway?
The Greenway is a blueprint for a next-generation bioshelter. Its eco-architecture includes housing, a close connection to outdoor agriculture, and recycling of food nutrients, designed at a community scale. It is a realizable vision of a sustainable habitat for humans on this planet.
Environmental refugees will need to be housed in new, well-designed, low-energy inland villages or self-reliant settlements, minimizing transport and fossil fuel uses.
Bill Mollison, Permaculture, 1988
We are not apart from nature, but of it… This is a vision of the future that goes beyond just surviving or enduring climate change, beyond ‘mitigating’ and ‘adapting’ to it… It is a vision in which we collectively use the crisis to leap somewhere that seems, frankly, better than where we are right now.
– Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate, 2014
Greenway infrastructure is well-suited to provide housing and basic needs to people displaced by climate change, without adding emissions. The architecture is decentralized, but is also interconnected to facilitate travel and communication. It is modular, to allow for mass-production and rapid assembly.
By integrating housing with food production and community-scale utilities, this eco-infrastructure has the potential to 1) provide humane shelter and security for climate refugees and 2) replace the climate-destroying industrial infrastructure that supports our current society.
A real life version of a Greenway, where Green Center founders Earle and Hilde live.
(Produced by Levi Baruch)
Follow the Water
(Animated by Lily Ericsson)
Follow the water through the Greenway to a more sustainable way of life. Rainwater from the roof is collected inside, where it passes through aquaponics ponds, is used to store solar heat, and then is used to irrigate indoor and outdoor gardens. Some rainwater water is purified for drinking and cooking. After multiple uses the water is evaporated back to the sky by plants or is released into the environment as unpolluted groundwater.
(Animated by Lily Ericsson)
Build a compost box in less than 2 minutes (and reduce your carbon footprint)
Simplest, most adaptable siphon for aquaponic systems
Successful aquaculture and aquaponics depend on a population of fish that are regularly fed, like any other livestock. Standard commercial fish feeds are pellets containing protein from endangered, depleted populations of ocean fish such as anchovies.
To be sustainable, aquaculture must look to alternative fish feeds such as insects, earthworms, and high-protein plant leaves such as comfrey and alfalfa, feeds that have been tried successfully at New Alchemy.
For more information, read the following publications: