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Blood Tribe aquaponics farming project could hold key to First Nations food security

Blood Tribe aquaponics farming project could hold key to First Nations food security

Blood Tribe resident Dan McGinnis is hoping to address several pervasive issues in rural Indigenous communities with the help of open-source aquaponics technology.

“We’re hoping this can be a stepping stone to even greater things,” McGinnis said Monday.

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McGinnis said it was sparked by a lecture he sat in on at Lethbridge College that opened his eyes to the accessibility and sustainability of integrated aquaponics farming.

He is now growing high-quality, low-cost produce and fish for his family and hopes to eventually do the same for his entire community.

“We’ve run them off-grid here now for a couple of years. [These systems] work. I’m trying to figure out a way that we can do things differently,” he said, adding that the project could help young people on reserves access agriculture careers more easily.

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Nick Savidov, senior research scientist with the Integrated Aquaponic Technology Centre at Lethbridge College, said a good indicator of the initiative’s future success is that it comes at a time when major corporations are investing millions of dollars into aquaponic technology.

“It’s the only technology in the world [that] can produce food without producing waste and without any negative environmental impact,” Savidov said Monday.

“I would call it the future of agriculture,” he added, “because it combines the best of the technologies existing in three areas: greenhouse production, aquaculture production and waste treatment.”

He said the systems can run almost completely independently once set up, and there are courses available to train people in implementing aquaponics on a small or large scale.

McGinnis said his hope is that the system he was able to create using low-cost materials can be implemented in reserves across Canada to address food deserts and limited access to freshwater sources.

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He said now he’s simply looking to crowdsource the capital to make his dream a reality.

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He’s also hoping to share his story so that more communities can get on board with starting their own systems.

“Our actions are governed by our belief system, and we believe in making sure everyone is looked after,” he said. “If we can get everybody fed, that’s going to go a long way to making our communities a lot healthier.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Published at Tue, 19 Jan 2021 00:57:25 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos

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