Did you know that “aquaponic gardening” is a growing trend here in Hawaii? If not, our Blog is here to tell you why it is gaining so much attention. Aquaponic gardening is the cultivation of fish and plants in a closed system that converts fish waste into nutrients to feed the plants, which in turn purifies the water to be re-circulated back to the fish. Leading the pack, and perhaps the largest aquaponic farm in the state, is in Mililani at Mari’s Gardens.
Fred Lau, grower at Mari’s Gardens, explains aquaponics as a combination of hydroponics, (the growing of produce in water without soil) with aquaculture (the raising of aquatic animals) to create a sustainable and harmonious food production system. Named after his daughter, Mariko, Lau opened the Mari’s Gardens in 2007. Inspired by the desire to conserve and reuse water and to eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, Lau and his son Brandon converted about an acre of land to aquaponic farming in 2010.
According to Lau, they are still in the research and development phases, trying to design the right process to make Hawaii aquaponics economically feasible. But even while the economics are being worked out, the benefits are many.
One benefit of aquaponics that we like to point out is that it helps keep our produce local! Mari’s Gardens’ produce is in the store the day after it is harvested, keeping the true art of organic farming alive. And from a consumer standpoint, if eating is believing – the delicious, fresh, organic leafy greens from this hidden Mililani oasis with the flavorful red onions, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, beets, herbs, spinach, green onions and occasional mangos will have you coming back for more.
Also important to mention is that part of Mari’s Gardens mission is to help educate a new generation of farmers, and they are doing this by giving tours to high school students and anyone interested in learning more about the future of farming. So what are you waiting for? Be sure to visit our local aquaponic farm located at 94-415 Makapipipi Street in Mililani any time between 9 am and 3 pm, Tuesday through Saturday; your taste buds and healthy conscience will be happy you did!
For more information about Maris’ Gardens and aquaponic gardening, please call 808.625.2800.
Author: Adapted article from Lisa Scontras
Photos by: Justin R. Dotson – Camera Cliq
Full article featured in Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties’ Island Homes Collection Magazine, January/February 2014 Issue