Here in the Golden State, our water woes are never-ending. Did you know California has the largest population and the largest agricultural industry in the nation? ECOLIFE recognizes we need a new approach to growing food and in response designed and built our own Aquaponics Innovation Center (AIC).  Hailed as the future of agriculture in a land and water-starved world, aquaponics is a sustainable method of food production which uses aquatic animals to grow plants in recirculating, nutrient-rich water with no harmful pesticides.

Our newly completed state-of-the-art aquaponic facility in Escondido can grow 333 pounds of tilapia,1,100 heads of lettuce, and 20 tomato and 20 cucumber plants. We planted our first seeds on August 2, and have had impressive growth of our cucumbers, harvesting 200 lbs in only 58 days.

You must be wondering, where does this sustainable, delicious, and nutritious food go? One of ECOLIFE’s goals is to provide fresh produce to people who need it most. Our harvests are donated to our partners at Community Interfaith Services, Produce Good, and Produce for Patriots, all organizations who are actively improving our community. Email ECOLIFE’s Aquaponics Program Manager, Kait Cole at kcole@ecolifeconservation.org if you have interest in receiving donated produce for your organization in need.

The AIC yields far more than heads of lettuce and protein-packed tilapia, as the educational center will be open to the public (18+) for tours. If you are interested in learning more about aquaponics, come join us on October 17 for the official unveiling of our Aquaponics Innovation Center, or come help us out with a harvest.

We can’t wait to demonstrate to you that you don’t need a lot of water to grow quality, great-tasting produce, and fish!

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