Call it disaster planning, emergency preparedness, survival planning, self-sufficient lifestyle, or just plain prepping, but whatever the name, aquaponics should play an important role in your plan for these reasons:
1) Water – vital for surviving any length of time, water is always a consideration with an emergency plan. By maintaining an aquaponic system, your water supply can be working to grow you food rather than just taking up space. From the fish tank, to the grow beds, and often a sump tank as well, an aquaponic system holds many gallons of water – combined with a water filter, an aquaponics system can store many gallons of drinkable water for your emergency plan. Note that this should not be your only source of stored water if you plan to continue using your system in a disaster situation, which brings us to the next benefit:
2) Food – any long term survival plan needs to account for food, and aquaponics is a superior method of growing your own food. With the combination of naturally grown greens, fresh nutritious vegetables, and fish for lean protein, an aquaponic system has many potential benefits to add to a survival plan. Though new aquaponic systems are best suited for growing leafy vegetables like lettuce, established systems can grow a very large variety of vegetables from tomatoes to cucumbers to okra to beans to … you name it, someone is probably growing it in an aquaponic system.
3) Space – foot for foot, aquaponics is one of the highest producing gardens you will ever plant. Because the plants have constant access to water and fertilizer (fish poop) in an aquaponic system, the limiting factor is really just sunlight and room for the plant to grow. Combined with vertical gardening techniques, the yield from one system can be incredible. Several times I have had to take plants out of my system because they grew so well I had too much of a particular vegetable to use and wanted to make space to expand the variety of plants in my system.
4) Flexibility of design – a garden is typically only possible when there is a location outdoors that gets enough sunlight, but there are some of us that live in the city and do not have the luxury of a large yard. But an aquaponic system can be built indoors for almost any size space – from a small countertop system to a large basement system. Even outdoors you can build to suit your space. I have barely enough sun to garden in only one corner of my backyard – so that’s where I built my first aquaponic system. And see #3 – I am now maximizing the production from the small area I have available. Will it support me for long-term survival? No – but combined with my indoor system I can extend my food supplies by also eating from my garden in a disaster situation. So aquaponics is especially useful for urban preppers with limited space to plant a garden.