Allen and Franco have developed one of the most interesting forms of preparation from a nutritional perspective that we have ever seen on Doomsday Preppers.
Different ideas: One Problem
Allen and Franco have a healthy rivalry when it comes to prepping. Whether it is economic decline or a revolt against GMO foods, there is a common thread of food in their disaster scenarios. As we know, with grocery stores clearing out as soon as 72 hours after a crisis. food is the central concern in any survival situation. Investment in a system which can generate food in an infinitely sustainable fashion is as close to future proofing as anyone can get.
Aquaponics: a complete, sustainable food supply
By combining hydroponics and aquaculture, Allen and Franco have a closed loop system of plants and animals which sustain each other. In addition, this provides a complete source of healthy vegetables and complete protein for their families. Instead of relying on stored food, which is often heavily processed, this is a fresh source of nutrients that can continue indefinitely. What’s more, the food produced on this would be completely paleo compliant.
As far as vegetables go, almost any sort of vegetable can be grown with the exception of root vegetables. This is actually a blessing in disguise as the potentially metabolically damaging starches in vegetables are mostly in root vegetables such as potatoes. From the perspective of getting the most bang for your buck from a calorie perspective, leafy vegetables are not actually the best move. Choosing to grow denser vegetables such as avocados and squash would provide a much better source of calories for sustenance.
The other half of this equation is the fish provided by the aquaponics system. Allen boasted a full 200lbs of tilapia from his system and numbers on top aquaponics installations have a number of as high as 400lbs per year for a 10 x 20′ unit. From a nutritional perspective, this is more than enough to sustain a family of four, following the average meat consumption of 85lbs per year. In addition, as an animal source of protein it is a complete source of amino acids. Fish is also very high in Omega 3 fatty acids which can improve mental function and cardiovascular health.
Tweaking the Aquaponics model
There is concern from some aspiring aquaponics farmers for certain inputs in the system like fish food. Allen and Franco’s use of duckweed is an excellent source of fish food, and can even be used for other animals such as livestock and even people! Duckweed is high in protein and has an incredible growth rate and have been observed to double in as few as 24 hours.
A second concern is the source of electricity to be able to run the pumps. To make an aquaponics system truly sustainable, a renewable energy source such as solar photovoltaic could make it a truly closed loop.