Conventional Agriculture vs. Aquaponics for Sustainable Food Systems

I’m sharing a couple of diagrams I’m working on for a paper I’m working on.  In the paper I’m advocating for increased research into aquaponics as a possible significant contributor to future sustainable food systems.  I’d greatly appreciate any thoughts on the idea in general, and more specifically, on the drawings below.

What do you think?  Are they a fair conceptual representation?  Am I leaving anything out?  Don’t hesitate to jump in with your thoughts.

Thank you,


Soil-Based Agriculture System Diagram

Aquaponics System Diagram


The Dust Bowl is Coming

Ken Burns, vaunted documentarian, has turned his lens on The Dust Bowl of the 1930s.  His latest effort is premiering on PBS November 18 & 19.  I’d put that one on the calendar now as it’s sure to be worth the investment of time. Enjoy Burns’ documentary for the informative period piece that it is sure to be, and be glad we’re living in a time where we know better and would never let that happen again…

Humanity at the 4th Agricultural Crossroads: A Choice of Cleverness or Wisdom

Harvard University Extension School

Humanity at the 4th Agricultural Crossroads:

A Choice of Cleverness or Wisdom

ENVR-120 Environmental Ethics & Land Management

Department of Environmental Management


Chris Oestereich


St. Louis, MO

December, 2011

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Convenience Jumps the Shark


It’s day 1 of my personal post-a-day challenge. The makers of Ballpark Franks made this one easy for me by placing a new product on the market, the individually wrapped hotdog.  What do you think? Am I way off the mark here? Or, is it time for our food systems to start taking sustainability seriously? Please weigh in with your thoughts.

Can Tomatoes Save the World?

Image by: Thelonious Gonzo

I’m beginning to work on the term paper for my summer school class “Global Climate Change: The Science, Social Impact, and Diplomacy of a World Environmental Crisis” and thought I’d share my working concept to the good people of the internet for a little vetting/research suggestions.  The working concept is to measure  either the Greenhouse Gas or water (Possibly both) impacts of tomato gardening in comparison to that of industrial farming.  The goal would be to measure the opportunity for reducing impact via production and transport.  To measure the opportunity, I would have to find the difference in inputs between an industrial farm and that of an organic home farm.  I would also need to determine the difference in GHGs produced by the two methods.

The initial thought might be that the home gardening scenario would mitigate all transport, but that would necessitate having all inputs either being available on site, or within reasonable distance for walking, bicycling, or some other non-motorized transport.

So, please take your best shot at the concept.  Do you think it has merit, or am I off the reservation again?

Image by: fox_kiyo

Potential Research Items:

I’ve ordered the new book “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit” by Barry Estabrook and am starting to work through the following resources:

As you can see this is my highly non-private beginning to my paper.  I’m certainly not looking to have my work done for me, but if an interesting question comes to mind, I’d love to see how it might fit in with my research.
As always, thanks for stopping by!