Agua Dulce Farm is an Aquaponics facility in Austin, Texas that specializes in raising fresh fish (Bluegill) and growing fresh, organically-grown vegetables.
Aquaponics is a hybrid food producing system that combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in nutrient-rich water). In Aquaponics, fish and plants exist together in one integrated, soil-less system and serves as a model of sustainable food production
Agua Dulce Farm serves a number of restaurants and vendors in Austin and beyond:
- Eden East
- La Condesa
- East Side King
- Emmer & Rye
- Dolce Neve Gelateria
- Ramen Tatsu-Ya
- Apple Computers Cafe
- St. Edwards University Cafe
- Farmhouse Delivery
- FT33 (Dallas)
- Oxheart (Houston)
- Birch (Providence, RI)
- Uchi and Uchiko
- Uchi Houston, Uchi Dallas
- Barley Swine
- Fixe, Austin's Southern House
- La V
- Dai Due
- Odd Duck
- Foreign & Domestic
- Jeffrey's and Josephine House
- Hillside Farmacy
We also create our own organic compost using spent coffee grounds from Houndstooth Coffee. This rich compost is used to grow tomato plants in our greenhouses.
How Does It Work?
Fish are kept in large tanks that provide ample space for fish to live and eat. They waste the fish produce is piped away through a drain at the bottom of the tank. This is the Aquaculture System.
From here the waste water flows through the filtration area where the solids collect in filters and the bacteria begin to convert the waste. This is the Filtration System, where helpful bacteria transform the waste into natural nutrients to be used by the plants as food.
Finally the nutrient-rich water flows into the plant area, the Hydroponic System, where it slowly flows past the plant roots. The roots absorb the nutrients while filtering the water through absorption. At this point the filtered water recirculates back to the fish tank and the Aquaponic loop is complete.
Why Austin, Why Now?
Austin, Texas has a temperate-to-hot climate and is plagued by extreme weather—long, scorching summers with unpredictable winter freezes, devastating floods and long periods of drought. Local farms struggle during the hottest of the summer months (June, July and August), during the coldest of the winter months (December-February), and suffer from water shortages with frightening consistency. Also creating trouble are countless pests, molds, and various diseases that can destroy crops within days.
Agua Dulce Farm uses an innovative Aquaponic model to greatly reduce many of these obstacles to farming in Central Texas in a number of ways.
- Drought Tolerance. The recirculating Aquaponics system uses approximately 90% less water than a conventional farm.
- The clean Aquaponic system reduces the risk of pests, molds, and diseases, resulting in pesticide-free, herbicide-free produce. The resulting plants are organic, fresh, available year-round, and sustainably grown.
- The streamlined Aquaponic process produces plants in a controlled and soil-less environment, reducing the chance of contamination, and places plants at waist-height, making harvesting easier.
- The fish live in clean water with ample space in which to swim and grow.
At Agua Dulce Farm, local food production provides a large population access to healthy foods with minimal transportation, reducing the carbon footprint and benefiting the local economy.
Aquaponics has recently gained popularity as an environmentally conscious way to produce clean-water fish and organic vegetables. Agua Dulce Farm has created a controlled environment that will yield premium quality crops and fish on a year-round basis.