How a fish might grow your next salad

In a virtuous cycle of sustainability, waste from fish farming becomes nutrients for growing vegetables, which cleanse the water for fish farming.

How a fish might grow your next salad

In a virtuous cycle of sustainability, waste from fish farming becomes nutrients for growing vegetables, which cleanse the water for fish farming.

This story appears in the August 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Vegetables grown through aquaponics—a combination of fish farming (aquaculture) and plant cultivation without soil (hydroponics)—may be coming to a marketplace near you. Practiced by the ancient Chinese and by the Aztec, the ever evolving technique is going commercial in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. It’s being eyed as a sustainable farming option well suited to cities, islands, and developing regions where water and land are in short supply.