Increasingly, Houstonians -- from individuals to restaurateurs to activist groups -- are contributing their grain of salt toward the fight against unsustainable agricultural practices. But locals Andrew Alvis and Matthew Braud are tackling this same endeavor in a unique way. The pair created Sustainable Harvesters, a company that uses aquaponics to cultivate organic produce and fish in the "most advanced, safest, and environmentally sustainable way possible."
While the term "aquaponics" sounds like the name of a glittery '80s dance-pop band, it's actually a simple, yet advanced, food production system that marries the practices of raising aquatic animals and growing plants in water. In the integrated system, which doesn't use any soil, water from a fish tank is drained into a gravel bed, where fish waste is filtered and broken down into substances that promote plant growth. This water is then pumped into fruit or vegetable growing beds.
In Sustainable Harvester's case, fish, along with tomatoes, cucumber, herbs, baby arugula and kale mixtures, corn, and squash are produced on their farm in Hockley, Texas: Coastal Range Aquaponics.
Sustainable Harvesters partners with local restaurants, schools, and communities to bring the food produced by aquaponics, (free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, GMO's, or growth hormones), to Houstonians' tables. Currently, the organic fare is served to members of the Houston Oaks Country Club, and a partnership with the tried and true Triniti is in the works.