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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
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Jackie Clay

Q and A: aquaponics and medical help in a rural area

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013


I have become intrigued by something called Aquaponics. I do not recall this subject being discussed in any previous articles, and have been unable to find anything in the magazine indexes. Can you tell me if Aquaponics is a viable and efficient system for individuals to operate on a small to mid-size scale. If so, is there printed material that you could recommend for a beginner? Perhaps you or BHM already have an article in the works on this topic.

Robert Pillsbury
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Aquaponics is the process of growing animals (usually fish) in tanks below the growing benches of vegetables and other plants. The fish waste in the water is pumped to water and feed the plants above. The plants utilize the fish waste and filter the water that can be toxic to fish as their wastes accumulate. The clean water then drains back into the fish tank. Tilapia, a warmer water fish that grows quite quickly, is often used as a part of this system. We don’t use this process and I really don’t think it’s valuable to the homesteader as it requires a heated building and quite constant monitoring for it to work well. Aquaponics works well in some climates that don’t require a heated building. If you want to give it a try, there are dozens of online sites to give you a start. No, we’ve not done an article on this subject. — Jackie

Medical help in a rural area

Since you live in a very rural area do you have access to medical help if you need it?  We are about the same age as you and we would love a more rural setting but are concerned about getting regular and emergency care as we age. We are in good health now, but don’t know where the years went.

Donna Clements
Hoquiam, Washington

Yes, we do have pretty good access to emergency and other medical help, if necessary.  Our local hospital is 16 miles away with more nearby EMT help until an ambulance arrives. Should an emergency be more critical, there is a Life Flight helicopter to Duluth, which I enjoyed after falling off our barn roof two years ago. We also had this service in very remote Montana. As for such concerns as cancer treatment, we have a hospital 30 miles away that has a very good oncology department that I also enjoyed seven years ago. Sometimes a more rural hospital is better than a big-city one. They treat you like a person, not a number, and do their best to make you well.  And that’s all I can ask. You’re right; the years fly by. I still feel like I’m 30, except when I get out of bed in the morning! — Jackie

2 Responses to “Q and A: aquaponics and medical help in a rural area”

  1. Ellendra Says:

    There’s a good forum at with lots of useful info. From tabletop goldfish tank aquaponics, to multi-acre commercial systems, and everything in between.

  2. Ann Says:

    I agree 100% with your assessment of rural hospitals. We’ve always found the level of care and caring much higher in the more rural hospitals. Also, you likely will know a good portion of the staff.

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