Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Integrated Science and Technology

Advisor(s)

Shannon N. Conley

Karim Altaii

Wayne S. Teel

Christy M. Bradburn

Abstract

Sustainable agriculture is becoming an increasingly important method of food production. As human populations continue to grow, attendant food demand has been increasingly met via agribusiness, including monoculture crop production and factory farming. As is well documented, the rise of agribusiness has led to resource degradation and declining stocks on which “sustainable agriculture” relies. This paper describes a local attempt to re-establish “sustainable agriculture” through the development of an aquaculture system that mimics a naturally occurring cycle that integrates fish and plants. The system was constructed over a three-week period in Punta Leona, Costa Rica. First, the ground was cleared and leveled and the supporting legs were installed and cemented. The holes for the fish tanks were dug out of the ground and the fiberglass tanks were installed in the holes. Once the legs were completed, the separately constructed media bed was set up on the supporting legs, lined, and filled with lava rock. The system was completed by installing the piping system and filling the system with water, plants, and fish. Punta Leona Hotel has established a series of goals to achieve within the next decade to qualify as an Eco-tourist destination. The purpose of installing an aquaponics system at the resort was twofold: 1) to produce fresh greens and fish on-site for the hotel’s restaurant, and 2) to serve as an educational tool about environmental sustainability for their residents. This paper analyzes the ecological benefits and costs of the system, aside from the construction of the system. More specifically, the paper analyzes the food miles and life cycle of the food currently served at Punta Leona Hotel and Club and the change in food miles and food life cycle with the implementation of the aquaponics system.

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