St. Edward’s student explores sustainable agriculture

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This is the time of year you probably start thinking about your spring garden, and an Austin college student is promoting a more sustainable way to grow everything from herbs to veggies.

Jack Ikard says the idea for his business, AquaSprouts, came about organically. He and his co-founder started it last year with just a 10-gallon fish tank.

“It’s a symbiotic closed loop system with the fish feeding the plants and the plants cleaning the water,” said Jack Ikard, co-founder of AquaSprouts. Ikard is a sophomore at St. Edward’s University.

He’s talking about aquaponics. Water from the tank is pumped up to the roots. The plants clean the water for the fish and the fish waste nourishes the veggies. There’s no watering and no fertilizing.

“You’re not having to add chemicals, fertilizers,” said Ikard. “All you have to do is essentially feed your fish.”

Ikard says his interest in aquaponics started in high school, but he wanted to try it on a scale most people can handle. Ten-gallon fish tanks are a popular size.

“Our aquaponics system was designed to grow a variety of plants,” said Ikard. “So, we wanted to create a big grow bed.”

AquaSprouts now has a kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for new machinery.

“We want to be able to make molds so we would be able to efficiently and more cost effectively create our system,” said Ikard.

The goal is to expand to a nationwide client base.

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