NEW ORLEANS, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, in honor of the upcoming 41st Earth Day on April 22, the Recirculating Farms Coalition released a new interactive map that shows consumers where to buy fresh produce and seafood, and decorative plants and fish from innovative farms. The organization is a collaborative group of farmers, fishermen, educators, scientists and others who promote unique growing methods – recirculating farming.
"Recirculating farms are amazing – they use inventive ways to be space, energy, and water efficient," says Executive Director Marianne Cufone. "Because they can be so eco-friendly, Earth Day is the perfect time to get the word out that these farms are operating all over the U.S. Our new map helps people find and learn about them."
Recirculating farms are what they sound like; they use naturally cleaned, recycled water, without soil, to raise plants and fish. There are many styles of recirculating farms, but generally they all fall into three categories: hydroponic (plants), aquaculture (fish), or aquaponic (plants and fish).
Though recirculating technology is not new – it is similar to that used for ages in hanging gardens, fish ponds, and modernly in aquariums – it is ever improving. Today, these farms can grow more, in less space, using rainwater and renewable energy sources like solar power. Still, they are not well known in the U.S.
One focus for the Coalition is to raise awareness about these farms. Creating a map that shows commercial recirculating farms is a way to reach out to people who want to visit and purchase from the farms and are interested in supporting local, sustainable businesses.
The new map uses color-coding to identify the type of farm and provides location and contact information. It is a work-in-progress, the Coalition expects to add more farms and additional details to each entry, including what is grown and where products can be purchased if they are sold off-site.
"We are always learning about new recirculating farms, and farmers are contacting and joining the Coalition. This map will expand and be an important resource for consumers who want sustainably grown, fresh local food. We are excited to debut this in time for Earth Day, to help people find fresh food and other products that are both good for us and our planet," Cufone said.