As he tossed freeze-dried crickets into a pool of eager blue gill, Andrew Mueth explained this was how he and his five brothers could farm together and preserve the 160-year-old Illinois family farm legacy. The family raises a wide variety of lettuce using an aquaponic system that was erected in a decades-old straw storage shed.
“It’s a way we could work together on a family farm and it’s a lot cheaper than getting into row crops,” Mueth says. His family still owns 300 row-crop acres, but they’re rented to other farmers.
From fish poop to food
Because each of the six brothers has a full-time job, they endured late nights and long weekends to convert their shed into a working aquaponics system. One half of the shed serves as home for the fish, currently bluegill caught on their farm pond, and the other half a greenhouse.