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About Michael Bechtel

Waverly, Iowa

Michael Bechtel is a full-time professor and activist who created an Ioponic — Iowa educational aquaponics — system that is self-sustaining and repurposes community waste.

Aquaponics is a form of agriculture that combines raising fish in tanks with soilless plant culture; the nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help purify the water for the fish.

Michael started his Ioponics system to help others learn how to feed themselves locally, with a goal to place these systems in developing countries so people who are food insecure can grow tabletop consumables all year.

The Ioponics project started more than a decade ago and Michael is committed to the research, development, maintenance and building needed to continue to improve the system.

In his free time, he makes systems for surrounding Iowa teachers to be used as educational tools for their students. He takes time to educate and train teachers on the Ioponics systems, which come with his self-created curriculum, aligned to national science, agriculture and cross-curricular standards.

Ioponics systems can be found in 76 of the 99 Iowa counties, 14 U.S. states, Liberia, Germany and will expand to Mexico and Peru next.

Michael’s passion for sustainability and making things better drives his business and his community forward.