Foundation for Self-Sufficiency. Information on membership and tours of facilities is available by writing to the foundation at: 35 Maple Ave., Catonsville, Md. 21228.
The doomsday predictions of energy shortages are being met bravely by some people who are gearing up to supply their dwellings with alternative sources of power. And then there are the even grimmer predictions of food shortages, which are being confronted pragmatically by one local group of conservationists who are learning how to "grow" fish in backyard ponds. Organized three years ago as the non-profit Foundation for Self-Sufficiency, the 150-member group has been working on becoming self-sufficient by conducting basic research into the best methods of collecting solar and wind energy, and the most productive methods of organic farming. Most of their research projects are carried out at their headquarters in Catonsville, Md., a five-acre tract dotted with windmills, solar collectors, greenhouses and garden plots. By far their most unusual work, however, has been in the field of fish farming, that is, in developing an efficient, economical way to produce fish at home as a nutritional replacement for other increasingly expensive sources of protein. The fish farming project is carried out under the protective cover of two domed greenhouses containing vinyl-lined ponds stocked with tropical fish which thrive in warm water heated by hearby solar collectors. As an offshoot of this, studies are being made into using the heat retained by the pond water to warm a greenhouse or even provide enregy for a dwelling. This year the fish farm will yield about 100 pounds of carp and tilapia which will be distributed to group members. The group's research is plodding along at a slow pace, though, because time and labor for projects are volunteered by members during their free hours, usually only on weekends. And the extent of the research is limited by income from contributions (tax deductible).