Meg Stout is an engineer and writer with a focus on environmental stewardship and historical fiction. She has been an officer in the Aquaponics Association since its formation in 2011, is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Aquaponic Gardening (2013), and founder of Saving Water LLC, an organization dedicated to education on water stewardship using the water footprint paradigm developed by Professor Arjen Hoekstra.
Meg earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from George Mason University and was part of the inaugural cohort for the Product Development Master of Science degree program at Naval Postgraduate School, one of three such program nationwide at the time that combined Systems Engineering and Business Administration. Meg has spent three decades working in Ocean Engineering for the US Navy.
Meg became active in water stewardship in 2010 when she created her first aquaponic system, combining gardening with raising fish. Aquaponics is uniquely water thrifty, using only 10-20% of the water required for traditional gardening, as well as eliminating the need for petrochemical fertilizers. From 2010-2013 Meg focused on using her engineering skills to make it possible for regular folks to assemble DIY aquaponic systems from locally-sourced components available from national chain stores. In April 2013 Penguin Book Group published Meg’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Aquaponic Gardening, as part of Penguin’s popular Complete Idiot’s Guide series of How-To books.
Meg’s interest in aquaponics expanded to interest in fresh water use by consumers. Arjen Hoekstra developed a water footprint methodology in 2004 that accounts for all fresh water required for human activities, including precipitation (green water), irrigation (blue water), and water required to dilute pollutants such as crop fertilizers. In 2013 Meg founded Saving Water LLC to promote consumers on daily activities and choices that can save hundreds of gallons of water per individual per day.
Meanwhile, Meg continues her interest in historical fiction. Meg became fascinated by true tales after learning her parents had to leave the state to get married. (Marriage between whites and asians was considered “Void and Prohibited” at the time.) Meg’s first attempt to tell her stories in fictional form occurred in 2006 for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). Meg finds fiction is more rigorous than mere documentary, since fiction requires she make sense out of the facts of people’s lives. Many of her subjects spring from revered tradition, from Saint Margaret of Scotland to early Mormon pioneers, cases where information is missing from extant records. Meg calls her historical fiction “midrash,” a Hebrew term for interpretive stories woven around holy legends. Meg is a 2007 graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. In 2008 she studied novel-writing with Dave Wolverton in St. George, Utah. She has been part of the Codex Writer’s Group since 2007.
Meg lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and daughters.