Aquaponics in Serbia

Aquaponics is a small but growing club. This week Nemanja shared with us how he is a part of the Aquaponics community. It’s always great to learn about one another.
“ My name is Nemanja Živić, I am 27 years old and currently I am working as Technical Support Engineer for CHPs on Biogas in Serbia. During the Covid-19 quarantine period I finally made my first baby steps into aquaponics. For years I always read interesting news about aquaponics and I was always fascinated with it. During quarantine I realized I have enough time to make my micro ecosystem and test all the things I didn’t know. I Made my micro 10l system for less than 20€ with some of the things I already had in my house. This is the best way to step into aquaponics for people that are interested in it but never tried, just like me. You will maybe fail in the beginning but never stop trying. After all, like you can see in the pictures, all you need is a small aquarium, plastic grow bed, water pump and oxygen pump.
In Serbia there are not many people that have even heard about aquaponics right now. In the whole country you can probably count the number of active systems with fingers on both hands.
This is my first system and it has only one fish (koi) and now that he is getting bigger, this small aquarium is too small for him. I am already planning a new one that I will finish soon and it will not be simple in design. The goal is to have a big enough system that I could profit from. I would like to make this hobby into my future job.
As a renewable engineer I have to say aquaponics as it is right now has something that is overlooked by many. Currently I am also working on a study that can make the system way more efficient and cost effective. It is easy and simple to say it but I will need a lot of research to finish this study and a lot of experiments in the coming years. In this way aquaponics can shape our world being a renewable way of our food production and have a big impact on our world with all the benefits it already has.”
Nemanja’s Socials
(Linkedin – nemanja)

Quarter 2 COVID19 Economics Survey for Aquaponics and Allied Businesses

In response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), The Ohio State University and Virginia Tech are collecting information about how U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses have been affected by this pandemic. This effort is being repeated quarterly to try and capture the evolving impacts of coronavirus disease.

Click: Take the Quarter 2 Survey

This survey is being supported by funding from the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Results from this study may be used to communicate the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on commercial aquaculture, aquaponics or allied businesses to State and Federal agencies, in an effort to secure relief. Results from this study may also be published in the future. This survey will close on July 17, 2020.
If you would like a copy of the summary results, or have any questions about this study, please contact: Jonathan van Senten – jvansenten@vt.edu or Matthew Smith – smith.11460@osu.edu

 

Help us Fight for Aquaponics!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

Aquaponic Growers Eligible for Coronavirus Assistance

Multiple USDA representatives assured the Aquaponics Association that aquaponics operations producing qualified crops are eligible for financial support through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The Deadline to apply is August 28, 2020. Growers are also eligible for Small Business Administration Programs.

 

By Thomas Wheet and Brian Filipowich

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the American agricultural industry in unprecedented ways. Farmers have watched harvests spoil, been forced to destroy crops, and have euthanized livestock due to the shifts in consumer behavior. 

The USDA created the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to assist farms that have suffered economically due to the outbreak.

We reached out to the USDA to inquire about aquaponic growers’ eligibility for CFAP and received encouraging, yet somewhat inconclusive, responses. While aquaponics is not explicitly highlighted as an eligible growing method for CFAP, numerous USDA representatives assured our policy team that aquaponic operations producing qualified crops could receive financial support through the program. Because funding decisions will ultimately be conducted at the county level, both the Aquaponics Association and USDA personnel strongly encourage any aquaponics organization to reach out to its county’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to confirm that the organization meets all criteria required to receive support before completing the application process.

  • Deadline to apply: The USDA is accepting applications until August 28, 2020. Make sure to check with your FSA at your local USDA Service Center for any questions regarding the application process. 
  • Who can apply for CFAP: 
    • Producers of eligible commodities who have experienced a 5% or greater price decline due to COVID-19.
    • Individuals and/or legal entities that average an adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 in 2016, 2017, 2018. Make sure to check the CFAP website for additional eligibility guidelines. 
  • Eligible crops: Non-specialty crops, wool, dairy, livestock, and specialty crops are all eligible for CFAP. For a complete list, make sure to take a look at the CFAP website.

General Business Assistance Programs
In addition to agriculture-specific economic assistance, the Federal Government has augmented general economic relief programs so that they also apply to agricultural. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program offers $10,000 loan advances for businesses experiencing a temporary loss in revenue and have less than 500 employees. The loan advances do not need to be repaid.

The USDA website notes: “For the first time, agricultural enterprises are now eligible for the disaster assistance from EIDL. As a result of the unprecedented legislation, American farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital.” The website also specifically notes that “aquaculture” businesses are eligible. Eligibility for CFAP is unaffected by participation in the PPP or EIDL. 

Also from the SBA, the Payroll Protection Program offers guaranteed loans to support the payroll of businesses with less than 500 employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately the PPP deadline is June 30, 2020 (the day of this posting).

What is the Economic Effect of COVID on Aquaponics?

Surveys have indicated that COVID19 has hurt commercial aquaponic growers. See: 1) Survey Results; COVID’s Effect on U.S. Aquaponics; and 2) Commercial Growers Hit Hard by Coronavirus.

We must do more to support commercial aquaponic growers during the pandemic so that we don’t set back our most efficient, sustainable form of agriculture.

Are you a grower that receives, has applied, or plans to apply for economic assistance through these government programs? Please complete this quick survey to let us know your experience, and if you have any questions or comments on the process.

Help us Fight for Aquaponics!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

USDA Powerpoint for $3M Urban Ag Grants

 

Yesterday, June 3, the USDA hosted a webinar on $3 million in competitive grants from the new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The USDA states: “The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight July 6, 2020.”

The webinar included a powerpoint on the grants and grant process.

Click here to view: USDA Urban Ag Grants Powerpoint.

The USDA states that the grants will fund: “Activities that encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including community gardens and farms located in urban areas, suburbs, and urban clusters; rooftop farms, outdoor vertical production, and green walls; indoor farms, greenhouses, and high-tech vertical technology farms; hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic farm facilities; and other innovations in agricultural production.”

Let’s make sure some of this funding is directed towards aquaponics. Please let us know if you have questions about the grants or would like to collaborate with the Aquaponics Association on a grant proposal.

Contact: community@aquaponicsassociation.org

Do you want to help us promote aquaponics to the USDA and other policymakers?

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. One aspect of this Mission is representing aquaponics with policy-makers like the USDA, Congress, and food safety regulators. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause with a $60 Annual Membership.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new industries
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Please consider a General Membership to support aquaponics!

Weds June 3 USDA Webinar on $3M Urban / Innovative Ag Grants

This Wednesday, June 3 is the USDA’s webinar on the $3M in Urban and Innovative Agriculture grants! Let’s make sure funding is directed to aquaponics.

Click here: Register for June 3 USDA Urban / Innovative Ag Grants Webinar. (Scroll to bottom of page under “Additional Resources”.)

Background article from May 7, 2020:

USDA Launches Innovative Ag Office – Announces $3M Grants
By Thomas Wheet and Brian Filipowich

The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill charged the USDA with creating the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (“Urban Ag Office”). The Farm Bill noted that urban agriculture can “contribute to the revitalization of abandoned or underutilized urban land, [bring] social and economic benefits to urban communities, and [create] beneficial impacts on the urban landscape.

After months of navigating the Congressional appropriations process, the necessary funding for the Urban Ag Office was finally signed into law in December 2019.

The Aquaponics Association reached out to the leadership of the Urban Ag Office and Congressional Offices to get a better understanding of the policies, funding opportunities, and timelines that will affect aquaponic growers.

Here is the Urban Ag Office’s Statement to the Aquaponics Association:

“Thank you for your interest in our efforts to stand up the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service was delegated responsibility to implement the 2018 Farm Bill provisions on behalf of USDA and I have been designated as the Interim Director for the Office. We are working collaboratively with other USDA agencies to ensure they each have an equal voice in establishing the office, consistent with the 2018 Farm Bill provisions, and they are able to contribute in areas that fall within their respective missions and areas of expertise.

“As you are aware, the 2018 Farm Bill authorized $25 million annually for the Office. However, the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation was capped at $5 million and limits the degree to which we can implement the authorized activities. We are moving forward with standing up the office and the external federal advisory committee that serves to provide recommendations to the Secretary, forging a path to establish the urban/suburban pilot county committees, and developing announcements for grants and agreements provided for in the Farm Bill.

“We are planning a series of webinars that will be announced soon that are designed to provide interested persons and stakeholders information about the establishment of the office and the functions we anticipate implementing. We will ensure we keep your contact information on file so you receive information about these webinars.

Then, yesterday, as we were about to publish this article, the USDA released a new, $3 million in grants for urban agriculture initiatives that will increase food access, agricultural education, and innovative production methods within urban environments. Stay tuned for much more information on these grants in the coming weeks, and mark your calendars for a June 3, 2020 USDA webinar on the grant process.

Click to see the USDA Press Release on the $3 Million Urban Ag Grants for more information and webinar registration.

Aquaponics is already taking the urban agriculture and controlled environmental agriculture industries by storm. While accounting for $19 million in 2020, the market is expected to climb to $46 million by the end of 2026 (that’s a CAGR of over 11.5%).  This potential impact, however, could be greatly increased with federal guidance, funding, and business support that the Urban Ag Office is intended to provide.

The following list highlights several forms of support that the Aquaponics Association will continue to advocate for on behalf of the entire aquaponics industry: 

  • Funding: Due to high startup costs, aquaponics can be unattainable for many individuals and/or communities looking to begin an operation. We will continue to advocate the new Office to support aquaponics initiatives with appropriate levels of funding needed to develop adequate systems that will lead to successful operations (both for non-profit and for-profit organizations).
  • Clarity surrounding policies: Though widely understood as beneficial, aquaponics falls within an agricultural ‘no-mans-land’ surrounding guidelines at the local, state, and federal level. This grey-area is partially because aquaculture, food crops, and other crops all fall under different regulatory regimes. Basically the big bureaucracy gets confused and can’t function, like a deer in the headlights. Whether in regards to food safety, greenhouse sterility, organic certification, etc., the Aquaponics Association will promote policies that match the operational realities faced by aquaponic growers across the country.
  • Defining value: Beyond the monetary value surrounding the produce and protein sustainably grown in aquaponic operations, there are numerous social benefits to localizing food production in urban spaces. From local job creation and educational opportunities about agriculture/nutrition, to decreasing municipal carbon footprints associated with the traditional agricultural system, the Aquaponics Association will work to ensure that Congress and the USDA fully grasp the true value of aquaponic growing.

Are there other items that you’d like to make sure that we address directly with Congress and/or the USDA? If so, please provide feedback.

Read Also: USDA Launches Voluntary Aquaponics G.A.P. Food Safety Program

Help us Fight for Aquaponics!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

Survey Results: COVID’s Effect on U.S. Aquaponics

Researchers from Virginia Tech, Ohio State, and Engle-Stone Aquatic$ conducted a formal survey to determine the effect of COVID19 on U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses, see: Commercial Aquaculture Survey Results.

And the researchers parsed out the data for aquaponics: COVID19 Aquaponics Survey Results.

Background

On March 23rd, 2020, Virginia Tech Seafood AREC and The Ohio State University Extension initiated an online survey of the U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses. This survey was designed to capture and quantify the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied industries. The survey will be distributed at the conclusion of every quarter for 2020, to attempt to capture the evolving impacts of COVID-19 over time.

 

Aquaponics AI is your first cloud-based dashboard for Aquaponics

Check out Aquaponics AI, an Affiliate Member of the Aquaponics Association. The Aquaponics Association Affiliate Program allows aquaponics businesses and institutions to spread the latest products, services, classes, and events!

Aquaponics AI is a cloud-based software using a data and intelligence-driven approach to growing with Aquaponics for the small and large farm.  We provide you with technology to unleash your aquaponic superpowers.  We have calculators, resources, metric tracking, system insights, crop/fish/disease libraries, cycling guidance, customized maintenance checklists, and *unlimited* projects!
 
It’s finally time to ditch the pen and paper for digital logging and to gain instant and valuable insights into your system.
And check out the story of our aquaponic operation during COVID19: Remote Aquaponics during the Lockdown in Amman, Jordan
Contact: Jonathan Reyes & Daniel Robards at connect@aquaponics.ai

Ed’s Heartbreaking Aquaponics Move; Classroom to Wine Cellar

By Ed Tivnan, Director of STEM Aquaponics
Aquaponics Association

On Monday, March 23, 2020, the faculty at the Tremont High School in Concord, Massachusetts got the closure orders from the Governor that our school building would be closing by noon the next day. So, I had 24 hours to disassemble and move out the best example of natural sustainability that could be found in any classroom in the country. For all the right reasons, yet it still broke my heart that our “Aquaponics in the Classroom” learning experience would end this way.

Classroom aquaponics record-keeping chart and graphs

Six weeks prior, starting in January 2020, my Tremont High School Biology students had been daily enjoying, while learning, Organic Gardening, Water Quality Testing, Teamwork and Next Generation Biological Practices, Big Ideas and Connections. They started off class by conducting 10 water quality tests: Air, Water, and Soil Temperatures, Nitrates, pH, Hardness, Alkalinity, Ammonia and Dissolved Oxygen.

One student was designated the Lead Scientist and lead the group of testing students and entered all information on a shared Google spreadsheet (See Spreadsheet). At the same time each student planted their own vegetable pots of Carrots, Broccoli, Kale, and Peas. They were deeply engaged in both the physical and scientific aspects of organic gardening. During weekly lab periods, students discussed trends in the water testing data to determine whether these trends were healthy or unhealthy for the three Keystone Communities of Plant, Fish and Microbes. At the same time students weekly sketched and journaled about the growth patterns of their individual plants. While also learning to take care the Aquaponics Unit “biological needs” by daily feeding the fish, weekly filling the fish tank when the water was low and pruning plants that needed attention.

As an educator I had a living classroom unit that contained all five major taxonomic kingdoms (Plants, Animals, Bacteria, Archaebacteria and Fungi) which I regularly incorporated into my Next Generation Science Standard Biology lesson plans. Furthermore, the entire school benefited by being entertained by the fish and the lush greenery in the wintertime.

So, when the order came to evacuate the school building, I had to reluctantly “think quickly on my feet”. My godson’s wife had asked me to build her an aquaponics unit in their home 2 months prior to the Governor’s order. Subsequently after finally disassembling the aquaponics unit that afternoon, I transferred the unit to their house in Newton New Hampshire. They had the perfect spot in their cellar, an abandoned wine cellar room. In a matter of three weeks the unit was reassembled, water was again circulating, most of the classroom plants were replanted, and fish were swimming again in fish tank, Subsequently we had successfully gone from a “An Aquaponics in the Classroom” to an “Aquaponics in the House.” Stayed tune for updates.

Do you want to write a short article to share your personal story?

Do you have an interesting story about how COVID-19 is affecting your aquaponics? Do you want to share it with the aquaponics community on the Aquaponics Association’s social media?

Are you expanding your system? Changing what you grow for friends and family? Sourcing fish in your local pond? Instructing the Elementary School maintenance staff via telephone how to buffer pH?

Tell us in under 500 words and please include at least two pictures of your aquaponic setup. We will post your stories. Your stories help us all reach new audiences for aquaponics!

 

Help us Fight for Aquaponics!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

USDA Launches Innovative Ag Office – Announces $3M Grants

By Thomas Wheet and Brian Filipowich

The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill charged the USDA with creating the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (“Urban Ag Office”). The Farm Bill noted that urban agriculture can “contribute to the revitalization of abandoned or underutilized urban land, [bring] social and economic benefits to urban communities, and [create] beneficial impacts on the urban landscape.

After months of navigating the Congressional appropriations process, the necessary funding for the Urban Ag Office was finally signed into law in December 2019.

The Aquaponics Association reached out to the leadership of the Urban Ag Office and Congressional Offices to get a better understanding of the policies, funding opportunities, and timelines that will affect aquaponic growers.

Here is the Urban Ag Office’s Statement to the Aquaponics Association:

“Thank you for your interest in our efforts to stand up the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service was delegated responsibility to implement the 2018 Farm Bill provisions on behalf of USDA and I have been designated as the Interim Director for the Office. We are working collaboratively with other USDA agencies to ensure they each have an equal voice in establishing the office, consistent with the 2018 Farm Bill provisions, and they are able to contribute in areas that fall within their respective missions and areas of expertise.

“As you are aware, the 2018 Farm Bill authorized $25 million annually for the Office. However, the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation was capped at $5 million and limits the degree to which we can implement the authorized activities. We are moving forward with standing up the office and the external federal advisory committee that serves to provide recommendations to the Secretary, forging a path to establish the urban/suburban pilot county committees, and developing announcements for grants and agreements provided for in the Farm Bill.

“We are planning a series of webinars that will be announced soon that are designed to provide interested persons and stakeholders information about the establishment of the office and the functions we anticipate implementing. We will ensure we keep your contact information on file so you receive information about these webinars.

Then, yesterday, as we were about to publish this article, the USDA released a new, $3 million in grants for urban agriculture initiatives that will increase food access, agricultural education, and innovative production methods within urban environments. Stay tuned for much more information on these grants in the coming weeks, and mark your calendars for a June 3, 2020 USDA webinar on the grant process.

Click to see the USDA Press Release on the $3 Million Urban Ag Grants for more information and webinar registration.

Aquaponics is already taking the urban agriculture and controlled environmental agriculture industries by storm. While accounting for $19 million in 2020, the market is expected to climb to $46 million by the end of 2026 (that’s a CAGR of over 11.5%).  This potential impact, however, could be greatly increased with federal guidance, funding, and business support that the Urban Ag Office is intended to provide.

The following list highlights several forms of support that the Aquaponics Association will continue to advocate for on behalf of the entire aquaponics industry: 

  • Funding: Due to high startup costs, aquaponics can be unattainable for many individuals and/or communities looking to begin an operation. We will continue to advocate the new Office to support aquaponics initiatives with appropriate levels of funding needed to develop adequate systems that will lead to successful operations (both for non-profit and for-profit organizations).
  • Clarity surrounding policies: Though widely understood as beneficial, aquaponics falls within an agricultural ‘no-mans-land’ surrounding guidelines at the local, state, and federal level. This grey-area is partially because aquaculture, food crops, and other crops all fall under different regulatory regimes. Basically the big bureaucracy gets confused and can’t function, like a deer in the headlights. Whether in regards to food safety, greenhouse sterility, organic certification, etc., the Aquaponics Association will promote policies that match the operational realities faced by aquaponic growers across the country.
  • Defining value: Beyond the monetary value surrounding the produce and protein sustainably grown in aquaponic operations, there are numerous social benefits to localizing food production in urban spaces. From local job creation and educational opportunities about agriculture/nutrition, to decreasing municipal carbon footprints associated with the traditional agricultural system, the Aquaponics Association will work to ensure that Congress and the USDA fully grasp the true value of aquaponic growing.

Are there other items that you’d like to make sure that we address directly with Congress and/or the USDA? If so, please provide feedback.

Read Also: USDA Launches Voluntary Aquaponics G.A.P. Food Safety Program

Help us Fight for Aquaponics!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

 

USDA Voluntary G.A.P. Program

By Tawnya Sawyer

The USDA recently recognized aquaponics under their voluntary Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program through the Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) division. This program is in its pilot phase for audits and certification of selected aquaponics farms through the end of 2020. Having a set of guidelines for aquaponics helps to better align with the specifics of growing in soil-less media, using filtered fish waste for nutrient solution, and bio-integration of fish and plants in a growing facility.
Prior to this pilot program, aquaponic farm audits were subject to standard GAP guidelines designed for produce crops grown in a field or cultivated in a greenhouse. This created challenges for auditors trying to modify or interpret guidelines for other growing methods that don’t align or apply to aquaponics. By launching this pilot program, the USDA has indicated that aquaponics is viewed as a commercially viable industry worthy of its own audit guidelines and food safety certification. Find out more about the USDA’s Aquaponics GAP Pilot Program here.

 

Help us Fight for Aquaponics!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

 

Hawaii Growers Donate Tilapia to the Homeless

By Vernon Byrd, 
University of the Nations, Kona Hawaii Campus

At the University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii campus, we normally provide lettuce, bunching onions, basil, kale and parsley for the campus cafeteria. Although we normally produce about 800 heads of lettuce per week, the cafeteria uses more than that, but, we have had a surplus since all the students and most staff left the island due to Covid issues.

Some staff with their families, mostly from countries closed to travel, remain on the campus and we provide produce for them. We also are able to provide produce to the homeless feeding program and we will supplement what we have been giving them with some tilapia, which are ready for harvest.

Do you want to write a short article to share your personal story?

Do you have an interesting story about how COVID-19 is affecting your aquaponics? Do you want to share it with the aquaponics community on the Aquaponics Association’s social media?

Are you expanding your system? Changing what you grow for friends and family? Sourcing fish in your local pond? Instructing the Elementary School maintenance staff via telephone how to buffer pH?

Tell us in under 500 words and please include at least two pictures of your aquaponic setup. We will post your stories. Your stories help us all reach new audiences for aquaponics!

Help us spread the message!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership