Senate 2018 Farm Bill Provisions for Aquaponics and Hydroponics

Aquaponics and/or hydroponics are referenced in four different sections of the Senate’s 2018 Farm Bill Draft, listed below. Click here to join our 2018 Aquaponics Farm Bill Coalition and sign our letter to Congress.

SEC. 7212. URBAN, INDOOR, AND OTHER EMERGING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND EXTENSION INITIATIVE.

Within one year of passage of the Farm Bill, the USDA Secretary must conduct a census of urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production, including information about—

(A) community gardens and farms located in urban areas, suburbs, and urban clusters;

(B) rooftop farms, outdoor vertical production, and green walls;

(C) indoor farms, greenhouses, and high-tech vertical technology farms;

(D) hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic farm facilities; and

(E) other innovations in agricultural production, as determined by the Secretary.

 

SEC. 11122. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation will conduct research that evaluates the effectiveness of policies and plans of insurance for production targeted toward local consumers and markets, including policies and plans of insurance that—

(i) consider small-scale production in various areas, including urban, suburban, and rural areas;

(ii) consider a variety of marketing strategies

(iii) allow for production in soil and in alternative systems such as vertical systems, greenhouses, rooftops, or hydroponic systems;

 

SEC. 12302. URBAN AGRICULTURE. OFFICE OF URBAN AGRICULTURE AND INNOVATIVE PRODUCTION

The Farm Bill Creates the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The mission of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including—

(A) community gardens and farms located in urban areas, suburbs, and urban clusters;

(B) rooftop farms, outdoor vertical production, and green walls;

(C) indoor farms, greenhouses, and high-tech vertical technology farms;

(D) hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic farm facilities; and

(E) other innovations in agricultural production, as determined by the Secretary.

 

SEC. 12616. MICRO-GRANTS FOR FOOD SECURITY

The purpose of this section is to increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food through small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations in food insecure communities in areas of the United States that have significant levels of food insecurity and import a significant quantity of food.

An eligible entity that receives a subgrant under this section shall use the funds to engage in activities that will increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food, including by …(F) starting or expanding hydroponic and aeroponic farming of any scale.

 

Click here to join our 2018 Aquaponics Farm Bill Coalition. We’ll sign your name onto our upcoming letter to Congress. We’ll be telling Congress they must support sustainable agriculture.

Senate Farm Bill Includes Provisions for Aquaponics and Hydroponics

Read what the Senate’s Farm Bill includes for Aquaponics, click here: Senate Farm Bill Fact Sheet

The U.S. Senate on July 5 passed a draft of the 2018 Farm Bill that includes provisions specifically relating to aquaponics, hydroponics, and other sustainable growing methods. (Maybe our 200+ signature sign-on letter had an effect!)

The Senate’s draft is an improvement over the House draft, which did not even mention aquaponics. But Congress must still do more to support local, efficient agriculture.

The House and Senate must now reconcile their two versions and vote on a final version in the upcoming weeks. We need to make sure that, at a minimum, the Senate’s aquaponics provisions are included in the final draft.

The Farm Bill is intended to provide an adequate national supply of food and nutrition. It is passed once every five years. Both the House and Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill allocate over $400 billion in spending.

In February, the Aquaponics Association sent over 200 signatures to Congress. We asked Congress to ensure that crop insurance, crop subsidy, research, conservation, and all other Farm Bill programs apply equally to aquaponics as to traditional soil growing.

We need to make sure Congress supports sustainable agriculture. Click here to join the 2018 Aquaponics Farm Bill Coalition. Next week we’ll send another letter to Congress reminding them of the importance of aquaponics to the future of food production.

 

Grocer Boasts of Local Aquaponic Salmon

Festival Foods, a Wisconsin grocer, recently boasted that it’s the first retailer to sell Superior Fresh‘s Atlantic Salmon:

“Superior Fresh is an industry leading aquaponics facility specializing in leafy greens. Their facility, which is situated on a 720 acre native restoration property in the Coulee Region of Wisconsin, is now producing Atlantic Salmon for our Meat & Seafood Department.”

Festival Foods also stocks Superior Fresh’s leafy greens.

“We’re thrilled to be the first retailer to sell this incredible product! Fish at Superior Fresh are raised indoors in a recirculating aquaculture system, a method of aquaculture that is the best for the environment and gives growers complete control to create the perfect growing conditions. All Superior Fresh production water is irrigated and does not get discharged to surface waters of the state.

“Six reasons you need to try this delicious fish:

1. They’re grown right here in Wisconsin!

2. They are grown without any antibiotics or pesticides ever. No contaminants or pollutants like you’ll find in the ocean.

3. They’re high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Superior Fresh received the Highest Sustainability Ranking of “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

5. The fish are fed an organic diet.

6. Amazing flavor!”

https://www.festfoods.com/blog/wisconsin-based-aquaponics-facility-superior-fresh-producing-atlantic-salmon-festival-foods

9th-Grade STEM Presentation: One Step Closer to Mars with Aquaponics

Click here to watch the full video: One Step Closer to Mars with Aquaponics.

Last year at the Putting Down Roots conference, 9th-graders from Meadow Park Middle School presented their NASA-sponsored aquaponics research to a crowd of the world’s top aquaponics experts. Their presentation displayed aquaponics potential for STEM education.

STEM Aquaponics is one of the four learning tracks this September 21-23 in Hartford, CT at the Putting Up Shoots conference. STEM educators from across the country will share their stories of how they integrated aquaponics into their STEM programs. Also checkout our STEM & Community Putting Up Shoots discount rate.

 

 

STEM Education & Community Aquaponics Discount

The Putting Up Shoots conference needs to be accessible for STEM Education and Community aquaponics growers if it’s going to live up to its name. Growers of all shapes and sizes need to be part of the conversation: how do we break down barriers and grow more of our food with aquaponics?

That’s why the Aquaponics Association is implementing the Putting Up Shoots STEM Education & Community Aquaponics Discount, click the link for more details and application information.

Aquaponic Atlantic Salmon are first-ever grown on US soil and harvested commercially for US customers

Superior Fresh of Wisconsin celebrated July 4th by taking one giant leap for the U.S. economy: their Atlantic Salmon became the first ever grown on U.S. soil and harvested commercially!

Superior Fresh’s Atlantic salmon have some of the highest omega-3’s compared to all other salmon, were raised with minimal environmental impacts, are fed an organic diet, and have never received antibiotics or pesticides!

The U.S. imports over NINETY PERCENT of the seafood we consume.  We need more local aquaculture.

With aquaponics, Superior Fresh uses the waste stream from the salmon to also produce the highest-quality leafy greens. This is a win-win situation for our environment and the economy.

The Story of STEM Aquaponics at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

By Kevin Savage

Aquaponics at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA) in Ohio had humble beginnings – it began as a 3-week module in an agriculture unit of an environmental science elective course.  Under the guidance of two commercial aquaponic-growers, the first small aquaponic system was constructed in a CHCA classroom in November 2011, using a repurposed aquarium and recycled 2-liter bottles.  Students of Kevin Savage and Gary Delanoy completed construction of the system.

During the following academic year, aquaponics became a significant component of the Environmental Science I & II course sequence.  Over the next three years, as many as six different aquaponic systems were operating at any given time, and included student-built media bed, deep-water culture, nutrient film, and vertical tower systems.

 

In January 2018, the aquaponics program moved into a new 4,000 square foot on-campus greenhouse.  The greenhouse, with its attached 2,000 square foot classroom and laboratory facilities, is now the home for classroom instruction, student & faculty research, and a 3600-gallon DWC production growing system.

Since the beginning, lesson plans were modified from activities provided by other educators or found online, or were created by Savage and Delanoy.  Their lesson plans and activities have covered several scientific disciplines: biology, botany, chemistry, and even physics.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, Savage and Delanoy began teaching aquaponics using an Engineering Design Process (EDP) approach.  This iterative or cyclical approach to problem solving allows students to utilize and build on their “scientific method” skills, while solving practical problems associated with designing and building small-scale aquaponics systems in a classroom or greenhouse setting.  Teaching with this approach requires that the students develop mastery of basic science concepts associated with aquaponics, the technology integrated into even the smallest of systems, and the engineering principles (and required math skills) needed to complete a successful design under given constraints.  In short, the engineering design process approach provides the opportunity to include STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) education as the basis for a hands-on course, such as “Introduction to Aquaponics.”

Since the 2016-2017 academic year, Savage and Delanoy have relied heavily on the “Small-Scale Aquaponic Food Production” UN-FAO technical manual as their primary “textbook” for their students.  They have developed STEM-focused lecture, assessment, and lab-type activities using the content of this document.  Lesson plans are reviewed and modified each year, and work is ongoing to correlate these lesson plans and activities with curriculum standards (notably, the Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS).

Kevin Savage also serves as Secretary of the Aquaponics Association. Kevin will be presenting about the CHCA’s progress at the Putting Up Shoots conference this September 21-23 in Hartford, CT. He’ll answer your questions about growing STEM aquaponics at your institution.

Take a look at our conference page for more information
on how you can attend or become a presenter

YOU are the next great aqua-pioneer!

The Putting Up Shoots conference is coming up this September 21-23 in Hartford, CT.

Last year in Portland, Oregon we caught two aquaponic trail-blazers – Murray Hallam and Nick Savidov – having a personal chat… probably about nitrification rates or Oreochromis niloticus.

Murray and Nick are back again this year, but we need YOU to make the conference truly special. We need a wide range of engaging sessions from all perspectives to make the most impact.

Click here to Submit a Presentation Proposal.

We have four contiguous learning tracks so there is room for everybody to share their aquaponics knowledge: Commercial Aquaponics; Community Aquaponics; STEM Aquaponics, and Aquaponics Research & Food Safety.

ALL digital presentations will be shared electronically to conference attendees and Association members, so your presentation will be put to good use and become part of our digital archive.

We’d love to learn from you this September!

 

Speaker Spotlight: Nick Savidov, Lethbridge College

The Development of the First Zero-Waste Food Production System Based on Aquaponics

Putting Up Shoots 2018 Conference Presentation

Aquaponics is an integrated fish and plant system that recirculates liquid fish effluent. However, while
research on aquaponics has grown, research into utilizing both liquid and solid waste is limited. In 2015,
Lethbridge College received a $2.1 M NSERC CCI-IE grant to advance commercial integrated fish and
plant systems. As part of this project, Lethbridge College developed a technology that is not only
capable of utilizing liquid fish effluent, but which can convert solid waste into soluble organic fertilizer
using an aerobic fermentation process. This technology is built on the success of prior research done by Alberta Agriculture scientists from 2005 to 2015. Utilization of both liquid and solid waste streams in aquaponics is a promising breakthrough for in-land aquaculture. Moreover, it establishes aquaponics as an example of true zero-waste technology in agriculture. This paper will discuss the potential of aerobic digestion along with the complete waste management process cycle in commercial aquaponics including dewatering, pre-filtration, micro-filtration and biofiltration components.

Aqua-nerds love graphs like this!

 

 

Speaker Spotlight: Rob Torcellini, Bigelow Brook Farm

(Photo Credit: Douglas Healey for The New York Times)

Rob Torcellini is hosting a stop on the Husky-Ponics Tour and moderating an “Ask the Experts” panel discussion

By Kevin Savage

Mention the name “Rob Torcellini” or “Bigelow Brook Farm” in a gathering of aquapons, and ask folks what they think of first.  The comments are varied, and reflect Rob’s involvement and engagement in aquaponics over the past decade, and in the Aquaponics Association since its inception.  In no particular order, Rob is known as:

  • One of only a handful of members to be active in the Association since the first conference in Orlando in September 2011;
  • The guy who designed his own geodesic dome greenhouse using Russian CAD software, and then fabricated nearly all of his own structural pieces and built the greenhouse himself;
  • The guy who designed and built his own rocket mass heater to provide heat to his geodesic dome greenhouse;
  • The guy who designed, and used 3-D printing technology to “print” a bell siphon, and then demonstrated the siphon to the attendees at the 2017 “Putting Down Roots” conference last November in Portland, Oregon;
  • The producer of a myriad of YouTube videos (nearly 240!) documenting just about every conceivable thing that there is to document related to raising fish and growing plants using aquaponics;
  • One of the friendliest and most personable members of the aquaponics community.

In addition to being an aquaponics grower, Rob also designs, manufactures, and distributes products for the aquaponics industry.  Over the past decade, Rob has opened Bigelow Brook Farm for an ongoing virtual farm tour, and has shared his experiences with aquaponics, including all of the challenges that come with being an aquaponics grower in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6A.  Rob’s latest project at Bigelow Brook Farm is construction of a new large greenhouse (and yes, he’s building it himself) to contain a new aquaponic production system.  As is Rob’s approach to any new project, he has been video-documenting just about every step of the process, from site preparation to installation of the supporting hoops to floor placement & leveling to covering the hoops to enclose the structure.  His videos provide his technical basis and reasoning behind many of his decisions along the way; mixed in are personal anecdotes that include successes, as well as the occasional item that didn’t turn out quite like Rob wanted or expected.

Those attending the Putting Up Shoots 2018 Aquaponics Association Conference in Hartford, and participating in the conference’s Husky-Ponics Friday Tour program will have the opportunity to meet Rob, and to see first-hand all of the features that make up Bigelow Brook Farm, including the now-famous geodesic dome greenhouse, as well as the new larger greenhouse and its new aquaponics system.