The Nutmeg-Ponics Tour

We named our Saturday tour in honor of the great state hosting our conference: Connecticut, the humble “Nutmeg State”.

Saturday, September 22 8:30 – 12:00pm

Farm A: Trifecta Ecosystems, Meriden, CT

Farm B: Keney Park Sustainability Project, Hartford, CT

Trifecta Ecosystems

Trifecta Ecosystems is Connecticut’s leader in aquaponics technology and the controlled environment agriculture industry. Based out of Meriden, CT, Trifecta’s mission is to cultivate The City that Feeds Itself™. We’re creating incentives for communities to grow their own food while raising awareness about sustainable farming through education, workshops, and city projects. Trifecta’s line of aquaponics systems gives schools, organizations, and community groups the tools they need to contribute to their local food system, while benefiting the education, therapy, and skill-training sectors in a meaningful way.

Website: http://trifectaecosystems.com/

Keney Sustainability Park

The Keney Park Sustainability Project (KPSP) intends to create the next generation of healthy, productive and environmentally conscious citizens. Our mission is to provide hands-on training, on-site demonstrations, education outreach and community collaborations that help families become more self-sustainable and environmentally conscious, while preserving the historic Keney Park.

Website: http://www.keneyparksustainability.org/

Also check out the Husky-Ponics tour on Friday!

Get your Putting Up Shoots tix today!

Learning Track: Aquaponics Research & Food Safety

One of our four learning tracks at the September Putting Up Shoots conference is Aquaponics Research & Food Safety.

Aquaponics is a practice that dates back thousands of years, but we’ve barely begun to harness its full potential. The Conference will bring together the top aquaponics researchers from all over the world to discuss the latest developments and identify the next areas of progress.

The Conference will feature interactive sessions to make the latest science accessible and practical to growers of all sizes.

And importantly: aquaponics will not make it far unless we can comply with the latest food safety regulations. The Conference will provide a venue so that we can develop the common standards we need to grow, and a unified message to food safety regulators. Save your spot: https://aaasociation.wpengine.com/2018-conference/

Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Aquaculture/Aquaponics in Brazil

July 16, 2018

The Aquaculture Center of The Sao Paulo State University, Caunesp (Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil) offers TWO Post-Doctoral fellowships funded by FAPESP. The selected candidates should have completed their Ph.D. less than seven years before the application deadline, should not hold any employment/job relationship as the fellowship requires full time dedication to the research project. Both candidates will conduct research and related activities on AQUAPONICS systems through the development of the project “CITYFOOD – Smart integrated multitrophic city food production systems – a water and energy saving approach for global urbanization” (Belmont Forum 11205864 and FAPESP 2017/50431 -9).

Applications should be forwarded to the project coordinator Prof. Dr. Maria Celia Portella 

(portella@caunesp.unesp.br and aquaponic.sugi.br@outlook.com) and must contain the following:

-An updated Curriculum Vitae (CV Lattes for Brazilians)

-A copy of the Ph.D. thesis (.pdf)

-A motivation letter with a clear indication of the position of interest (please, see below)

-Two letters of recommendation

-English proficiency is highly desirable, given the multi-institutional and international character of the project, involving institutions and researchers from Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, the United States and Brazil.

The application deadline is August 15, 2018. Please, contact the project coordinator if you have any questions or wish to receive further details of the project.

Position 1: Ph.D. on Animal Sciences, Agriculture, Aquaculture or Biology. Candidates should have experience on installation and management of aquaponics systems, hydroponics or recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS). The successful candidate will be responsible for the installation and maintenance of the Living Lab at Caunesp for aquaponics production as well as conducting experiments in the Living Lab.

Position 2: Ph.D. on Social Sciences, Economics or Aquaculture. Candidates should have experience on socio-economic assessments applied to aquaculture. The successful candidate will develop activities related to the economic and social aspects of the project, including: economic analysis of the project and the Brazilian aquaponic production, evaluation of the social impacts of the project, supporting the aquaponic productions carried out in the Living Lab, and the dissemination of technology generated.

Both fellows will receive a FAPESP Post-Doctoral Fellowship stipend in the amount of (R$ 7,174.80 per month (~ U$ 1,910), plus a research contingency fund equivalent to 15% of the annual value of the fellowship stipend, which should be spent in items directly related to the research project. More information about the FAPESP Postdoctoral Fellowship is available at www.fapesp.br/en/5427.

 

 

Aquaponics Conference is at The Hilton

We’re so excited to host the 2018 “Putting Up Shoots” Aquaponics Association Conference at the Hilton Hartford in Hartford, CT!

This gorgeous venue will host all of our sessions, breakout groups, happy hours, and guests from near and far, making it easy to see every speaker and network all weekend long!

Stay at the Hilton and experience spacious, comfortable guest rooms with beautiful views of the city, innovative bistro dining, a gym and indoor pool, and so much more!

Located in the heart of Hartford, CT. Just steps away from many things to do in the evening after a fun day at the conference.

We have set up a block of rooms at a special rate at The Hilton Hartford.

Book your room today !

Speaker Spotlight: Spencer Curry

Bridging Vision Into Reality: How To Apply Both To Your Aquaponics Venture, The Right Way

 

Putting Up Shoots Conference Commercial Aquaponics Speaker Presentation
September 21-23, 2018  —  Hartford, CT

Spencer Curry  CEO and co-founder of Trifecta Ecosystems.

Trifecta Ecosystems is Connecticut’s leader in aquaponics technology in the controlled environment agriculture industry. With extensive experience in aquaponics, Spencer and his team are working to cultivate the City that Feeds Itself™ in Meriden, CT and beyond by revealing hidden incentives for communities to grow their own food while raising awareness about sustainable farming. Under his leadership, Trifecta has secured $2 million in funding from the Regional Water Authority of New Haven, has built out a 3,500 sq. ft. indoor urban farm, is working with clients in the education, I/DD, and community development spaces, and has won a number of prestigious awards. Outside of the farm, you can find Spencer hiking (probably with his dog Gabe), listening to audiobooks, and sending weird memes on Instagram.

 

Presentation Overview:

There’s a little secret about the commercial aquaponics industry that you may not know – it doesn’t really exist yet. However, there are many markets and consumer groups that you may have never thought of that need aquaponics right here, right now. Dive into the future of aquaponics with Spencer Curry, CEO and co-founder of Connecticut’s own Trifecta Ecosystems, and discover the difference between vision and reality, and how both can be used to benefit each other when growing in the commercial aquaponics industry.

We’ll explore the mission behind the City that Feeds Itself™ and take an in-depth look into sectors that are spending on aquaponics right now – helping you to make a solid plan for your business while staying true to your vision. Don’t miss out on this session that will force you to think outside the farm!

Vendor Spotlight: Stalite Environmental

Stalite specializes in engineered growing media blends and will be making a presence at this years conference as one of our vendors.


STALITE is the world’s leading manufacturer of expanded slate lightweight aggregate. STALITE Environmental uses the best lightweight aggregate in the world which they blend with other quality natural products to create custom mixes that meet the highest standards for each application.

Take a look at the specifications for our Aquaponics Blends: Stalite 3-4 Side Aquaponic _7-10-2018 (1)

 

Stalite Lightweight Expanded Slate Aggregate Media
-Manufactured in North Carolina
-Strongest Lightweight Aggregate Available
-50% Additional Surface Area 
-Sterile, Inert
-Available in Several Gradations
-They can ship material anywhere
Check out Stalite at our 2018 Putting Up Shoots Conference. 

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

STEM Speaker Spotlight: Kevin Savage, PhD

The Use of an Engineering Design Process Model to Teach STEM Principles Using Aquaponics

Putting Up Shoots Conference STEM Speaker Presentation
September 21-23, 2018  —  Hartford, CT

Currently a high school AP Environmental Science and Sustainable Agriculture (Aquaponics / Hydroponics) instructor at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kevin Savage has a PhD in Quaternary Geology, and 14 years of experience in the environmental and construction engineering fields. This is his 14th year teaching high school, and his eighth year using aquaponics as a dynamic model for classroom instruction and student research.

Some of his past student research focused on flow dynamics in deep-water culture grow beds in aquaponic systems, and the use of air bubble curtains and thermal stratification to direct flow of nutrient-rich water in a grow bed. Current student research is focused on plant production rate differences in coupled and decoupled aquaponics grow beds, and microbiome differences in root masses of plants grown in coupled and decoupled grow beds.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to interact with someone that has been involved in STEM education using aquaponics. Sign up today for this year’s Putting Up Shoots Conference 

Take a look at some of the other Speakers we will be having at the conference this year. 

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.

Speaker Spotlight: Ryan Chatterson, Aquaponic Engineering and Design

Finding Profitability In An Ever-Changing Aquaponic Landscape
Putting Up Shoots Conference Presentation
September 21-23, 2018  —  Hartford, CT

With 16 years of experience in the Aquaponic industry as well as being the proud owner of a profitable Aquaponic farm, Ryan Chatterson will discuss several ways for the everyday Aquaponic Farmer to find profitability. Attendees will learn:

  • what questions to ask before even starting your designs;
  • how farm scale dictates the markets you will be selling into (as well as the crops to grow);
  • what it costs to get into the business; and
  • what is takes to jump out of the red and into the green permanently

Profitable Aquaponic farming is a reality everyone can achieve given the proper foresight and planning!

Check out the gorgeous aquaponic tomatoes from Ryan’s farm! Somebody find some fresh basil, mozzarella, a pinch of coarse salt, and a splash of balsamic vinegar ASAP!

            

The Husky-Ponics Tour!

Come take the Husky-Ponics Tour with us! September 21, 2018 at the Putting Up Shoots Conference we’ll be visiting two aquaponic farms deep in Husky territory: the University of Connecticut Spring Valley Student Farm, and Rob Torcellini’s Bigelow Brook Farm. Find more info at this link: The Husky-Ponics Tour

International Aquaponics Conference Coming To Hartford, CT this September

MEDIA ADVISORY

June 18, 2018

Contact: Brian Filipowich
203-922-2497
info@aquaponicsassociation.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

International Aquaponics Conference Coming to Hartford, CT this September

WHO: The Aquaponics Association

WHAT: Putting Up Shoots; Annual Aquaponics Conference

This three-day conference will feature: the top aquaponics experts from around the world; tours of commercial aquaponics operations; a vendor showroom with the latest aquaponics technology; live builds and hands-on demonstrations; and interactive discussions and social events for aquaponics growers of all stripes to collaborate.

The Conference will feature four learning tracks: Commercial Aquaponics; Community Aquaponics; Aquaponics Research & Food Safety; and Aquaponics in STEM Education

WHEN: September 21-23, 2018

WHERE: Hilton Hartford Hotel, Hartford, CT

WHY: The Aquaponics Association’s annual conference is to advance the practice of aquaponics by connecting growers, researchers and enthusiasts from around the world.

BACKGROUND: Aquaponics is method of cultivating fish and plants in an efficient, water-based system. It has the potential to greatly decrease the toll of agriculture on our environment, stimulate local economic growth anywhere, and improve our health through better access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish.

Last year in Portland, Oregon the Aquaponics Association’s annual conference theme was Putting Down Roots, where we had over 250 guests from over 10 countries. This year we are crossing the country for Putting Up Shoots, signifying the next step of our practice’s growth.

The Conference will unite guests from all corners of the aquaponics practice, including: growers, aquaculture professionals, equipment suppliers, teachers, students, researchers, regulators, policy-makers, investors, chefs and more.

This collaborative event will identify how we can work together to overcome barriers and grow more of our food with aquaponics.

Link to Putting Up Shoots Conference Homepage

Important New Economic Agriculture Report

This new TEEB report is kinda nerdy, but if you are an aquaponic grower it’s vitally important.

TEEB (“The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity”) is a global initiative focused on “making nature’s values visible”. They have just released their latest report; Scientific and Economic Foundations.

Here’s the problem the report addresses: our current food system is loaded with invisible costs: 1) health care costs from pesticide use; 2) antibiotic resistance from rampant antibiotic use in our meat; 3) excessive water use; 4) aquatic dead zones from agricultural runoff; 5) excessive carbon use for food transport; 6) biodiversity loss from clearing land to feed a growing population, etc etc etc…

Here’s one specific example: a forest provides value to every human being: 1) it filters water; 2) it prevents erosion; 3) it sequesters carbon and releases oxygen; and 4) it preserves biodiversity which prevents against infestation, disease, and extinctions which could irreparable harm our entire ecosystem.

So if a large industrial grower clears 1,000 acres of forest to grow more corn, who is paying for this loss of value? Somebody else, or future generations.

In our “free market” form of capitalism, these costs should be taken into account and built into the cost of production. But because these costs are hard to quantify and evaluate, we simply ignore them and stick our heads in the sand like a flock of ostriches.

TEEB is the world’s leading effort to actually put a pricetag on these costs.

As aquaponic growers, we are able to grow the most fruits, vegetables, and fish with the absolute minimum resources necessary. And we can do it without pesticides, without antibiotics and without agricultural runoff. And we can do it local no matter where you are, from cities to deserts, from rooftops to warehouses.

In our “free market” economy, we need to put a price tag on hidden costs in order for aquaponic growers to fully monetize their efficiency.

Can you imagine how much aquaponics would grow if our economy started to charge the true cost of water, carbon, antibiotics, pesticides, deforestation, agricultural runoff, etc? The price of the industrially produced lettuce from 1,000 miles away would go way up, but the aquaponic-grower from your hometown could deliver it without an increase.

This TEEB report is a critical step in that direction.

 

 

Call for Conference Presentations

My name is Kemp and I am Co-Chair for the annual Aquaponics Association conference this September in Hartford, CT.

The word is out! We have some incredible things happening at the organization right now! We have a fully staffed board from all across the country and from all walks of life. We have instituted weekly board calls to bring the Association into compliance and to create a better user experience for our members. In continuing to build on our first quarter success the board has set it’s sights on the yearly Conference and we are actively building out the content that will drive this event.

It is our hope that in delivering a top-tier conference, that we can substantially move Aquaponics forward as a respected, sustainable, and replicable medium.

Are you a commercial grower with a specialty crop?

Are you a STEM teacher with incredible students?

Are you a backyard hobbyist with a great story to tell?

Are you a researcher with groundbreaking aquaponic technology?

We hope to bring the best speakers and ideas to the front this year and we would love to hear from you!

Please submit a proposal if you are a speaker that may be a benefit to our industry or know of someone that would be a great addition to our conference.

CLICK HERE to submit a proposal

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and please visit our website!

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kemp Bromberg
Putting Up Shoots Conference Co-Chair
Executive Board Member, Aquaponics Association

Carlos Leon; Development of Bio-Engineering for Commercial Aquaponics

Carlos Leon of Acuaponia will discuss the Development of Bio-Engineering for Commercial Aquaponics this September at the Putting Up
Shoots conference. Carlos operates commercial farms in Mexico, and is one of several international speakers at the conference.
Design criteria for aquaponic systems have evolved over the past several years. At first, the focus was just fish and plants. But now, new hybrid systems use biotechnology to incorporate other products.
Carlos will discuss the commercial production of shrimp and algae in aquaponic systems; and the newest technologies that make this possible.
He’ll be presenting in the Commercial Aquaponics learning track. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to hear about speakers from the Community Aquaponics, STEM Aquaponics, and Aquaponics Research & Food Safety learning tracks.

 

Ken Armstrong; Putting Up Shoots Speaker Spotlight

This September at the Putting Up Shoots conference, Ken Armstrong from Ouroboros Farms will talk about his experience on the front-lines of the aquaponics industry in his presentation, “The Future of Aquaponics Is Now”.

Ken will highlight the history of commercial aquaponics and the Aquaponics Association over the last 6+ years. He’ll also talk about the next frontier of industry growth, aquaponics business ideas, and the proven Ouroboros business model.
Participants will hear what it takes to run a commercial farm, how to approach restaurants, and more about the educational opportunities we provide in both aquaponics and general agricultural methods.
Ken is also interested in how we can all work together to ensure that aquaponics has a bight and profitable future… Teamwork!

2018 Aquaponics Association Conference Speakers

Our 2018 Annual Aquaponics Association Conference is getting filled with exciting speakers. This years Putting Up Shoots conference has a great line up ready for you to enjoy and learn from.

Take a look at the list of speakers we have lined up for you this year.

Nick Savidov

Murray Hallam

Ryan Chatterson

Angela TenBroeck

Ken Armstrong

Carlos Leon

Arvind Venkat

As we continue to confirm more names we will add them to our list. We will also be releasing short video clips from last year’s conference so you can get a preview on what to expect this year.

If there are any speakers that you really would like to see please send us an email to ensure they are present at the conference.

 

Ensure your spot today!

News on Food Safety Modernization Act 2018

One of our Association members has taken the time to create this useful document to give our members an introduction to the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2018 (FSMA). It will affect commercial growers in a different degrees based on gross income.

We will continue to follow this act and how it will affect our members. Juli Ogden from the Farm Plan will be creating follow up documents that we will post on our website. You as a member will have special access these documents as a member benefit.

Join as a member today to get access to documents like this.

Aquaponics History in the Making!

Aquaponics History in the Making!

To date, collaborative aquaponics work in Europe has been conducted under the umbrella of the EU Aquaponics Hub of the European COST program which is coming to an end this year. Practitioners needed a new organization to continue collaborating and sought the advice of the Aquaponics Association of the U.S.

At the end of the conference the top brains got together to plan the next step, and the EU Aquaponics Association was born!

The attendees appointed Ragnheidur Thorarinsdottir from the University of Iceland to be the initial chair of the Association.

 

When the day was over we gathered to celebrate, and the EU growers proved they can party just as well as us in the U.S.

Many attendees of the EU conference expressed interest in attending the U.S. conference in Hartford, CT this September 21-23. Last year in Portland, OR we had representatives from over 10 countries, maybe we can beat that this year in Hartford?

Get your tickets today!

 

From Science to Practice

I had the pleasure last week of attending and being a panelist at the EU Aquaponics Hub conference: “From Science to Practice”.

The conference brought together top aquaponics practitioners and researchers from around the world to discuss how to move our practice forward; both in terms of system efficiency and commercial success.

One interesting observation: in Europe aquaponics is driven more by research institutions, whereas in the U.S. it is more from personal “backyard” growers and budding commercial operations.

Also attending from the U.S. were Janelle Hager from Kentucky State University and Ryan Chatterson from Chatterson Farms.

Janelle discussed research trends in the U.S and Ryan presented the most current developments in commercial aquaponics. On my panel we discussed how to quantify and account for the efficiency of aquaponics in our current economic system.

Other notable presentations were from Austin Stankus of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, who discussed how aquaponics is overcoming barriers and being adopted at all levels around the globe; and from Faris Farrag, Manager of Bustan Aquaponics, a large commercial enterprise in Egypt.

Let us continue to collaborate with our friends across the pond!

Annual Conference Tickets on Sale for Association Members

 

Mark your calendar and buy your tickets today!

We have our early bird special open now for our members. Login to the member area and get access to this limited time savings for our conference.

This ticket includes access to the 3 day conference, access to our vendor and sponsors, 3 breakfasts and lunches, our banquet dinner, and 2 tour passes.

Don’t miss out on this incredible deal.  Click here!

 

Aquaponics Association Makes an Appearance at Aquaculture America

 

The three day Aquaculture America Trade show gave us an opportunity to come face to face with some of our current and future members. Thank you to all that stopped by the booth. We had a great turn out and are looking forward to seeing you all at our annual conference coming up in Hartford, CT. Keep a look out for exact dates and prices.

NC State Aquaponics Course March 7

North Carolina State University is hosting the annual North Carolina Aquaculture Conference in a few weeks. This year they are including a pre-conference aquaponics workshop on March 7. The Workshop features aquaponic experts Bradley Todd (Lucky Clay’s Fresh) and Huy Tran (Apopka Aquaponic Farms).

Find more information and signup here: https://jones.ces.ncsu.edu/2018/02/aquaponics-short-course/

Aquaponics Association Making a Presence at Aquaculture America

POSTED BY CLAUDIA ANDRACKI

The Aquaponics Association will have a booth at Aquaculture America in Las Vegas this coming week. Stop by and talk to one of our Directors and members that will be available to answer questions about the association. You will also have an opportunity to sign up as a member of the association with a special discount if you stop by our booth.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Reaching for Space!

POSTED BY CLAUDIA ANDRACKI

During our annual conference (Putting Down Roots) in Portland, OR, we had the privilege to have students from Meadow Park Middle School present their project on aquaponics and they have received the attention of NASA.

https://spacescience.arc.nasa.gov

Their video presentation can be seen on:

“One Step Closer to Mars With Aquaponics” on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/253348616?ref=em-share

Our team has worked hard to edit and make this video available for you.

USDA Reconfirms Organic Eligibility of Aquaponics

POSTED BY BRIAN FILIPOWICH

From the USDA 1/25/18:

“At its Fall 2017 public meeting, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) heard significant testimony about hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic operations. Given the extensive debate on this topic, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is posting this notice to clarify the status of these systems.

“Certification of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic operations is allowed under the USDA organic regulations, and has been since the National Organic Program began. For these products to be labeled as organic, the operation must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent, and maintain compliance with the USDA organic regulations.

“The NOSB has recommended prohibiting aeroponic systems in organic production. USDA will consider this recommendation; aeroponics remains allowed during this review.”

Ryan’s Aquaponic Trailer

POSTED BY BRIAN FILIPOWICH

Putting Down Roots Journal #5

A highlight of the Putting Down Roots conference was Ryan Crist’s aquaponic trailer in the vendor showroom.

This trailer holds a fully functional aquaponic system complete with pumps, fans, sensors, and controllers for automation. It has minimal power needs due to a battery bank and renewable energy sources.

Ryan built the aquaponic trailer with a “Best Prototype” grant for a system able to grow plants in arid climates.

Growing Community in Oklahoma

Putting Down Roots Journal #4

By Andres Kwart

Kaben Smallwood gave a heart-felt speech at the Putting Down Roots conference that left me (and those around me) with feelings of awe and inspiration. His views on community, education, and sustainability are extremely positive and necessary in modern day American society.

Part Native American, Kaben carries his beliefs about the “7th generation” into his everyday life. He believes in triple bottom line companies, which better the community and the Earth and still make a profit. His company, Symbiotic Aquaponic, has created opportunities in so many Oklahoma communities, like the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Kiowa Public Schools. In fact, Kaben and his brother, Shelby, have received offers to install their systems in numerous academic and social communities within Oklahoma, and have continued to spread around the country. It’s no coincidence that this company became popular quickly; they care about educating their customers before selling to them, they provide excellent customer service, and they design solid aquaponic systems. Kudos to these guys, and I hope they continue to prosper and spread their systems around the world.

Putting Down Aquaponic Roots Into the Food System

Putting Down Roots Journal #3

By Brandon Youst
Bootstrap Farmer

The highlight of the Putting Down Roots conference, in my mind, was a panel led by Lyf Gildersleeve of Flying Fish Company and Andre Uribe, Executive Chef at Bon Appetit and Willamette University.  They shared these tips to help commercial aquaponic growers:

  • Make logistics easy for the chefs and your customers in all ways that you can. Simple payment systems, simple packaging, bunching for easy processing, and if appropriate- washed and clean produce.

 

  • If you plan on working with any large distributor, you’ll very likely find yourself needing/wanting to get an organic certification so you can get the wholesale prices you’ll need for a premium product.
  • Chefs and procurement managers will pay more for produce, but only if the QUALITY and STORY is there. Consumers want fresh, local produce, but not if it looks like crap.  They also want to know where it came from, and even want to know who you are and what you’re about.  Technology is allowing consumers looking to connect with their farmers and your story is how you, or the chefs cooking with your produce, can do that.

I SAW THESE AS THE CRITICAL FACTORS NEEDED TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL AQUAPONICS BUSINESS:

  1. EDUCATION
    It’s never been ‘easier’ to start an aquaponics business than it is now.  Not to say it’s easy, because it’s not, BUT at least now we have proven systems you can learn from.  It’s obvious to everyone in the industry that the biggest failures come from those who haven’t taken the time to learn from others that have done it before.  YouTube learning does not count here.  If you’re not willing to invest $1000-$5000 to educate yourself via on farm-trainings and direct consulting, you definitely shouldn’t start an aquaponics business.  In fact, that principle applies to MOST serious business endeavors
  2. NICHE PRODUCT
    Businesses everywhere are being built on providing an ever deeper array of niche products.  Aquaponics is perfect to meet this desire.  From a unique way to source fish, grow tomatoes, cannabis or specialty herbs, the possibilities are endless. Why try and compete with everyone else for the same product?  Aquaponics allows you to market an endless variety of products, standing apart from your competition.
  3. RELATIONSHIPS
    Aquaponics is unique and you are unique.  We can connect with customers in ways that large corporations will never be able to match.  By connecting with your customers with an authentic human experience, you’ll be engaging in a relationship that won’t have the price as the most important concern.  This applies to all businesses but it’s especially true for farmers – the relationships you build with those such as chefs or CSA customers are absolutely critical to your business.
  4. LOCAL MARKET STRATEGY
    This is highly important and perhaps not discussed enough, even though it seems obvious.  Your. Local. Market. Matters.  It really should determine the rest of your approach before you spend a dime.  Know your market BEFORE you start an aquaponics business.  What works for Ryan Chatterson is not what would work for Tanya Sawyer because their markets are completely different.  Understand that first, and plan the rest around what’s possible within the limitations (or possibilities) in your particular market.  Clearly, aquaponics can work anywhere, so it’s not really about whether aquaponics is viable, it’s about strategy and execution.

THOUGHTS ON STARTING AN AQUAPONICS BUSINESS

I think most commercial aquaponic farmers will agree with the following advice:

You’ve got a real opportunity here, but, start small and learn first.  Your first batch of fish will have a premature death.  Only once you’re dialed in on your home system should you even consider thinking you’re ready to go commercial.  Even with that, it’s crucial to leverage the skills and systems from those who’ve done it successfully.  Don’t reinvent the wheel.  There will be time to tinker & experiment, but that should be so far secondary to a proven model when starting out.

There are many more topics I touched on that we will explore perhaps in a later post. For now, it feels good to know the industry is being led by many great people doing many amazing things.

Till next time…

Brandon Youst
FounderBootstrap Farmer

(This is the second of two posts from Brandon Youst. Read the entire article here: Putting Down Aquaponic Roots Into the Food System.)

Commercial Thoughts from the Bootstrap Farmer

Putting Down Roots Journal #2

By Brandon Youst
Bootstrap Farmer

My visit to the 2017 Putting Down Roots Aquaponics Association Conference in Portland Oregon has me thinking about a few things…

Many of us on the ‘outside’ of the aquaponics industry have been wondering when (or if) this method of growing is ever going to hit the mainstream consumer market in a big way.

I had more basic questions I still didn’t have fully answered – ‘Was aquaponics currently viable on a small to medium scale?  Is the idea of the mom and pop aquaponics shop realistic?’  

Not just that, but I wanted to find PROFITABLE aquaponic businesses running for several years WITHOUT relying on farm tours for income.   And by no means is this a shot at those that do tours & education, but, in order to be replicable & scalable to thousands of new farm entrepreneurs, it needs to PROVE it can work without tours/education in SOME locations first.

Over time, we (as in ‘the market’) will find the models that work in comparable local economies. Only then can we rinse and repeat these systems in the way all franchises do.  Once a model can be proven with relative success, wider access to business loans for an aquaponic farm will become available, then boom- the industry takes off.

THE CONFERENCE…

We got to see both a budding and an established farm in the morning, and got to learn from industry leaders during afternoon breakout sessions.  Equally as interesting were the times in between sessions where everyone chatted and shared personal projects and ambitions. Several countries were represented where enthusiasts, business owners and educators involved in variety of projects all had the opportunity to learn from and network with each other.

My first thought about the conference overall is that it’s encouraging to know there are so many good people doing so many great things.  There is clearly a legion of aquaponic teachers around the world that are establishing themselves as skilled mentors teaching the next generation of farmers.  While the industry isn’t as far along as I would’ve hoped it would be in a commercial/mainstream sense, that’s only perhaps due to my impatience from knowing it’s potential to benefit the world.

High-quality teachers have been running aquaponics training courses for a while now and many of them were on hand (including the great Murray Hallam!). It was pretty obvious to an ‘outsider’ like me, everyone here is doing their bit to get aquaponics commercially thriving to the point where we can see aquaponics farms in all parts of the no matter the local economy.

IS AQUAPONICS TRULY COMMERCIALLY VIABLE?

This is what I was most interested in learning about at this conference, and it did not disappoint. I found examples of businesses working in aquaponics from almost every angle.  Here are just a few examples:

Kaben Smallwood of Symbiotic Aquaponics might be the best example to demonstrate why it takes time to establish a solid aquaponics business in such a young industry.  By repeatedly reinvesting into improving his enclosed system for the last several years, Kaben has been able to develop what has now become a very ingenious simple and scalable aquaponics system for educational or business use.  Now communities all over Oklahoma are now participating in the benefits from his years of tinkering.

Traveling from Canada was Christopher Hatch of the Mississauga Food Bank where, nestled inside the warehouse, is AquaGrow Farms, a 500 square foot urban aquaponic farm.  This awesome organization provides food for over 244,000 meals each month through a network of 48 member agencies.  Aquaponics doesn’t need to be 100% of the equation, but it can certainly be part of it.  Christopher, the leader of this organization, wouldn’t consider himself a ‘farmer’, but what he is able to do, in part by using aquaponics, has allowed him to leverage funding in ways that will have a positive impact on the aquaponics industry and his community far beyond the food bank.

Then there’s Ryan Chatterson of Chatterson Farms, who seems to have nailed the aquaponics business model in his economically stable area and is now scaling it appropriately to his big thinking and big restaurant base outside of the Orlando area.   As well as having proven an almost immediate success in his own locality, he’s spent the last few years helping other aquaponics farmers around the world get established using his proven system.  When one successful business can be replicated into another, this industry can take one giant step towards standardization, making business loans more accessible.

One last example is Tanya Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics, who has been building an aquaponics business in a food desert in Denver, CO for several years now.  In her presentation, she talked about The Growhaus , which has become the model example of how to make aquaponics work, even in one of the most disadvantaged parts of the United States.

Different locations require their own types of relationships and partners. The Growhaus works with the local community in about a hundred different ways, such as utilizing community grants and volunteers.  Tayna’s client base is way different than Ryan’s so she is here showing and telling everyone how it’s done and how to make it work in even some of the toughest situations.  My first real look at an aquaponics business was several years ago at Tanya & JD Sawyers training, which was eye-opening, to say the least. Seeing that as the only example at the time, it felt too risky for me to go commercial and I went a different direction.

(This is the first of two posts from Brandon Youst. Read the entire article here: Putting Down Aquaponic Roots Into the Food System.)

Aquaponics at the Mississauga Food Bank

Putting Down Roots Journal #1

By Andres Kwart

Christopher Hatch and Colin Cotton gave a fantastic presentation at the Putting Down Roots conference on behalf of the Mississauga Food Bank. Located in Canada, Mississauga has a very diverse population that prioritizes fresh, healthy food over heavily processed rubbish.

Colin, a recent college graduate, is a newly acquired member of the Food Bank team. It seems that he has really pulled his weight in terms of getting the Food Bank to produce some of its own food. In charge of the aquaponics operations, Colin has learned a lot in order for the food bank to be more self-reliant.

Christopher is the Executive Director of the Mississauga Food Bank and seems excited and optimistic about the future. A few years ago, Christopher realized the Food Bank needed to start producing its own food, and he soon came across aquaponics and was hooked. He hired Colin and the team has been tackling aquaponics for about year or so, and have recently been toying with the idea of scaling up a great deal. They have started small, learned from professionals, and now they want to expand. How much energy would be required to aquaponically grow fresh lettuce for all food bank recipients? Is it financially worth it?

We hope to see these guys again next year, and perhaps with a more advanced system under their belts. Best of luck to these positive and ambitious members of the Mississauga Food Bank!

Send an Organic Message to Congress

Send a message to your representatives that you support the NOSB’s decision to uphold aquaponics’ and hydroponics’ Organic eligibility.

Click here for a Sample letter to Congress expressing support for the NOSB’s Organic decision

Copy and paste to send them a message

Putting Down Roots Photos

POSTED BY BRIAN FILIPOWICH

We had a great time in Portland, OR last week at the Putting Down Roots Conference. Here’s a large group photo of everyone at the conference, and a photo of the presenters below.

Over 170 guests attended the full three-day conference, and over 50 more attended with single day passes. Over 10 countries were represented.

Stay tuned for content highlights from the conference, as well as an announcement for where we’ll be in Fall 2018!

 

 

NOSB Gives Organic Aquaponics the GREEN Light!

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted 8 to 7 last week to reject proposals that would have banned aquaponics and hydroponics from organic eligibility. The Board did vote to ban aeroponics.

The Aquaponics Association applauds the NOSB’s decision. Aquaponics embodies exactly what consumers expect in their organic produce:

  1. No synthetic pesticides or chemicals;
  2. Resource-efficient and planet-friendly; and
  3. A thriving, diverse microbial root ecosystem.

The NOSB’s decision will usher in a host of benefits to our food system. Aquaponics gives us the ability to eat fresh, local produce even in dense urban areas and arid climates. The organic label will allow commercial aquaponic growers to supply retailers the most local organic food possible.

Aquaponics employs closed-loop, recirculating systems of fish and plants. These systems use over 90% less water than soil farming; do not emit harmful agriculture discharge; and use the minimum resources necessary to grow vibrant, healthy crops.

For consumers, the NOSB’s decision will lead to more accessible, affordable produce as more aquaponic growers enter the organic market. Aquaponics will also foster local economic growth with year-round food production jobs that can never be outsourced.

In short, the NOSB’s decision is a big WIN for our environment, our health, and our economy.

Putting Down Roots Full Schedule

The aquaponics association has released the full Putting Down Roots schedule for the coming conference.

Click here for schedule: 2017 Putting Down Roots Schedule

PORTLAND, Oregon– The Aquaponics Association will kick off Putting Downs Roots – the 2017 national aquaponics conference – on Friday, November 3 at the Red Lion Hotel Conference Center at Jantzen Beach.

The conference will feature three days of aquaponics tours, presentations, discussions, and hands-on demonstrations by the world’s foremost aquaponics experts.

Putting Down Roots is about growing more of our food with aquaponics, the process of raising fish and plants in a synergistic recirculating system. Aquaponic growers intend to become the backbone of local food economies with efficient systems that can be placed anywhere, grow year-round, create jobs, save resources, and make us healthier.

Conference Chair Brian Filipowich stated: “In addition to hands-on applied knowledge, the conference will be a venue for growers to discuss industry issues like USDA organic eligibility, food safety, access to capital, and research needs. Putting Down Roots is about overcoming shared barriers so we can all grow more.”

Putting Down Roots will feature:

  • Over 50 aquaponics presentations across four learning tracks: Commercial Aquaponics, Community Aquaponics, Applied Aquaponic Skills, and Aquaponics in STEM Education;
  • Urban and rural aquaponics tours to commercial aquaponics projects;
  • Panel discussions and Q&A sessions with industry experts;
  • Putting Down Global Roots Banquet;
  • Aquaponics Showroom with commercial and hobbyist booths and demonstrations; and
  • Aquaponics Association members meeting and board votes.

Kate Wildrick, Conference Co-Chair and Director of the Ingenuity Innovation Center in St. Helens, Oregon stated:

“Aquaponics grows more than just food.  It is a very powerful catalyst for building community.   This year’s conference will showcase how individuals, businesses and other industries are actively participating to grow this emerging green industry and the future talent needed to sustain it.  The two-day STEM track will discuss current trends and opportunities for aquaponics in the schools.  We’ll hear from local students about how aquaponics has impacted their lives and create pathways to bring aquaponics to more schools throughout the nation.  Best of all, with our passport options, we have created affordable options for the public to learn more about aquaponics and explore what is happening locally with two tours.”

 

 

 

Aquaponics Association Calls on the NOSB to Retain Our Organic Eligibility

The Aquaponics Association submitted its official comment to the NOSB ahead of the Fall 2017 Meeting, at which it will vote on aquaponics’ organic future. The Association will also deliver web comments later this month. Here is the state of the Association’s Aquaponic and Hydroponic Organic Coalition:

Aquaponics and Hydroponics Organic Coalition Comment for the Fall 2017 NOSB Meeting

The Aquaponic and Hydroponic Organic Coalition recommends that the NOSB allow organic certification of aquaponic and hydroponic (AP/HP) farms that are compliant with USDA organic standards. These farming methods align with the organic mission and the integrity of the organic label stands much to gain by including them.

AP/HP are critical to improving the sustainability of our agricultural system, but revoking organic eligibility would move these industries backwards at a time we must foster their growth.

AP/HP fit the Organic mission. The Organic label is about empowering consumers to identify products that match their values. Consumers do not prefer organic because it is grown in soil; they prefer it because it is pesticide-free, environmentally sustainable, and relies on natural ecosystems for plant growth. So the question is: do AP/HP align with what the consumer expects when they purchase organic? Yes.

“Organic” is perceived by consumers to mean:

-Production without synthetic chemicals. AP/HP do not require synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

-Production that fosters the cycling of resources, ecological balance, and biodiversity conservation. AP/HP can be constructed as closed-loop ecosystems in which only the minimum required water and nutrients are added and with minimal or no discharge. AP/HP have also proven they can produce more food than soil culture per land area, thus saving more of the natural environment from the toll of agriculture.

-Production that relies on biological ecosystems to support plant health. Organic AP/HP production relies on a robust microflora in the root zone—made of the same types and numbers of bacteria and fungi that thrive in soil. This flora converts nutrients into forms available to plants and maintains plant health by reinforcing naturally-occurring mechanisms of disease resistance—just as in a healthy soil. (see attached Soil Food Web Report)

-Production that responds to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices. Consumers expect that organic produce has been grown with a healthy human element, where local customs, expertise, and ingenuity can overcome droughts, concrete jungles, and climate changes. AP/HP allow environmentally-sensitive agriculture where growing in soil isn’t possible.

The benefits of AP/HP include: water savings, reduced nutrient use and fertilizer runoff, shorter supply chains, food safety, and space efficiency.

In an era of climate change, resource depletion, and rapid population growth, the organic price premium is a critical incentive to draw more entrants into this market. If the NOSB revokes AP/HP organic eligibility, these industries will not grow as quickly and our environment, health, and economy will suffer.

AP/HP align with the values of organic that consumers expect, and they are highly sustainable. Rather than placing a greater toll on our environment and health, the NOSB should retain the organic eligibility of aquaponics and hydroponics.

Thank you,
The Aquaponic and Hydroponic Organic Coalition

Members:
Agua Dulce Farm
Anacostia Aquaponics
Aquaberry Gardens
Arbordale Nurseries
Archi’s Institute
Association for Vertical Farming
Austin Aquaponics
Berry Audit Services
Blue Mojo Farm, LLC
Boto Waterworks
Cali Summer Clubs
CC Grow Inc.
CEA Fresh Farms
Center Valley Organics LLC
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
City of Minot North Dakota
NC Simple Life Farms LLC
Downtown Farms and Aquaponics
Edenworks
Evergreens
Fazenda Urbana Inc.
FloppyHatFarms
Fresh Farm Aquaponics, Inc
Freshies Aquaponics
Friendly Aquaponics, Inc
Gateshead Consulting Corporation
Great Lakes Growers LLC
HATponics
Heartland Aquaponics, LLC
Jenoe Group – Hydroponics
JoLi Farms
Joyful J Farms
Kabcao Aquaponics
Laughing Bear Enterprises
Living Justly Industries
Lotus Urban Farm and Garden Supply
Making Seeds 2 Cell
Manas Organic
Marine Science Faculty, Autonomous University of Sinaloa
Moroccan association of hydroponics
Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation
Oko Farms, LLC
Profound Microfarms
Rainsmith Agritech/Aquaponics
Renew Richmond
Re-Nuble
Solar Spice and Tea Trading Company
Springworks Farm
Symbiotic Aquaponic
Synergy Star Events
TerraFirma Aquaponixx
Texas Organic Matters
The Family Fish Farms Network, Inc
Trifecta Ecosystems, Inc
VERDEEN
Verticulture Farms
Windy City Harvest / Chicago Botanic Garden
Yep Yep Organic Farm

Individuals:
Amber C. Monroe
Andrew Carter
Everett L Melton
Imad Jabbour
Ivy Diene
Juan Pablo Pesalaccia
Krishnagopal Sharma
Marc L. Maynard
Matthew Henley
Peter Tyler
Xina Ash

Tentative Putting Down Roots Schedule

The Association has released a tentative schedule for the Putting Down Roots conference November 3-5 in Portland, Oregon.

Click here to see the Putting Down Roots Schedule

We’re starting to get excited!

The NOSB Needs To Hear From Us ASAP

We all need to step up the pressure on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) ahead of the Fall 2017 Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida Oct 31 – Nov 2.
 
There is a distinct chance the NOSB may finally vote and officially revoke the organic eligibility of aquaponic production
1 – Actions you can take NOW
2 – Actions in the coming weeks
Within a few weeks, the NOSB will release 1) the transcript of the August 14 Crops Subcommittee call on which they discussed the proposals for organic aquaponics and hydroponics; and 2) the official proposal and meeting materials that will guide the debate and vote at the Fall Meeting.
Once the NOSB releases these documents we will produce a full comment letter responding specifically to the proposal, and send this letter with all Aquaponic and Hydroponic Organic Coalition members signed on. We will forward you a copy of the comment and you can also submit your own or pass it along to others.
3 – Background on this issue

After three days of discussion in April, the National Organic Standards Board deferred deciding on the Organic eligibility of bioponic farming methods, including aquaponics. The NOSB will continue studying the issue and revisit it at the Fall 2017 meeting.

For the time being, water-based production is still eligible for Organic certification. The primary reason for the deferral was the lack of consensus on both the definitions of various bioponic methods and the interpretation of “Organic” by consumers and farmers alike.

Unfortunately, reports indicate that at the August 14, 2017 NOSB Crops Subcommittee conference call, the subcommittee is leaning toward revoking our organic eligibility.

Read a summary of the Spring 2017 Meeting

Tawnya’s Experience With The National Organic Standards Board

By Tawnya Sawyer

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) had their Spring 2017 meeting in April at the Denver Sheraton Conference Center (coincidently the same venue as the 2012 Aquaponic Association conference.) The panel of 16 board members had a lengthy agenda reviewing a variety of substances, different livestock management practices and a host of other important topics. Of major interest to our industry was the discussion related to the future of organic certification for hydroponics/aeroponics/aquaponics and greenhouse container growing.

The meeting ended with an agreement that the discussion would be officially continued to the Fall 2017 Meeting scheduled for November in Florida.

About a hundred people were in attendance to hear the various discussions. Public comments were allowed on the second day of the meeting in three minute pre-scheduled increments. Sascha Bollag from the Recirculating Farms Collation and Michael Hasey from The Farming Fish in Oregon (a certified aquaponic and soil farm) were able to speak and provide valuable insights as to the reasons that aquaponics and other soil-less growing techniques should maintain organic certification.

During the discussion portion of the meeting on day three, the board members expressed confusion, and agreed they didn’t have enough information to make a final decision. They were having a difficult time understanding many of the definitions, growing principles, sustainability and impact that including or denying the certification would create.  A few members expressed that they had never seen any type of greenhouse production using these growing techniques, and that they felt it would be valuable to visit an indoor production facility to better understand soil-less growing methods. They also discussed that the techniques are different enough that trying to put them into the same “category” may prove too difficult, as was the suggestion that an alternate labeling method be considered.

Luckily, when the meeting adjourned, I was able to invite the board to visit Flourish Farms, our 3,000 sq ft aquaponic farm located at the GrowHaus in a Northwest Denver food desert community. I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to speak openly for almost 2 hours helping the board members better understand aquaponics and hydroponics since both growing methods are demonstrated at the GrowHaus.

Overall, there was recognition that trying to combine these methods into one group, and trying to apply soil guidelines may be creating more challenges than can easily be overcome. These are different growing methods and some should be certified and some clearly should not (such as synthetic hydroponics). It was very rewarding to be able to exchange ideas and help inform the discussion. I encourage other farmers to reach out to the board and offer opportunities to visit your farms as this can have a positive impact on the future designation of organic aquaponic certification.

Background

In 2015 an NOSB Task Force was created to review hydroponics/aeroponics/aquaponics and greenhouse container production. Some of the challenges identified are related to building soil fertility, liquid fertilizers, raw manure, use of plastics, and sustainability if power were to fail. Many of these considerations have been addressed in the document Aquaponic Systems Utilize the Soil Food Web to Grow Healthy Crops, which has been presented to the NOSB for their review. Additional positions by the Recirculating Farms Coalition and the Aquaponics Association were also printed and submitted for the board’s review.

Putting Down Roots

The Aquaponics Association has announced its 2017 national conference, Putting Down Roots, to be held in Portland, Oregon November 3 – 5.

The Conference will feature the following aquaponic experts:

  • Dr. Nick Savidov, Lethbridge College
  • Murray Hallam, Practical Aquaponics
  • Jon Parr, SchoolGrown
  • Angela Tenbroeck, Center for Sustainable Agricultural Excellence & Conservation
  • Arvind Venkat, WaterFarmers

The Conference will also feature tours of local aquaponic operations including Live Local Organic, a certified organic aquaponic farm that supplies 71 individual stores and 10 retailers.

The Conference will also feature a vendor showroom to display the newest aquaponic technology.

The Putting Down Roots Conference aims to help aquaponics growers build stronger communities and become the backbone of their local food economies.

Here are listed the four main pillars of Putting Down Roots, and conference activities to achieve these goals:

  1. Developing Industry Infrastructure
    • Moderated discussions and Q&A sessions with successful aquaponic growers about the steps to success
    • Interaction with local Oregon financial, legal, and political professionals about what they need to hear from aquaponic growers
    • Discussion for the role that the Aquaponics Association should play in industry growth
  2. Discovering Opportunities
    • Presentations from economists about which aquaponic farms are the most successful, and why
    • Lessons on targeting the right market
    • Discussion with business experts about how to assess rooftops, basements, and/or vertical growing options
  3. Integrating STEM
    • Lessons on the best strategies to get aquaponics in your local STEM education programs
    • Curriculum discussions with fellow aquaponic educators
  4. Building Our Capacity
    • Learn the most up-to-date advancements in water chemistry and system design to run your system more efficiently
    • Hands-on lessons and walk-throughs to build a better system
    • A wide range of parts and supplies in our vendor showroom to view and discuss with suppliers

Kate Wildrick, Co-Founder / Paradigm Shifter of Ingenuity Innovation Center in Saint Helens, Oregon, states:

“We are very excited that the Aquaponics Association will be hosting their annual conference in Portland, OR.  Given that we serve as a community resource and voice for this emerging green industry, we are observing a lot of curiosity from groups that a few years ago had little to no interest in aquaponics being a viable food production system, let alone a powerful community builder.  There is no better time than now to bring people together from various backgrounds and industries to discover where the opportunities are and collaborate on how we can remove the barriers.  The conference is bringing some of the best experts in the world to share their knowledge and expertise. This is sure to inspire new ideas and solutions.”

Click here for the Putting Down Roots Conference Flyer

CONTACT:
Brian Filipowich, Conference Chair: community@aquaponicsassociation.org