The Amazing Microbiology of Aquaponics

As our nation prepares to pass the once-every-5-year Farm Bill, let’s remember that aquaponic systems have been shown to have the same – if not more – quantity and diversity of rich microbiology as organic soil.

Check out our Aquaponics Food Web Report: Aquaponics food web aug 2018

Whether as a consumer, grower, policy-maker, or business owner, we all make decisions that affect
where and how our food is produced.

As we shape our new food system, one critical consideration is whether we retain access to high quality
fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those grown sustainably. We must assess whether new growing methods like aquaponics can deliver fruits and vegetables grown from seed with the same symbiotic biological processes used by plants since the dawn of time.

Our report shows that aquaponic systems feature a vibrant, thriving community of happy little micro-critters!

 

 

People, Planet, and Profit – Tawnya Sawyer Speaker Spotlight

Tawnya Sawyer from the Aquaponic Source and Colorado Aquaponics will be at the upcoming Putting Up Shoots conference in Hartford, September 21-23.

Tawnya will host multiple discussions in the Commercial Aquaponics Learning Track. Here’ the first:

People, Planet, Profit – Aquaponics’ Triple Bottom Line

All savvy businesses leaders these days are focused on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. Aquaponics is one of those premier “green-technologies” that has it all. Aquaponics is about feeding people nutritious food, providing job skills, and greater self reliance. It’s about the planet by reducing waste, and natural resource consumption, while mimicking a natural ecosystem. And if done correctly, aquaponics can also be a profitable endeavor if that is your goal. This session will create an open forum to discuss various different aquaponic projects here and around the world which have achieved the triple bottom line and how others can use those models to build their own aquaponic venture.

Tawnya’s community forum engages thousands of home hobbyist, schools and farmers all over the world. We will share their success stories as well as their toughest tragedies in an attempt to ensure that your aquaponics system will flourish. The more you know, the more you grow.

Get your tix today!

 

You Built It – Now What!?

Tawnya Sawyer from the Aquaponic Source and Colorado Aquaponics will be at the upcoming Putting Up Shoots conference in Hartford, September 21-23.

There is so much excitement around designing and building an aquaponic system. But, once you have it all built, now what? From cycling to harvesting and everything in between, the system depends on you. Tawnya’s session will discuss the most important aspects of managing and optimizing your aquaponic system, from day to day operations, preventative practices and avoiding common mistakes.

Topics include:

  • Cycling and bacteria management;
  • Source water and water quality;
  • Solids management and mineralization;
  • Keeping your fish healthy and happy;
  • Selecting and growing abundant crops; and
  • Pest prevention and recovery.

Get your Putting Up Shoots Tickets today!

Check out Tawnya’s other discussion: People, Planet, Profit – Aquaponic’s Triple Bottom Line

STEM & Community Scholarship Drive

This year, just as every year, the Association Board is deluged with requests from amazing growers that would love to attend the annual conference but don’t have the financial means.

But we need all growers represented to break down barriers and grow more of our food with aquaponics. These growers are on the front lines, often making a difference with aquaponics in the most difficult circumstances.

Therefore, we are seeking funders to sponsor an even more affordable set of tickets for STEM and Community growers.

If you or someone you know are willing to sponsor tickets for teachers, students, or non-profit growers, head here for more information: STEM & Community Scholarship Drive.

Speaker Spotlight: Chris Williams, Community Aquaponics Track

 

“Opportunities and Limitations in Sustaining Community-Driven Aquaponics Operations”

Chris completed his Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources Management at the University of Iceland in 2017.  His thesis, entitled “A Viability Assessment of Commercial Aquaponics Systems in Iceland”, was completed under Icelandic aquaponics professors and researchers Ragnheidur Thorarinsdottir and Magnus Thor Torfason.  Chris’ experience includes both aquaponics and hydroponics, as well as system automation using raspberry pi technology.  Chris presented portions of his work at a 2017 COST conference, hosted by the Europeanframework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe.

Chris is from Columbus, OH. He received his undergraduate degree in 2010.  Since 2012 he has been working with local startups and small-scale operations designing and fabricating aquaponic, hydroponic, and aeroponic systems. Chris had spent 2013-2015 teaching English in China at Hainan University. He has successfully completed aquaponics training through the European COST Scientific Network and has aquaponics research manuscripts under peer-review for publication. Currently, Chris is working freelance for consultation with regards to aquaponics production.

If you want to see and speak to Chris make sure you
complete your registration for the conference today!

300 Aquaponic Signatures to Congress

 

Read the Aquaponics 2018 Farm Bill Letter Here

The Aquaponics Association today published a letter asking Congress to support aquaponics and other sustainable growing methods in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Senate draft of the Farm Bill includes provisions that benefit aquaponic growers that are not included in the House version. (Read the Aquaponics Senate Farm Bill Fact Sheet).

The two chambers must reconcile the two versions into a final draft.

Over 300 aquaponic growers signed the letter asking the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to ensure that the final bill includes the Senate’s provisions for aquaponics.

 

Speaker Spotlight: Angela TenBroeck on Food Safety

Food Safety

You don’t need to look farther than CNN to realize that whether you grow food in your backyard for your family or you are a commercial grower, food safety is of utmost importance. This year at the Aquaponics Association Conference, Angela TenBroeck will deliver two dynamic, engaging and revealing presentations on:

  1. Commercial Aquaponics Food Safety: How can growers best insure the safety of the food they provide to their consumers. Learn how to create and implement a food safety program across all levels of your business from the material you use to start your seeds to the methods with which you deliver the produce to your customer. Angela will also discuss the legal food safety standards that commercial growers must comply with.
  2. Community Aquaponics Food Safety: Learn how to work towards making sure the products you grow and sell are safe. Learn simple, straight-forward practices to improve food safety in your local community-scale aquaponic systems.

 

Background

Angela TenBroeck has been a serial entrepreneur for over 30 years – with extensive experience in both the public and private sector. A fourth-generation farmer, Angela  and her family have been hydroponic farmers in North Florida since the 1970s. Angela is also a professional educator who has logged more than fifteen years in middle and high school education and administration, with emphasis in STEM and health curricula. In her time as an educator, Angela managed a $2 million Magnet Schools Assistance Program federal grant.

In 2013, her passion for sustainability and community outreach led Angela on a journey to launch the Center for Sustainable Agricultural Excellence and Conservation, a non-profit with a goal to change the lives of local farmers by offering a model for modern and sustainable farming practice. Given her background, she is an accomplished public speaker (e.g., Tedx 2014) with subject matter expertise in food safety, water and soil conservation techniques, STEM Health/Medicine education, and advanced methods of sustainable agriculture

Leveraging her experience in developing and operating the first commercial aquaponics facility in the world to obtain Safe Quality Food Level 3 certification, Angela  left day-to-day farm operations at Traders Hill Farm in early 2017 to change the hunger landscape. Angela has managed and advised on agricultural products across the United States and the Caribbean. Angela  runs Aqua Hortus, a company leading the way in services to develop and operate controlled-environment facilities to grow the highest quality and safest produce year-round, regardless of climate.

Another one of her current projects, Foodery Farms, changes the way brownfields are used in communities with food insecurities. The Pura Farms concept cycles clean water between farmed fish and vegetables, while utilizing solar energy. The use of elaborate biosecurity measures keeps pests out of the greenhouse, allowing Pura Farms produce to be “Beyond Organic,” with no need for chemicals or pesticides of any sort.

As the CEO and co-founder of Foodery Farms, Angela TenBroeck is working in conjunction with Pura Farms to launch aquaponic farms, with proprietary processes she has developed, throughout the United States and beyond. Pura Farms’ mission is to feed our communities with healthy, delicious and nutritious foods, eliminate food safety issues, and educate our future on the importance of protecting planet earth.

If you want to see and speak to Angela make sure you
complete your registration for the conference today!

 

CEU Credits for Putting Up Shoots

Redlands Community College in El Reno, OK is pleased to partner with the Aquaponics Association to award continuing education credit for Putting Up Shoots conference attendance. Educators and other professionals who would like CEUs for all or part of the conference can complete an on-site request form indicating the sessions attended. Upon submission, attendees will be mailed a certificate designating the appropriate number of CEUs. In addition, this continuing education credit will be formally transcripted at Redlands Community College. Questions regarding continuing education credit can be directed to Conference Vice-Chair Julie Flegal-Smallwood (julie.flegalsmallwood@redlandscc.edu).

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!