Commercial Aquaponics Breakout Discussions

By John Roe

This year at our Putting Up Shoots conference in Hartford, Connecticut, I was fortunate to participate in a lively, encouraging, open discussion group entitled, “Overcoming Common Problems in Commercial Aquaponics”.  The thesis of the discussion was centered around answering common pitfalls, problems, and other hardships that have the potential to hinder aquaponics commercial operations in their infancy.  

The round table style discussion featured prominent commercial grower, Ken Armstrong from Ouroboros Farms, who generously opened his knowledge bank to help answer any questions asked from the room.  The discussion took place in three parts, over three days, with the group seeking to crowd fund ideas and shared personal experiences in overcoming common hardships.  The questions ranged from topics such as selecting real estate to helpful websites.  The group was fortunate to have most of their questions answered either from Ken Armstrong or another participant.

The thought behind a simple discussion group such as this was to build out a framework that will help growers that are hopeful to become commercial but have limitations, fears, or setbacks for any number of reasons.  We know, at the Association, that the future of aquaponics depends largely on a freshman class of commercial growers who seek to continue to build out our footprint nationally, help their communities locally, and to survive the hardships of any agrarian business.  The more we are able to help one another succeed, the better off we all will be.  This discussion was at the very heart of this message.