Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I'm starting this forum topic for anyone who is interested in talking about the new Aquaponics Association.  While nothing will be set in stone when we officially adopt the Charter at the Conference on Sept 16, we'd like to get it as close to representative of what the aquaponics community is hoping for by that time.

If you go to the page that we've set up on the Association site (click here) you can download the Charter and Organizational structure, and answer some questions about your constructive feedback and how can we give you value for your membership dues.  Please take the survey!

Feel free to ask any questions about what we are doing here - the Organizing Committee (myself, Gina Cavaliero, Murray Hallam and Wayne Hall) is an open book, and everyone is a member in this community site.  We are 100% committed to creating an organization that will serve aquaponics well...although we obviously won't be able to do everything right out of the gate, nor will we be able to make everyone happy.  

I'd like to start the discussion rolling by asking a question  that I asked on Murray's forum this morning - how can we bring value to both Individual Members and Commercial members for their dues?  We've listed several things we could do on the survey linked above.  What are we missing?  What sounds great?

Views: 4787

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

So lets be clear. All suppliers and vendors shouldnt have any say in the direction of the charter. I.E. voting right. None is what you want. Well that will throw out 90 percent of the community. What can a vendor or supplier vote on that would tip the charter against all the commercial and back yard operators. My uncle is member of the aquaculture ass in Ark. He is also a commercial operator. He also sells pumps and what not. He gets to vote as a member. If the concern is over 4 votes vs 1 then lets get the members to vote on this later. So give me a senario that a supplier in the US will be able to tip the scale against all other members and create a unbalanced situation in their favor. Enlighten me please. I ask this because I sell thousands of dollars in pipe, pumps and irrigation supplies a year.

If there are no commercial interests why do we need the association. My point being if you never enter into the commercial aspect of aquaponics then you don't have to worry about the regulations that "protect" the public. However if you sell anything related to aquaponics (including tomatoes to your neighbor) I would consider you to be operating a commercial enterprise and therefore subject to the regulation we are all worried about. If the association doesn't give the commercial members (suppliers included) a say so in the direction of the organization then why have it? Aren't those the folks that the association seeks to protect? I don't think too many people care what you grow in your backyard to feed your family...the regulation starts when you attempt to make a profit at it. I personally feel if they join and pay their dues they should be full members. We can decide how many votes they get later.

2 more cents...

I see the possibility of a conflict of interest like this:

Sylvia- You give yourself instant credibility in the world of aquaponics by heading an international aquaponics association which would lead to more book sales, system/supply sales and a higher level of respect within the AP world ($$$).
Gina- You boost the enrolment in your training courses, supply sales and also give yourself instant credibility to the new aquaponics enthusiast wanting onsite design or project consultation. ($$$)
Murray- You would boost your web site traffic. You would also see an increase in name recognition and speaking opportunities heading an organization such as this. I would expect an increase in design/consultation and system sales as well ($$$).

Wayne- I don’t know much about you sir but I am sure it would get you more name recognition which could turn into design/consultant fees down the road.

You all have much to gain from this. The conflict of interest would be that since you all have money to be made from heading the association, opinions could be swayed if the decision would affect your profits. In a perfect world we would never imagine anything like this happening but it’s not a perfect world. I’ve seen fish farmers fly their staff to vegas on a private jet and blow money for a week on the company dime. Then the company goes belly up a month later. Stuff does happen.

And again, this is nothing personal. I think it’s better to get everything out on the table for everyone to see, then make decisions on how best to move forward and create an association. I hope this is taken as constructive.
Agreed, however the regulations vary from country to country, we have some archaic laws which even prohibit growers (it makes no distinction between backyard or commercial) from giving it away without inspection and approval from the appropriate regulator.

Tom McLemore said:

If there are no commercial interests why do we need the association. My point being if you never enter into the commercial aspect of aquaponics then you don't have to worry about the regulations that "protect" the public. However if you sell anything related to aquaponics (including tomatoes to your neighbor) I would consider you to be operating a commercial enterprise and therefore subject to the regulation we are all worried about. If the association doesn't give the commercial members (suppliers included) a say so in the direction of the organization then why have it? Aren't those the folks that the association seeks to protect? I don't think too many people care what you grow in your backyard to feed your family...the regulation starts when you attempt to make a profit at it. I personally feel if they join and pay their dues they should be full members. We can decide how many votes they get later.

2 more cents...

Well then in those countries commercial and backyarder have common ground and should unite not split. That situation would make them equal and definitely deserve an equal vote.

W. Hall said:
Agreed, however the regulations vary from country to country, we have some archaic laws which even prohibit growers (it makes no distinction between backyard or commercial) from giving it away without inspection and approval from the appropriate regulator.

Tom McLemore said:

If there are no commercial interests why do we need the association. My point being if you never enter into the commercial aspect of aquaponics then you don't have to worry about the regulations that "protect" the public. However if you sell anything related to aquaponics (including tomatoes to your neighbor) I would consider you to be operating a commercial enterprise and therefore subject to the regulation we are all worried about. If the association doesn't give the commercial members (suppliers included) a say so in the direction of the organization then why have it? Aren't those the folks that the association seeks to protect? I don't think too many people care what you grow in your backyard to feed your family...the regulation starts when you attempt to make a profit at it. I personally feel if they join and pay their dues they should be full members. We can decide how many votes they get later.

2 more cents...

Ryan indeed you are correct.

 

Board of Governors represents the various countries involved and the same can be said of each of them. A backyarder can have a seat on the Board and thus the same would apply. We do not live in a perfect world and can only take the necessary precautions to avoid the perceived perception of conflict of interest.

Which is why we sought the views of the community at large as none of us live in a bubble, as comforting as that may be.

Every concern that has been voice has been give very serious consideration, and every conceivable step to ensure transparency is being taken. 

Issues have been raised regarding member requirements, dues, officers, trustees, the entire gambit and we take each of those concerns raised very seriously and are doing our endeavour best to alleviate these concerns.

We do appreciate the constructive points raised because without you the potential members of the Association we would get nowhere fast.

 

Thanks for your viewpoint



Ryan said:

I see the possibility of a conflict of interest like this:

Sylvia- You give yourself instant credibility in the world of aquaponics by heading an international aquaponics association which would lead to more book sales, system/supply sales and a higher level of respect within the AP world ($$$).
Gina- You boost the enrolment in your training courses, supply sales and also give yourself instant credibility to the new aquaponics enthusiast wanting onsite design or project consultation. ($$$)
Murray- You would boost your web site traffic. You would also see an increase in name recognition and speaking opportunities heading an organization such as this. I would expect an increase in design/consultation and system sales as well ($$$).

Wayne- I don’t know much about you sir but I am sure it would get you more name recognition which could turn into design/consultant fees down the road.

You all have much to gain from this. The conflict of interest would be that since you all have money to be made from heading the association, opinions could be swayed if the decision would affect your profits. In a perfect world we would never imagine anything like this happening but it’s not a perfect world. I’ve seen fish farmers fly their staff to vegas on a private jet and blow money for a week on the company dime. Then the company goes belly up a month later. Stuff does happen.

And again, this is nothing personal. I think it’s better to get everything out on the table for everyone to see, then make decisions on how best to move forward and create an association. I hope this is taken as constructive.

The primary vision of this association is:
1. To promote the benefits of aquaponic growing
2. To educate the general consumer and food safety officials about the inherent safety of
aquaponically grown food
3. To dispel myths and rumors about aquaponically grown food

 

If the executive committee carries out the vision of the association and you are commercially involved in aquaponics chances are your profits will increase. So with that in mind no commercial operator should ever sit on the executive committee of the association because their profits might increase if they carry out the vision of the association. Is that what you are trying to say?

 

Ryan said:

I see the possibility of a conflict of interest like this:

Sylvia- You give yourself instant credibility in the world of aquaponics by heading an international aquaponics association which would lead to more book sales, system/supply sales and a higher level of respect within the AP world ($$$).
Gina- You boost the enrolment in your training courses, supply sales and also give yourself instant credibility to the new aquaponics enthusiast wanting onsite design or project consultation. ($$$)
Murray- You would boost your web site traffic. You would also see an increase in name recognition and speaking opportunities heading an organization such as this. I would expect an increase in design/consultation and system sales as well ($$$).

Wayne- I don’t know much about you sir but I am sure it would get you more name recognition which could turn into design/consultant fees down the road.

You all have much to gain from this. The conflict of interest would be that since you all have money to be made from heading the association, opinions could be swayed if the decision would affect your profits. In a perfect world we would never imagine anything like this happening but it’s not a perfect world. I’ve seen fish farmers fly their staff to vegas on a private jet and blow money for a week on the company dime. Then the company goes belly up a month later. Stuff does happen.

And again, this is nothing personal. I think it’s better to get everything out on the table for everyone to see, then make decisions on how best to move forward and create an association. I hope this is taken as constructive.

Ryan, I hear what you say, and in the hands of people that set out to manipulate an association solely for personal gain what you say above could be the sole motivation.

 

Next scenario: ANYONE heading up any association would get the "instant benefit" you talk about and bestowed upon all the draftees.  Thus the argument can be put forward that whoever is going to lead this association is going to benefit, thus they are all doing it for the money.  Not?, then you have to give the people currently involved equal opportunity to get on with it.  You cannot set up a body tasked with sorting HACCP, best practice etc. and give it, with all due respect, to the auntie in the back row because she will not make a buck while running the association.  You want people capable of driving it forward with all their might and I do not see people sitting in their back gardens posting in a forum once a month as having that dedication.  You also seem to suggest that the association is suddenly going to throw the world wide open to people that otherwise had no market access.  You think the world has not heard of Murray Hallam yet?  Or BYAP for that matter. Someone prominent usually pushes the cause of an association as far as I can see.  I'd be more worried if someone unknown put up a huge fight for a leadership role and then happen to launch a book and a kit as soon as possible.

 

A final word.  The people who are heading this initiative have got commercial facilities, kits, books and web sites.  These were not given to them, they were driven to set it up and take the initial financial risk.  Everyone on this forum seemed happy to benefit from their efforts until now.  So they are good enough to give you a forum and supply loads of free info but when they respond to numerous suggestions by a crapload of people that some form of coherent body is needed they become evil money grabbers or something? Holy moly, I thought it was only in my country that the people striving to stick their necks out above the rest gets a finger in the eye as reward.  Would you want that auntie in the back row driving your interests or people with a proven track record of sticking their necks out when everyone else is still playing in buckets?  I'm not saying that these 4 are the only ones capable, but from my personal experience, you do not set out on an ambitious plan on the suggestion from someone no one has ever heard of before.  Would the suggestion have been better coming from BYAP or Nelson and Pade or whoever else is out there right now? Many more fine leaders will grow out of such an association, but good heavens people, someone has to start the damn thing.

 

Sorry, and yes, I do feel better now.

Ryan said:

I see the possibility of a conflict of interest like this:

Sylvia- You give yourself instant credibility in the world of aquaponics by heading an international aquaponics association which would lead to more book sales, system/supply sales and a higher level of respect within the AP world ($$$).
Gina- You boost the enrolment in your training courses, supply sales and also give yourself instant credibility to the new aquaponics enthusiast wanting onsite design or project consultation. ($$$)
Murray- You would boost your web site traffic. You would also see an increase in name recognition and speaking opportunities heading an organization such as this. I would expect an increase in design/consultation and system sales as well ($$$).

Wayne- I don’t know much about you sir but I am sure it would get you more name recognition which could turn into design/consultant fees down the road.

You all have much to gain from this. The conflict of interest would be that since you all have money to be made from heading the association, opinions could be swayed if the decision would affect your profits. In a perfect world we would never imagine anything like this happening but it’s not a perfect world. I’ve seen fish farmers fly their staff to vegas on a private jet and blow money for a week on the company dime. Then the company goes belly up a month later. Stuff does happen.

And again, this is nothing personal. I think it’s better to get everything out on the table for everyone to see, then make decisions on how best to move forward and create an association. I hope this is taken as constructive.
Kobus you ok. Though you were going to blow a keyboard. I think you need Nicole more than Rupert hehe. I personally hope every single person that writes in this damn discussion will put there neck out and join in some level on boards ect....ect. Ryan I hope you do it  to and buddy I hope you make a bloody fortune at it. There is nothing wrong with capitalism if they lift everyone up as well folks. Its ok if we all make money at this. Really!!!!!!!!!!

Kobus Jooste said:

Ryan, I hear what you say, and in the hands of people that set out to manipulate an association solely for personal gain what you say above could be the sole motivation.

 

Next scenario: ANYONE heading up any association would get the "instant benefit" you talk about and bestowed upon all the draftees.  Thus the argument can be put forward that whoever is going to lead this association is going to benefit, thus they are all doing it for the money.  Not?, then you have to give the people currently involved equal opportunity to get on with it.  You cannot set up a body tasked with sorting HACCP, best practice etc. and give it, with all due respect, to the auntie in the back row because she will not make a buck while running the association.  You want people capable of driving it forward with all their might and I do not see people sitting in their back gardens posting in a forum once a month as having that dedication.  You also seem to suggest that the association is suddenly going to throw the world wide open to people that otherwise had no market access.  You think the world has not heard of Murray Hallam yet?  Or BYAP for that matter. Someone prominent usually pushes the cause of an association as far as I can see.  I'd be more worried if someone unknown put up a huge fight for a leadership role and then happen to launch a book and a kit as soon as possible.

 

A final word.  The people who are heading this initiative have got commercial facilities, kits, books and web sites.  These were not given to them, they were driven to set it up and take the initial financial risk.  Everyone on this forum seemed happy to benefit from their efforts until now.  So they are good enough to give you a forum and supply loads of free info but when they respond to numerous suggestions by a crapload of people that some form of coherent body is needed they become evil money grabbers or something? Holy moly, I thought it was only in my country that the people striving to stick their necks out above the rest gets a finger in the eye as reward.  Would you want that auntie in the back row driving your interests or people with a proven track record of sticking their necks out when everyone else is still playing in buckets?  I'm not saying that these 4 are the only ones capable, but from my personal experience, you do not set out on an ambitious plan on the suggestion from someone no one has ever heard of before.  Would the suggestion have been better coming from BYAP or Nelson and Pade or whoever else is out there right now? Many more fine leaders will grow out of such an association, but good heavens people, someone has to start the damn thing.

 

Sorry, and yes, I do feel better now.

Ryan said:

I see the possibility of a conflict of interest like this:

Sylvia- You give yourself instant credibility in the world of aquaponics by heading an international aquaponics association which would lead to more book sales, system/supply sales and a higher level of respect within the AP world ($$$).
Gina- You boost the enrolment in your training courses, supply sales and also give yourself instant credibility to the new aquaponics enthusiast wanting onsite design or project consultation. ($$$)
Murray- You would boost your web site traffic. You would also see an increase in name recognition and speaking opportunities heading an organization such as this. I would expect an increase in design/consultation and system sales as well ($$$).

Wayne- I don’t know much about you sir but I am sure it would get you more name recognition which could turn into design/consultant fees down the road.

You all have much to gain from this. The conflict of interest would be that since you all have money to be made from heading the association, opinions could be swayed if the decision would affect your profits. In a perfect world we would never imagine anything like this happening but it’s not a perfect world. I’ve seen fish farmers fly their staff to vegas on a private jet and blow money for a week on the company dime. Then the company goes belly up a month later. Stuff does happen.

And again, this is nothing personal. I think it’s better to get everything out on the table for everyone to see, then make decisions on how best to move forward and create an association. I hope this is taken as constructive.

Gina- You boost the enrolment in your training courses, supply sales and also give yourself instant credibility to the new aquaponics enthusiast wanting onsite design or project consultation. ($$$)

 

Ryan, I think you are mistaken in assuming that an executive role would lend instant credibility.  Surely it would generate name recognition, but credibility?  My credibility will only be gained by a proven, successful commercial track record which is something I work towards everyday.  But a theory assuming that the general aquaponic enthusiast will find credence in my work just because of my affiliation with the association is seriously flawed and gives no credit to the people that come asking questions of me literally everyday.  They want hard data showing them that their potential investment is worth their money and perhaps they may recognize that my involvement in an association may help protect their investment.

I think Kobus asked too, who do you think would be best suited to head up an organization like this?  Only those with backyard interests or a representative sampling of both commercial and backyard?  I don't see where backyard proponents would have a vested interest to get something like this off the ground, but I can definitely see where they could benefit from it.  

As far as your example of corruption and the use of the association for personal gain, that is why there is a charter and a governing body.  There are safeguards in place and right now we are evaluating how best to insure that via the charter document. 

Ultimately do I have something to gain from this? Sure.  I am working towards insuring that those involved in growing food aquaponically for others and those that eventually want to can continue to do so.  You have to look at the big picture Ryan.  Its not just about what this association might do for my one company or Murray's or Sylvia's but what it will do for aquaponics, the future of agriculture and the many that will benefit from the production of clean, organic food because we enabled more to know of it, trust it, understand it and eventually do it.  If you see that as a maligned intention, then I'm afraid you probably also see Santa Claus as only in it for the free cookies in milk!

Hello All,

 

I've been following this thread with interest and thought I throw in a comment or two.

 

I agree with Kobus in that you want the people with expertise and experience to be driving the association.  They're the ones best equipped to be advocates for the rest of us and they are usually the ones that have a commercial interest.  There's nothing like having your livelihood on the line to focus your attention, learn the craft and produce results.

 

The concept of conflict of interest is a curious one and fraught with some risk, but it could be argued that those who have something to gain and/or lose will be more focused on pushing for improvement and progress because it will benefit them directly.   If that progress/improvement benefits all members of the association along with the protagonists then everyone has been served well.  A case could also be made that those that serve in running the association deserve some profit resulting from the name recognition, given the time, effort and expense exerted.

 

The safety net for all this is a well-structured and well-run election process.   Limits of time served, limits defining the number of consecutive terms and the like would go a long way to prevent abuse of power.   I've been involved in associations where the leader was under no threat to his position and through force of personality maintained his authority.   If this is avoided then the abuse of power is limited and far less likely.   Open and fair selection/election processes will soon remove the abusers from authority and they'll quickly be forgotten.

 

I do think that this discussion is getting a bit ahead of itself though.   A fledgling organisation will take quite some time to sort itself out, discover it's purpose and become influential.   I suggest that we'd all be better off getting started and honing the finer details along the way.

 

Kind regards,

John

I feel the preoccupation regarding "conflict of interest" is not balanced.  Some people (very few) are worried about what might happen rather than what we can make happen collectively.

The only people who will join and support and run an AQUAPONICS Association will people who are interested in Aquaponcs at some level or another. Why is one level of interest thought to be any more or less ethical than another?

Some have said they don't want to join as a hobbyist because they can see no advantage for them, others don't want anyone who has any sort of commercial interest to be a full member or serve on the board.  Who would be the right and most ethical group ?  Those who don't care or those who do?
Are we to look for a hobbyist or two that does have an interest in AP and can guarantee that they will never sell a spare lettuce to anyone, or never speak at a seminar?  Or perhaps we should wait until someone who only collects Russian salt shakers to pop up and start an AP association?   I would be really worried about what their real intentions might be.

Peoples level of interest will change over time.  Everyone who will join and support at any level obviously has a interest in AP.    Some have listed as possible conflicts things that could be thought of as an advantage rather than a conflict. Are they any advantages by being a member or serving as an officer?  I hope there will be advantages for all members....that is the whole idea isn't it?  Make things better for everyone.


Conflict of interest is a very ethereal thing, like the boogey man hiding in the back yard.

An example, A gentleman, Bruce Sambell was the president of the Queensland Aquaculture Association for many years.(honorary position no salary or even expenses) He did an outstanding job driving forward the industry as a whole. He owned and operated Queensland's largest fish hatchery. I never once heard anyone say he had a conflict of interest, in fact he most likely spent too much time on Association business instead of running his hatchery.

It is all good.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2020   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service