Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hi All, I am trying to build a hoop house and aquaponics system in my backyard this summer and I was wondering if there was any Northern california, Bay Area,Valley, or Hills members or set ups that I could visit.  Any good training programs, suppliers I can learn from?

Thx much!!

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Hi Ruppert, Todd and all our fellow Aquaponics enthusiasts out there,

I would like to respond to some of the questions and comments relating to NorCal Aquaponics and myself.

My credentials and experience:

37 years of fish breeding, rearing and aquaculture training and experience.

30 years of organic farming training and experience.

25 years training and experience in auto mechanics and construction.

25 years training and experience in hydroponics and hydroponic farming.

15 years as a working professional in sustainable water systems design, natural water systems work, rainwater harvesting and constructed wetlands, troubleshooting and development.

15 years of training and experience in Ecological Design and Permaculture.

7 years of training and experience in Living Machines and Aquaponics.

I received my B.A. Degree in Ecological Design in 2000.

I am a certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher through the international Permaculture Institute of Australia. 2003 to present.

In 2003, I co-founded the Mendocino Ecological Learning Center here in Willits california. We are a 501c(3) educational nonprofit organization providing Permaculture education, training and experience to the public for free or at very low costs. I am the current Executive Director. You can see our work here

In 2009 we founded NorCal Aquaponics, to spread the word of my one of a kind Permaculture based approach to Aquaponics. I call it “Closed Loop” Aquaponics and we here at NorCal we have developed much of holistic c, Permaculture based/closed loop methods of Aquaponics you now see being practices more and more around the world.

We have now helped, consulted, designed or trained people with AP related projects in California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Rhode Island, Canada, Hawaii, Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Dominican Republic, The Maldives, Thailand and others worldwide...

We offer all our information freely and do not require our students to sign any non-disclosure agreements, mandatory profit sharing, etc. We pride ourselves in sharing all our research, knowledge, successes, and all that we earn from our mistakes, opportunities and experiences.

In 2009 I designed and co-constructed a 8,000 gallon commercial system at Finca Las Nubes in Nicaragua. It is still in operation and we use it for trainings 1-2 times per year.

From February 2011 to January 2012, I was the Director of I project I started in Costa Rica restoring and transforming a 200 acre commercial Aquaculture farm into the world's largest Permaculture based Aquaculture & Aquaponics research farm & Institute! We repaired and restored the farm and returned it to its fully operating status while breeding Tilapia and 6 other species of fish, shrimp, crayfish even eels!

That is just a sampling of my experience and work over the years.

As for our students and clients, we have a long list of past students now running their own Aquaponics systems, farms, schools and businesses. Many of our graduates now run successful commercial operations like our past student and now colleague at Aqua Vita Farms in New York,

As for certification, we provide all our graduates with a “certificate of completion”, which simply acknowledges that they have completed the training and are now a fellow “Aquaneer” as we call ourselves, because we are Aquaponic Pioneers in this Permaculture based field of Aquaponics. This certificate is no different from the ones most people receive for completing many types of trainings, office management workshop, residential electricity class, etc., etc., etc.

It makes me a little sad that I need to explain, even justify myself for providing such, unique, complete, all inclusive information, training and services. We are all stronger as friends and allies helping each other to become more and more successful in our Aquaponics endeavors. Why not help and learn from each other, why giving each other the benefit of the doubt. Almost daily I am referring people to others in the Aquaponics community. There is simply too much going on in our field not to work together...

We are proud to be offering the most affordable complete and Permaculture based training in Aquaponics offered anywhere! It has got to be the best value of any course currently being offered. I would encourage anyone interested in learning more about Aquaponics and all the tools you need to design, size, construct and maintain more “closed loop” AP systems, projects and farms.

To learn more about me and my work, please check out this video TIME Magazine did on my Aquaponics work,32068,658160623001_2030619,... and this YouTube clip of my Permaculture work for clients.

In Peace & Permaculture,

Max Meyers

RupertofOZ said:

No need Jon.... I'm sure Max is a "good guy".. and probably well-intentioned...


And he did build a system for a friend at a resort down in Nicuragua...


And apparantly has designed one for a mob in Santa Cruz....


My beef is simply... that he promotes himself as a "certified Aquaponics system designer " .... and a "Commercial Aquaponic System Designer/Installer"... and offers courses in "commercial" aquaponics, without apparantly actually running one himself.... and apparantly, after having "certified" himself...


And offers "aquaponic certifications" to those who might take his courses.. based on god only knows what??


And , sadly... the few that have attended his courses... all seem to say, and do the same... most with glaringly little to no knowledge of aquaponics generally...


The Santa Cruz operation is a prime example.... "a light commercial system capable of producing 20 to 30,000 pounds of vegetables and 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of fish per annum"... (ah yeah, a "light" commercial system eh)


It hasn't even been built yet.... but is offering courses in "commercial" aquaponics... and aquaponic "certification"... and "scholarships"


Don't get me wrong... Max is not the only one doing this kind of thing, or making such claims... but there's just not the demonstrable real experience, or justification to back such claims...



Don't be sad. There are so many new trainings popping up and people making claims that everyone wants more information. That's why we ask.

I'm still wondering where you got your aquaponic certification. Also, only 2 projects are mentioned on your website. Maybe there would be less questions with more pictures of your projects.

I'm glad you responded. I would think that you'd be happy to have the opportunity to do so



Hi Todd,

Thank you for your response and for your comments about how little of our work is published on our website. We will be redoing our entire website soon. It will include many more examples of our work...

We are good farmers, but very bad web masters. I pray we finally have a web person who will do a good job with our web presence.

I can't even figure out how to rotate a photo I posted here... LOL

Peace & Permaculture,


Hey AP’ists,

I thank you Max for your class I attended last yr.2011.  I found it to be deeply informative, brave, and abby-normal.  Your Permaculture approch really opened my thoughts to many other perspectives for observing and the fine tuning of my system.  Thank you again!

'AND' I had a great time with you and my, beer, and conversation...'YES'!


Looking for tanks and growbeds? I bought 4x4x1/2 sheets of HDPE and a commercial welder (Leister) and am learning to weld and building my system to the dementions I want and for the long run something I will not need to replace, and have the option to modify. This has turned out to be fun and 1/4th the cost of say pre-manufactured fiberglass.

I'm not to great on the web thing myself. Hope my daughter doesn't move out too soon.


Blair, thanks for sharing about Max's class.

Are you doing plastic welding? I think that's the right term. Do you use a standard welder?



+1 to Blair for the Young Frankenstein reference!  :)

Todd Sowell said:

I'm not to great on the web thing myself. Hope my daughter doesn't move out too soon.


Blair, thanks for sharing about Max's class.

Are you doing plastic welding? I think that's the right term. Do you use a standard welder?





Hey Todd,

The plastic welder is manufactured by Leister and is an hot air/extruder combo...a little on the heavy side, but is a very interesting tool to wield around while negotiating the plastic rod (from a spool) and not smokin' the power cord on the manifold.  So, it's not the standard welder...more like the electric zapper gun used in Matrix (it took out Tank and Cypher). 


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