Aquaponic Gardening

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Today I had the pleasure of meeting with a man who runs a very successful business selling aquaponics products and fish in Hawaii. We discussed the commercial aspects of the business and agreed that currently the real benefits are in home products for sustainable living. He has years of experience and is a seasoned world traveler and could not name one person who has a commercial farm that is specifically aquaponic based. Does anyone have information that contradicts this? Mahalo!

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I believe Green Acres in Brooksville Florida is running a commercial system and are quite successful with it. I have not personally been there but we sometimes take our students out there for tours. Specifically our students interested in commercial systems. I have been told they make a very good living selling their produce to local restaurants. But I tend to agree that aquaponics is best used for sustainable back yard farming or feeding small communities. Most aquapons I know don't get into aquaponics expecting to get rich. There is money that can also be made in training and possibly selling systems. It seems that alot of organizations are making a shift towards that. 

Was it with Friendly Aquaponics or Coastview Aquaponics? I think Green Acres and Friendly Aquaponics have history together. 

I have visited Green Acres and it seems to be a successful and well-run operation. There are several other commercial operations here in the U.S. and elsewhere. Just Google "aquaponic farm."

I had the good fortune to attend the Aquaponics Complete Course with Murray Hallam, Sylvia Bernstein, and Gina and Tonya at Green Acre in April.  Green Acre is a commercial Aquaponics farm that Gina & Tonya run in Brooksville, FL.  They have just doubled the size of their farm to try to keep up with the demand. 

There were over 100 people from all over the world enrolled in the training wanting to learn about commercial Aquaponics farming.   We had the opportunity to dine at one of the restaurants that Green Acre supplies and talk to the chef about what he thinks about the produce grown via aquaponics.  He said he would take anything and everything they can grow.

The training was exceptional and far better than I expected.  Green Acre provided hands-on workshops and gave all the necessary instruction on how to run a profitable commercial aquaponics farm.

 

Another interesting commercial operation I visited recently was Green Sky Growers in Winter Garden, Fla. Very impressive operation. http://ccresaquaponics.wordpress.com/tag/green-sky-growers/

Many thanks for the feedback. No, it was not the Friendly's. I deliberately left his name off as he is selling the business and retiring and did not want a barrage of inquiries. I respected that. I am aware of the Green Acres situation and am glad they are doing so well. Those of us on the West Coast would like to have a similar role model and resource to pull from. (Are you listening Sylvia??) I think that with the chronic water situation in the West and the burgeoning population that the situation is ripe for a venture like Green Acres; my hopes is that the venture Chris Megison is putting together can be what Green Acres is to the East. Anyway, got a plane to catch back to the mainland, Aloha! 

There are very few Commercial Aquaponics operations that actually have time to be active online.  I know there are several more aquaponics farms than are well known online.

Friendly Aquaponics and Green Acres Aquaponics are the two most well known here on this site.

LOL - Hi Paul...I'm listening. 

Actually the Green Acres Team is planning a "western" training just north of Denver at Flourish Farms with JD Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics.  We are really excited about adding JD because he has experience both with commercial aquaponics with Flourish, and with teaching and consulting the past few years with Colorado Aquaponics.  The two sessions will be held the end of Oct and the beginning of November.  Here is the link for more info - http://www.theaquaponicstore.com/Green-Acre-s-Aquaponic-Farming-The...

Hey Paul. I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you see our first phase built out. We have great people involved, solid leadership and world class companies like BumbleBee Foods, TaylorMade Golf and Datron World Communications that believe in us to the extent that they are investing significantly into our efforts.

We have an "Impact Drives Income" mindset. Everything we do is about discovering, activating and delivering solutions to people and communities who find themselves in tough situations (thus our name: Solutions for Change). We focus on being the best we can be in service to others and the rest takes care of itself. We are now applying this energy and impact into our Solutions Farms aquaponic venture. We look forward to sharing our impact with the AP community and for the opportunity to serve others in this effort, including our new AP friends.

Thanks Sylvia! I will try to get the time off and head east for this. Love the Shaka! 

Sylvia Bernstein said:

LOL - Hi Paul...I'm listening. 

Actually the Green Acres Team is planning a "western" training just north of Denver at Flourish Farms with JD Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics.  We are really excited about adding JD because he has experience both with commercial aquaponics with Flourish, and with teaching and consulting the past few years with Colorado Aquaponics.  The two sessions will be held the end of Oct and the beginning of November.  Here is the link for more info - http://www.theaquaponicstore.com/Green-Acre-s-Aquaponic-Farming-The...

I just finished writing a log reply and the system ate it.  I wish there was a way to retrieve things like that.  I was trying to say that Kirsten Udd and I just returned from a find the aquaponic systems on the Big Island trip.  We set out to visit as many systems as we could.  Glen had given us names, Chris Smith threw in a few and we had searched the site.  We found a few commercial sites that considered were doing well.  Chris of Coastview Aquaponics is an amazing man with an amazing farm.  It sets high above the airport overlooking the most beautiful ocean in the World.  He gave us the grand tour.  His area is small but just like Sahib in Florida has made very efficent use of every inch.  He is selling produce as fast as he can produce it and what wonderful produce it is.  Everything is for sale except his carrots they belong to his daughter.  We managed to sneak one off the farm and eat it.  It was wonderful.   His celery is unbelievable and so tastey.  He has evolved into his niche of selling to the community and buy they do.  He is very versatile.  If someone wants him to build a system he will.  If they want instruction he gives it.  He gives tours every Saturday.  Yes I would say he is very successfull. 

We went to another farm further down the coast and he was as cordial as Chris and showed us all around and explained what he was doing.  His place was very impressive.  His produce was impecable.  He also was very economical in the way he built thing.

We went to a Place called University of the nations.  Even though they are not commercial they have much to share.  As they are a missionary educational campus they teach hunderds on how to grow healthy food economical using materials that they have or can scrounge up. (you know that is my cause)  The have a very  viable aquaponic system that is dquite impressive.  I came away with many ideas.

These are just 3 of the wonderful places we visited.  We spent 3 days traveling around and drove 436 miles.  We paid for our gas with a $100 gas card we got for teaching the class I wrote about in my last blog.

TC was right when she said that these people are to busy to spend time on line but you can find them if you search enough.  We did and we came back home with a wealth of information.  Mahalo all you aquapons out there commercial, educational, backyar, or just having fun.  Keep at it

Cool Raychel!  Thanks for sharing your experiences on that.

to be truly a commercial farm, that is to say providing profit only by the sales of produce on a large scale, seems a bit out of reach in the first world unless either a few advancements are made, a giant surge in demand for organic produce at the national level occurs, water becomes so scare that current methods of AG will be force to convert to an aquaponic / hydoponic type recirculating system, or the federal minimum wage base needs to fall out...

now granted the term "large scale" is up for debate as to what actually constitutes a large number of people...  a moderately sized system run by 2-3 profiteers out of their back yard selling to about 50 people might seem like a large scale operation to some, but it's a far cry from commercialism... it's more of a profitable hobbyist... like those guys that make chainsaw wood carvings. to hit a scale where vendors or large markets are involved, the cost of production needs to be managed a bit more tightly... and really a farm where the owners don't have to operate the system themselves has yet to be seen... this is to say where the profit margins are large enough to afford a labor force.

take for example where i live here in the midwestern united states. the term organic is largely laughed at in most towns... yes, cleveland, chicago, an Cincinnati folk may have heard and applaud organic produce in larger numbers, but in large, we're a "red meat" and fast food society... so organic produce won't sell any different than the cheaper variety. i live 20 minutes from the great lakes (the largest fresh water supply),  and the federal minimum wage is almost up to $8 an hour... that is unless you contract the foreign exchange students or use the immigrants... now take all of that and add in the fact that it's either too hot for most food production without it being a GMO or too cold for any plants to survive for over half of the year combined... and you have yourself an impossible market to get into using aquaponics.

now take the south west, where water is a bit short on supply, the weather is a bit more stable, the organic craze has had time to set in, and questionable labor comes in dirt cheep, and you may have yourself a place where commercial aquaponics might be able to take hold... that is until immigration coms knocking on the door...

i guess first before we can start to ask if aquaponic commercialism is viable in the first world nations, we must first actually define what "commercialism" actually means... if it's hitting up the farmers market, then yes, there are a few examples of aquapons doing this currently nationwide, but if the definition of commercialism is to make it into the grocery stores where food sanitation is not only assured but guaranteed... the answer is there was only one farm to do this (to my current knowledge) and sadly it's no longer doing this. i think we should first define at what level does one's farm actually reach "commercial" scale... because if i go around and charge people $10 to clear the snow from their driveways i would by definition be labeled a professional snow removal technician since it's paying to do the job, but everyone else would just call me a dude with a shovel... but if i had a snow plow, then it'd be a different story.

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