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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Damon do you have a number that will qualify for a commercial farm.  I grew up in Iowa on a family farm.  In the beginning we were considered commercial as we raised seed corn for the big companies.  We were only 190 acres.  The "commercial farms that ran us all out are huge now thousands of acres.  This has become our destruction.  We no longer get food produced for us or near us.  We import from places that I would doubt their practices.  Just because we do not sell things in a grocery store does not make us non commercial.  Our misson is to provide healthy food for people wether it be for ourselves or for the community.  I would rather buy my food from a farm that I can visit and i know how they grew the food.  I consider that farm commercial.  Many of our commercial local dirt farmers (small) do not sell their produce to grocery stores but sell out to resturants because their food is so fresh and if they are organic that is even better.

I went to 2 farms on the Big Island I would consider commercial and one is Chris Smiths.  It doesn't matter that he doesn't make his complete living by selling produce.  If you check out small farms in the midwest they often have to work in town to supplement their income.   I don't want a 3000 acre aquaponic farm with thousands of people working there.  By the way what is wrong with making systems and selling them to people who don't want to make their own.  This is the American way.  What is wrong with teaching people about aquaponics even if you don't consider them experts.  My farther taught me farming and he never went to school to learn it. 

I just gave a class on making small systems for 15 different schools.  The teachers and students came to learn.  Those systems will go to 15 different schools and many will see and get excited.  Is that not commercial.  We are a fledgling industry and I don't think our farms will be the size you think qualify for "commercial".  I think that is wonderful because we will know where our food came from and we will know it is fresh. 

What about farms like Cabbage Hill on the east coast or S&S in Missouri.  These people have to be considered commercial.  What ever we have to do on our farm to make a living is not wrong, its smart.  We are providing a service to people and if they are happy with us that is what is important.  We must hold fast to our mission to grow healthy food and to share with others how to do it even if we make the system for the,


As far as the snow shovel analogy you both are commercial you are a small business and the plow is a big business.

By the way GOOGLE Cabbage Hill farms and let them tell you the 10 reasons to by local.  If we are local we are likely to be small also.  Small means our food will be much fresher

here too we have a place that specializes in selling produce to restaurants, chef's garden is a pretty big deal, but it's hardly selling locally.

while it's a nice ideology, the whole sell locally to save the country concept, we've strayed too far for it to work without consequence to the economy. take a walk through your house and see if you can go through everything and try and get past 5% of the things you own / eat actually come from within just a few thousand miles away, let alone close enough to be classified as not trying to be a donald downer here... just a realist... and again, what about the areas of the united states where people just don't bother with it? while it is nice to be able to talk to the farmer that provides the fod you eat, most of the produce bought around here comes from the grocer, which is stocked by food suppliers, which has the produce shipped in from every corner of the globe. and even at the cut rate price of shipping in the food from everywhere else but here, most people in the region can't afford to spend the extra money on Organic... we're celebrating the fact that our unemployment percentage just fall back into the single digits for the first time since the 80's.

it is good business sense to make money where you can by doing extra work, but building is not the same as farming... on your tour of the hawaiian aquaponiics farm did you happen to stop at friendly aquaponics? their fairly large acreage of aquaponics was beginning to scratch the surface of commercialism. they were producing a product that, when labor was added, still provided a marginal profit. did they do lessons and build farms for extra money? yep, but the main question were those extra hours necessary for the survival of the farm? just their product sales was enough and a bit more to sustain itself and the people running it.

i think there being a specific number to provide for might even be a false concept.. yes, small business and big business are both business, but when you're selling the idea of a business and calling it commercial, and what people are getting is a marginally adequate hobby that's in need of supplement income to survive... you're just giving them a small scale personally subsidized hobby farm... it's sad that the tri-croppers need government funding to survive because it is now cost-ineffective to grow corn, wheat and soy, the basic staples of our daily diet these days, at least a third party is picking up their tab with subsidies. 

so, to an extent i do agree with some of the naysayers that only a few aquaponic farms have actually reached an actual, not idealized, commercial level where the sales of building and collecting from satellite farms or selling knowledge wasn't a part of the farms survival, though there is a difference between survival and profitability, which is would those farms still survive without having to supplement income with technically unrelated revenue streams from the growing of food... where i differ from the naysayers is that commercialism is possible on the scale of not needing extra income, because i've seen a farm stand on it's own two feet with slim profits, which means it not only provided to run itself, but make extra money. now if an aquaponic farm of large scale could be built and managed to provide not only for itself and the jobs it provides but also the profiteer without them having to labor, then that's what i'd consider commercialized. i've seen it work, and with a bit more product diversity could have done worlds better, so it is possible... but what im currently seeing is more money being made by selling the dream, rather that living it.

and i'm quite aware of the benefits of buying local... but if we all only bought local products, even in just the realm of food, people in arizona would have a hard time finding milk and people in ohio would never taste oranges... it's a pretty idea and looks good on the surface... but it's fundamentally flawed... and really that concept is only sustainable in the places that practice it most... the reason it hasn't stuck to the midwest is because if we all switched to local produce only we'd starve in the winter. if we all switched to the concept of buying all things locally, the computers we are communicating through would be too expensive to afford due to all of the middle men... the quest for cheep products pursued by fickle shoppers has led to the demise of small business, big business just provided the solution.

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