Aquaponic Gardening

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Who has the best commercial aquaponics training course?

Also, I watched some videos from Santa Cruz Aquaponics on YouTube, but can't seem to find any contact information about them? Does anyone know?

Thanks, Kim

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Does anyone have information on Friendly Aquaponics. I would rather enjoy getting training and certified if possible to work in this field, however I am hearing a lot of negatives about the farm. Has anyone taken a course, thru Friendly or any other trainers. What was your experience, is it recommended; or is there another way. I am knowledgeable in the field and looking to further my training and in search of a job until my farm can be competed. Thanks for the assistance.

From what I have heard is run don't walk away from them. I have no direct experience with them but look up Damon Polta or Claude Michael. Damon is on the other forums, BYAP, PAP and APHQ. Claude Michael has a webpage.

Both of them had very bad experiences with them

Whatever you do, always question the bottom line.  Anyone considering commercial aquaponics needs to understand exactly what their product will be: is it education (i.e. teaching, etc.) or produce.  Realistically there are very few commercial operations in existence able to operate without subsidizing their income with education income.  Are the people teaching engaged in aquaponics?  If so, what portions of their net and gross income are derived from education versus agricultural products?  This is an important thing to understand.  I would also be wary of taking courses from folks engaged primarily in the analysis of other people's commercial systems as opposed to running them themselves as they may not have a intimate knowledge of the business or the long term prospects for the businesses they analyze.  I'm not saying that these types of education are not useful or worth the money- there are just too many variables and too little knowledge to take one system and dump it somewhere new and expect it to work.

Remember that anyone engaged in education on commercial aquaponics should be willing and able to show you their books and explain exactly where the money comes from and where it goes.  Always ask about marketing and markets and how that variable will change given your location, as well as costs (i.e. heating in northern climates versus cooling South Texas).

Oh, and don't forget that many operations rely upon income and/or labor from unpaid or paying interns- an unsustainable business practice for most people. Labor is a huge cost that will really get you in the end.

I agree Peter, AP will always struggle unless traditional production constraints are overcome.  That's one reason that there aren't any AP businesses (that I know of) operating longer than 5 years (with sole funding coming from production).  With vertical production we're beating the averages pretty consistently though- I think we've about got it figured out.

Peter Shaw said:

I have talked to Chris several times but since I am peter and he is Chris I will not try to speak for him, but it was lots of issues, not one or two. (He is going to make a presentation to my class and offer his insights)

CA F&G is complicated, I talked to several folks last week and Tilapia may have a place in confined areas (greenhouses) in all of CA, but then again maybe not. It is my understanding that they are working on ideas.

Central CA is not an easy place to complete with outdoor production, especially lettuce. We are in the salad bowl of the world, well okay, maybe the US, but lettuce production may decline with increasing costs of water and the value of other crops. Then throw in the cost of fish systems other than tilapia and you are on a possible crash course with your banker.

Perhaps I am coming to the conclusion that this system works in Australia because they cant grow outdoors and ship like we can here. Then again, are there any really large commercial aquaponics companies with 5 yrs of history there either? It might also work in Hawaii, Florida and Texas for some other reasons, but not where its really hot or cold and you have produce grown outdoors organically without heating or cooling costs.

well i personally have 3 ---- 3000 square foot systems and a manufacturing lic, from the state we carry multi million dollar insurance and we sell every week for the last 22 months straight, also have  hand picked several students who now are on there way, it is the hardest thing to do,,, remaining dirt under the fingernails is what makes us rea lHere at seeing is the truth , this is not for everyone it is very hard to do!!!! blessings and the truth is what we sell, besides the highest quality foods to the hands of people, we do not sell to the big box, although we can, i did not make my farm to partner with the man,,, loyal to the bone here, we plant everyday 7 days a week,, my name is adam harwood framer producer and designer and builder og the lilypad farm system designed off the uvi system it works and so do we!!!!!!!! ...

That's great Adam- you've got a really cool operation.  However, it does look like you're doing some education business as well as operating a store- (a great idea by the way).  It's an example that there are very few production-only businesses out there.  The reality is that most folks have to find ways to supplement their income from produce.  

Not here our students get the real story and open and frank sharing of the day to day, never a day not on the farm or in the market selling ,,, we live where we work, we also employ a certified journey man butcher for the last 17 months ,, he cuts skins and packs 45 lbs a day everyday ,,, we average 1450 fish am month, and 4800 plants every 24-33 days, holy basil batman!!!!

I'm not saying that you don't run a great business, or supply an excellent service.  I believe you have a great operation and probably teach your students a great deal about the business.  I'm just noting that you also sell things through your store and offer classes.  Again, absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it is another income stream that supplements farm income (I'm assuming).  This is the norm.  No one that I know does only production.

I've been watching your videos by the way.  I'd love to tour your site if I'm ever down in your neck of the woods.

Yep, great system Adam...


How much are you producing each year... and what's your annual turnover?


Are you paying yourself... and or any staff??

the store has not made much nor the training it has been up for several months and the student side is hard to deal with thats why we hand pick the students. there is almost no income from this it is a infant for income,  i know what you mean, 99.9 percent want training income, it is  complicated at best and not for everyone, i am honest, that s our moto, the production speaks for itself, the teaching is not easy and very time consuming,  So with that said others who teach  DO NOT  Farm,

RupertofOZ said:

Yep, great system Adam...


How much are you producing each year... and what's your annual turnover?


Are you paying yourself... and or any staff??

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