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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Thanks Jon.  Very kind words.

It would be great to work together in the future... you'll have to let me know when you're a free agent again.

Wait, how are you able to delete your post?  I don't have that option after 15 minutes passes.

Howdy,We were at the (uvi) center for a time, we built our first system in nov 2009 , slightly more than 1/2 of the full system @ st.croix, now we have 1 1/2 full - systems , we built this ourselves, 9,000 sq feet,  working since 2010 we are feeding over 8,000 fish and can float 5400 cups per rotation. 3"net pots . yes 3" net pots.. we grow mature and large produce, herbs, fruiting plants, decorative flowers, fish manure side business, fish fillets sold retail only. We have been operating a 1.5 full system for some time now..Ask any question you might have. 

       we are farming near  every day. "keep up the numbers" ! Adam

Matt Sandoval said:

I went to the University of the Virgin Islands this past summer. There they have a full scale system, a new Director and are planning the build out of several systems. They also have a  biofloc system on site. The flight wasnt $600 bucks from California, the hotel was 400 bucks, plus the class it self. Well worth it to see the Actual grandfather system. Don furnishes you with a CD containing all the details of Aquaponics and the full lecture. Often imitated but I havent seen replicated to full size.Plus the islands are so beautiful. Totally worth the trip and expense.

That sounds great Adam!  

It seems all the experts on this thread went to  the University of the Virgin Islands  and that seems to be THE place to learn about aquaponics.  www.uvi.edu

adam harwood said:

Howdy,We were at the (uvi) center for a time, we built our first system in nov 2009 , slightly more than 1/2 of the full system @ st.croix, now we have 1 1/2 full - systems , we built this ourselves, 9,000 sq feet,  working since 2010 we are feeding over 8,000 fish and can float 5400 cups per rotation. 3"net pots . yes 3" net pots.. we grow mature and large produce, herbs, fruiting plants, decorative flowers, fish manure side business, fish fillets sold retail only. We have been operating a 1.5 full system for some time now..Ask any question you might have. 

       we are farming near  every day. "keep up the numbers" ! Adam

Matt Sandoval said:

I went to the University of the Virgin Islands this past summer. There they have a full scale system, a new Director and are planning the build out of several systems. They also have a  biofloc system on site. The flight wasnt $600 bucks from California, the hotel was 400 bucks, plus the class it self. Well worth it to see the Actual grandfather system. Don furnishes you with a CD containing all the details of Aquaponics and the full lecture. Often imitated but I havent seen replicated to full size.Plus the islands are so beautiful. Totally worth the trip and expense.

I'll always be a free-agent, Jesse. I made that requirement very clear to Cosmo when I signed on, and later to Green Acres. Unless you know otherwise, I'm still part of the Planet Stewards teaching team, potentially a part of the Green Acres team, and most certainly very focused on my own training workshops as well right now. I have over a dozen workshops on various aspects of Sustainable Living in December at my place here in Santa Cruz. Check them out at www.fishnetaquaponics.com (loving this shameless plug thing). You don't know it yet, but I'm trying to schedule a workshop here in January with Glen Martinez and you and Molly. You game? Knowledge should be shared, and I gather as much information from wherever it may be gleaned, giving credit where credit is due.

I personally think that training workshops are a great thing, for all involved. The trainers should make a good living, and the students should get a great education, and value for their buck. I personally know first-hand that Green Acres delivers that value, and I can't say the same for any other past class I have attended. Sorry, but that is true. Gina and Tanya make their living in aquaponics produce. It sounds like Adam does this as well. And I am sure Ouroboros will prove the same in time, however I accredit their success to Green Acres training, and a dedicated, hard-working, determined crew. I wish Ouroboros the best, call them my friends, and will do whatever I possibly can to help them along their exciting journey. I suppose a share of credit goes to Friendly AP in Hawaii, as they did much of the work to transcribe the UVI principles into a cheap, quick method of building raft beds that makes the whole idea commercially viable. My own system uses FAP style troughs, with a Barrel-Ponics style media bed, and a flow-through recirculating wicking bed.

While I agree that most commercially successful concepts stem from UVI, UVI themselves are not commercial, and do not to need rely on selling produce for their success. That's a huge consideration for those interested in a commercial course.

Btw, Jesse. There is a small "x" in the upper right corner of each of your personal posts. Clicking it will delete the comment, but you may not edit it after 15 minutes. If you really want to stick it to someone who says something rude or wrong, reply to their comment directly and it will be quoted in your new comment. They can only delete their own.
Isn't everyone going to say "my course" or "the one I went to!"?
Pretty funny thread to read...everyone's pitch in one place :)

Easiest answer? Do your own research, look at pictures, talk to past attendees and make sure they are capable of providing what you need out of a workshop.

There are many examples of "commercial" aquaponics operations touted...that have either failed outright... or are based on grants, fundings... and/or are not for profit organisations... or other tax related structures...

But very, very few... actual proven, or prepared to provide "proof" of production and commercial viablity operastions...

There are a few exceptions, and you know who you are...

But the rest are basically structured as a "train the trainer"... or almost pyramid "Amway" style operations.... or are even actually selling the "plans".... training others to duplicate a "model" ... 

A  business model that has me fundamental flumoxed...

I know I'm often seen as a heretic... and the inner circle no doubt would like to burn me at the stake...

And I might be one of the few that is prepared to challenge the current state of "commercial aquaponics"... but I'm not alone... and many others (you know who you are) privately agree,, and share similar dismay...

And it's often suggested that I'm trying to "damage" the burgeoning aquaponics industry....

But far from it.... I actually do want to see aquaponics in everyones backyard.... and I do believe that aquaponics could well be a future and succesful commercial food production method....

But currently... the industry is... even allowing 50% as well intentioned.... the other 50% remains burdened and potentially denegrated by hype, hyperboyle, marketing spin... spurious and unsubstantiated claims... questionable "pseudo-science".... downright nonsense.... and/or.... outright bullocks

hello, to all, the man is correct, very few of us are the real deal,

 this is my life's work, i have no grants or subsides .

 try not to be fooled, we here sell every week we also cut fish 25 days a month and have a fertilizer business.

 we live where we work. We pay our bills and we can show our students the truth about aqauponics, all of satudents can have full access to the operations side of things, that is part of the real deal here.  we farm near every day and have for over 30 months, we do not sell plans we sell hands on. then you get the ongoing relationship, we must have, thank you for making this a grat thread, i started a new blog , re production... 

Go on with it,,,,

  There are lots of folks just wanting to sell the idea, and the whirlwind profits, we here share in the troubles and the glory, no system is to small,

    This is going to take years before it is mainstream, Academics is a huge part of this, Dr R, at UVI spent 30 years of his life at st croix, CharlieS spent 12 years , and Don Bailey is still there, we are students all the time,

    come here and get wet and dirty. thank you Adam

Ryan , proof is tin the production we here have all th records and the proof of production, today we will float plants feed and make fillets, keep up the numbers, i have had 114 training requests. We have only allowed 16 to come and 2 have built there own Live where you work concept sytems that sell food, it can work out,  ps we are farmers first ,and then teachers next. hope you hear us, thank you for th insughts, you are dead on target... adam harwood 512 667 8100 cell

Ryan Chatterson said:

Isn't everyone going to say "my course" or "the one I went to!"?
Pretty funny thread to read...everyone's pitch in one place

Easiest answer? Do your own research, look at pictures, talk to past attendees and make sure they are capable of providing what you need out of a workshop.

Wow! This old thread has become really interesting...And thanks Rupert for adding the element needed to aid the dialectical process this type of discussion will hopefully nurture. (Unless of coarse people allow it degenerate into "personal" attacks, "burning at the stakes" and other totally useless, un-constructive "bull-shit".

Rupert, I am ignoring most of your accusations and insults, primarily because my understanding is you have never attended any of these trainings, certainly not the Green Acres training, so you are ranting about something of which you have no first hand knowledge.  I do, however, not want to let stand that I intended to "slur" academics who have put critical work into advancing this industry.  That was absolutely never my intent, and if it was interpreted that way then it is my fault for using unclear language.  I have the deepest respect for Dr. Rakocy, Dr. Lennard, Charlie Schultz, and others.  I have spent time with them all and I consider them friends.  My intent was to strictly to point out that one criteria for selecting a commercial farming class should be what the ultimate goals of the student are...and I agree 100% with Jon that if you have the opportunity to take multiple classes, DO!  A course taught by UVI, or PhD students that have come out of that environment, will give you a deep grounding in aquaponics that will help you to address problems as they arise and understand in depth what is going on with your system.  It would be invaluable.  Green Acres is more of a hand-on, vocational program that teaches very practically how to build and successfully operate a system, and how to market and sell your produce.  It is taught be people who already make a living doing this. If you plan to run a small family farm it is also invaluable! 


RupertofOZ said:

I find it even more curious that the post above seems to imply some "slur" against academics... when most of the above "trainers" have been happy to include such academics either in their training... or other material... to accrue some credence and credibility by association...

On top of which, constant denigrations  and slurs are posted with regards to current (highly successful) commercial aquaculture and hydroponic industries... that have engagd, and benefited from decades of academic research and development...

Burn him! Buuuurn hiiimmm!

Rupe, you are my favorite character on the whole forum. You are an authority in Aquaponics, and I love how you can keep things grounded, and at the same time stir shit up.

And Ryan, of course all involved will pitch their own, no harm in that. I'm sure AES puts out a great workshop, and I kick myself for not taking an extra day to visit your place. I was at Morning Star, and you're only a few minutes away.

I kind of regret getting involved in this discussion, since I value the input all posters here have contributed, and friendships are most important to me at the end of the day, especially friendships among competitors.

I'll make one point again. I read articles, posted on forums, built and experimented, and asked questions, and at some point I figured my waning construction biz could be replaced by the growing AP biz. Not the teaching, or the products, but by the food production. I am still convinced. If it weren't for the constant chore of bringing in my daily bread, I think I would have a producing farm by now. Damned grind. Anyway, I am convinced. Vlad is going down that road, too. Rupe, you've already been down that road, and may someday go again? I can list at least a dozen others, some successful, some not, that are traveling that road right now. But what can't be denied is the army of those interested in taking that road. I think MOST of the GA class I attended had not even built a home system, and yet they still enrolled in a "commercial" class, and benefitted greatly from it. I didn't ever see myself taking an Aquaponics class, having learned all there is to know on the forums. But, chance rolled favorably, and the next thing I know I'm in Florida. I had a great time! I learned, I taught, I can't say enough good things about the experience of getting together with like minded folks and sharing ideas. That was an unexpected bonus. I have a good time wherever I go, that's for damned sure, but the AP company has been especially solid.

And Rupe, none of the classes mentioned here paint an unrealistic picture of the viability of commercial Aquaponics. It is tons of work (Adam will pitch in 6 more times for me on this one, farm ever day, srac..., live where you work :), with little if any reward, but a good kind of work. I don't ever expect the money to flow in AP the way it did in construction, but I don't expect the stress level either. Point is, catch a class if you can.

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