Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

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

Views: 4075

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

"Yes, yes...he turned me in to a newt, and floats like a duck to boot"!...

I understand some of the concerns raised, and honestly, I've done some things and turned down some 'deals' (AP related) recently, that looking at it from a "business mindset" probably seem silly (or downright stupid/naive).

I'm going to refrain from commenting much directly on what is, or isn't, going on in the US as the business of AP coagulates into whatever form that it will take. Since I am so far removed, and have not attended any classes of any sort...ever...I could in no way validly comment neither positively, nor negatively. It's no secret that my world view and perspective is very anti-capitalist in nature, anti-business, and most importantly (though it all goes "hand in hand")...anti-hierarchical.

I supremely value horizontal power structures (and knowledge is power) where people freely give of their time and share their knowledge freely in the hopes of creating an alternative to the 'market forces' which currently govern our lives, our ecology, and our economy. Every action I take, every idea/thought I pursue or exclude, I try very hard to do so coming at it from that perspective and place. And doing so...is not all it's cracked up to be (financially anyways). We all need to eat bread. And I can only hope that those (the people I respect anyways) who are entering into the "racket" of commercial training courses, are doing in order to transcribe upon their students, all that is within their capabilities to arm those students with the necessary tools to be 'successful'.

Of coarse there will be scammers, in it just for the scam. The other day I typed the word "aqauaponics" into my Google search field and was appalled. Literally. Totally fucking ridiculous what is being sold, and the marketing methods which are being used to sell it. I expect such trash to will quickly fall to the wayside, being exposed for what it is. Personally, if my geographic location wasn't what it was, there are some courses that I would attend, and people that I would gladly support with my money in a heartbeat...regardless of weather or not the instructors have been making a living selling AP produce and fish for the last 5 or 10 years or not. Others, I would not 'waste' the time attend if you payed me. These are just personal bias' of mine. And to be fair, just because someone attends and graduates a business (or any other) school, does not necessarily mean that, that person will go on to be a successful businessman (or engineer, or lawyer or whatever). Though I'm sure all of us 'joe-six-pack-worms' here who are totally out of the loop, can only hope that the "school" does not become an entity interested only in shamelessly perpetuating itself for the sake of perpetuating itself, having lost sight of it's more noble origins. Sorry for rambling guys...

"...a newt?"
"Well, I got bettah"

I guess I can jump in on the shameless self promotion too!  No, not really, not my intention but there’s a few points I’d like to make.  Rupe, I’m not even going to address your comments because as far as I can tell they are only your assumptions or at least they are if you are lumping my farm into your comments as you simply do not know squat about my business. We’ve had this conversation before so I’m going to take the “you know who you are” exclusion comment to be me.  Thanks.

But actually I share your frustration on some levels Rupert.  It’s obvious that there are a lot of new commercial courses out there and I’m sure more will pop up.  I just hope that each do so with the intention of providing high quality info to prepare people to farm and not because of another motivator like a financial adviser’s recommendation.  There’s a tremendous responsibility that comes with teaching people how to create and manage a business and those that do it need to be cognizant that this is not a backyard training that may mean a weekend project and a few hundred bucks.  I shudder at the thought that people may think they are prepared after taking a class that falls short and are perhaps considering a second mortgage on their home or dipping into their kid’s college tuition to fund a farm.  The future of this industry and ap farming is contingent on each and every farm’s success, the more that are well prepared, the more ticks in the success column.  As it is even though there’s some excellent options out there, we still unfortunately often hear stories of failure before the farm even had a chance.  For example, I received this email not too long ago:

Dear Gina,

So happy to hear back from you!  I would have loved to come to the class in Denver that is coming up but I couldn't come up with the enrollment fee in time. :-( I have been dumping all my money into the construction of the green house and the grow beds before I came across your website. I have already built the greenhouse and beds. Got the fish tanks in and have the fish stocked in the tanks. My beds are cycling now and I have a few plants growing. I have done all this without help lol. Now I'm getting a little scared because I know nothing beyond this point. That is where I found you. I really am needing advice to know if my layout is good. How I can market my production. Some fish advice, growing advice and just how to make sure I'm doing everything I can to make this a profitable operation.

Crap!  This guy is doomed before his farm even had a chance.  Or how about the one that said he’s maxing out every credit card he owns to build the farm and thinks he’ll be turning a profit with his first harvest.  Sad and unfortunate, but realistically for every farm that gets a good start, I fear there is one getting a bad one.  This is why we offer the classes we do and present very real and also very conservative numbers and the tools for people to make their own informed decisions, but certainly not inflated numbers or bs.  I hope most considering ap farming do not approach it the way these two examples did but do their due diligence and consider taking a recommended class.     

I take very seriously what we do in that we are presenting a road map so to speak on how to replicate what we have found to be successful. However the fact remains that despite how much information we provide, there is a huge variable we cannot control and that is the student or future business owner’s input.  As trainers we can give every shred of knowledge and experience we have gathered and send them out with the hopes that they will take that info and turn it into a successful venture.   But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think most failed ap ventures can be chalked up to the business side of it failing, not ap.  I think with both the correct education and willingness to work your butt off, small farms can absolutely be a viable small business.  I can’t speak for large scale ap production and as of right now, I don’t know any that I would call large scale and successful.  That still remains to be seen.  However can a farm be managed with minimized overhead with one or two owner ops or an employee or two and produce a fair living?  Yes.  Are you going to get rich farming?  No.  I have yet to meet a rich farmer, conventional or otherwise.  The reality is that small conventional farms are a casualty of an ever changing industrialized agricultural landscape and without diversification;  these small farms too fail.  However along with that changing landscape, I firmly believe that there is now a market for small AP farms capable of minimizing overhead, streamlining processes and with an excellent marketing plan. 

At least there is this forum where folks can share experiences about the courses they have attended and potential farmers can make better informed choices about what classes to take.  And if they can, then take several as there are some great options out there.

Thanks for posting the link Brent and Jon, Alex and Ken for your kind words and reviews.  If anyone else has taken a class, ours or otherwise, speak up! 

gina it is adam harwood in texas, keep up the numbers, you are only worth what you grow every day  ,,, the training is a problem as you can tell, so out farm them and do not waste your good energy.  www.globalaquaponics.net 

    nothing shameful here or there adam harwood 512 667 8100 always farming, positive is how we live..   

Gina Cavaliero said:

I guess I can jump in on the shameless self promotion too!  No, not really, not my intention but there’s a few points I’d like to make.  Rupe, I’m not even going to address your comments because as far as I can tell they are only your assumptions or at least they are if you are lumping my farm into your comments as you simply do not know squat about my business. We’ve had this conversation before so I’m going to take the “you know who you are” exclusion comment to be me.  Thanks.

But actually I share your frustration on some levels Rupert.  It’s obvious that there are a lot of new commercial courses out there and I’m sure more will pop up.  I just hope that each do so with the intention of providing high quality info to prepare people to farm and not because of another motivator like a financial adviser’s recommendation.  There’s a tremendous responsibility that comes with teaching people how to create and manage a business and those that do it need to be cognizant that this is not a backyard training that may mean a weekend project and a few hundred bucks.  I shudder at the thought that people may think they are prepared after taking a class that falls short and are perhaps considering a second mortgage on their home or dipping into their kid’s college tuition to fund a farm.  The future of this industry and ap farming is contingent on each and every farm’s success, the more that are well prepared, the more ticks in the success column.  As it is even though there’s some excellent options out there, we still unfortunately often hear stories of failure before the farm even had a chance.  For example, I received this email not too long ago:

Dear Gina,

So happy to hear back from you!  I would have loved to come to the class in Denver that is coming up but I couldn't come up with the enrollment fee in time. :-( I have been dumping all my money into the construction of the green house and the grow beds before I came across your website. I have already built the greenhouse and beds. Got the fish tanks in and have the fish stocked in the tanks. My beds are cycling now and I have a few plants growing. I have done all this without help lol. Now I'm getting a little scared because I know nothing beyond this point. That is where I found you. I really am needing advice to know if my layout is good. How I can market my production. Some fish advice, growing advice and just how to make sure I'm doing everything I can to make this a profitable operation.

Crap!  This guy is doomed before his farm even had a chance.  Or how about the one that said he’s maxing out every credit card he owns to build the farm and thinks he’ll be turning a profit with his first harvest.  Sad and unfortunate, but realistically for every farm that gets a good start, I fear there is one getting a bad one.  This is why we offer the classes we do and present very real and also very conservative numbers and the tools for people to make their own informed decisions, but certainly not inflated numbers or bs.  I hope most considering ap farming do not approach it the way these two examples did but do their due diligence and consider taking a recommended class.     

I take very seriously what we do in that we are presenting a road map so to speak on how to replicate what we have found to be successful. However the fact remains that despite how much information we provide, there is a huge variable we cannot control and that is the student or future business owner’s input.  As trainers we can give every shred of knowledge and experience we have gathered and send them out with the hopes that they will take that info and turn it into a successful venture.   But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think most failed ap ventures can be chalked up to the business side of it failing, not ap.  I think with both the correct education and willingness to work your butt off, small farms can absolutely be a viable small business.  I can’t speak for large scale ap production and as of right now, I don’t know any that I would call large scale and successful.  That still remains to be seen.  However can a farm be managed with minimized overhead with one or two owner ops or an employee or two and produce a fair living?  Yes.  Are you going to get rich farming?  No.  I have yet to meet a rich farmer, conventional or otherwise.  The reality is that small conventional farms are a casualty of an ever changing industrialized agricultural landscape and without diversification;  these small farms too fail.  However along with that changing landscape, I firmly believe that there is now a market for small AP farms capable of minimizing overhead, streamlining processes and with an excellent marketing plan. 

At least there is this forum where folks can share experiences about the courses they have attended and potential farmers can make better informed choices about what classes to take.  And if they can, then take several as there are some great options out there.

Thanks for posting the link Brent and Jon, Alex and Ken for your kind words and reviews.  If anyone else has taken a class, ours or otherwise, speak up! 

It is a most interesting thread.
All I can say is that I very much enjoy delivering training.  It is good fun as well as an awesome responsibility which me and my team take very seriously. Our next US training will be end of Feb 2013 at Ouroboros Farm and the beautiful Stillheart facility. (as someone said earlier...a shameless advert)  Not only will the AP content at our seminar be world class, but so will the facilities and the attendees be world class.   Meeting with others of like mind is a wonderful part of these events.

I have been delivering training in Australia and the US for more than 4 years and am always striving to improve the methodology and the content.  I have had the pleasure of working with many of the AP worlds notable folk and met so many wonderful people along the way.   We all learn as we go, it it would be very silly of anyone to claim they know everything.  Some comments in this thread are just a little humorous in that regard ..... 

My advise is to get as much knowledge/information as you can, weigh up the evidence, choose a path and go for it.  Your chosen path after the training, watching the DVD's, reading the books might be to stay with your old job, or to launch into a new AP adventure, be it in the back of the house yard or on a farm.

What we should all remember is that it is a big world and there is room for everyone to practice Aquaponics in their chosen way.  The charlatans will always be with us in every walk of life...unfortunately.  Don't spend time with the negative folk, they will always be able to find a way for it not to work.....whatever it is.
Murray

Gina, we have had several private discussions.. some of which have been asked to be in confidence... but I think it can be fairly said.. that even when I raised my initial concerns regarding "commercial training"... that I held you above many others as someone, and basically the only one at that stage.. who was trying to  "walk the walk".. rather than just talking the talk...

 

And I have seen you actually confirm many of the concerns I raised in your subsequent blogs... questions related to the scale beyond which a one, or two person operation could extend... the value of certain fish species... and "flaws" in the machine...

 

But those same concerns remain... even with the new model.... which, even if untentionally.. is promoted through current training.. as a commercial model... or as having some "proven" commercial benefit...

 

As to knowing "didley squat" about your business... welll I might not know your actual finances... but I do read your blogs... watch your videos, and those that others post about your operation....

 

And do so through the prism of my past experience and knowledge of scale, number of holes, labour intensity, plant species, yields, growth times and crop rotation periods, costs and price return points... etc etc...

 

As I do for most... and any "commercial operations".... that I find.... (no personal attack on you or anyone intended)....

As such I don't think that I'm making too many assumptions....

 

But hopefully, if the chanting hasn't begun... the petrol been poured... and the match struck....

 

I can clarify, and explain my objections.. so that they're both understood... and debated... as I think they should be...

 

Manyana... I need a few hours sleep...

@Jon.... "none of the classes mentioned here paint an unrealistic picture of the viability of commercial Aquaponics."

I think I did say that I didn't believe that the training was being presented as a pathway to commercial success....

 

But the viability of commercial aquaponics... is still, as above.... being held out.... even if unintentionally.... as possible.. based on a "model".... which I just believe to be flawed...

 

More to come.. hopefully...

Agreed, Rupe, and more to come indeed.

RupertofOZ said:

@Jon.... "none of the classes mentioned here paint an unrealistic picture of the viability of commercial Aquaponics."

I think I did say that I didn't believe that the training was being presented as a pathway to commercial success....

 

But the viability of commercial aquaponics... is still, as above.... being held out.... even if unintentionally.... as possible.. based on a "model".... which I just believe to be flawed...

 

More to come.. hopefully...

@Jon Parr - I'm wondering if this is the same greenhouse you made a video of that used a 30 GPH pump to move water through a large raft system. When I saw that I concluded that I could reduce the size of my pumps. 

I have had one raft on a small 18W pump for several months.  So far it seems to be doing well.  Just yesterday replaced a 2000 GPH pump in a different system with a 13W - 200GPH pump.  This change will save about $1.00 a day!

But since Santa Cruz Aquaponics made some odd decisions, and ran into problems I wonder if this amount of water is actually enough.



Jon Parr said:

Santa Cruz Aquaponics, according to some rumors and local experience, simply never made a profit. They had exactly two items. Water cress and carp. Carp doesn't yield much for profit anyways, and the water cress had sales for only about half of production. The biological filtration was apparently never sufficient, and regular water changes were required. They had some striped bass, too, but disease led to some toxic treatments, leaving the bass in pretty bad shape. electricity was also a major expense, in part because they got 20k lb of food all at once, and placed it in the greenhouse. Heat and humidity threatened to spoil it, so they built an AC cooled room around it, INSIDE the greenhouse. I tried to have a look and purchase any remaining assets, but the GH owners are uncooperative, wouldn't let me see and wouldn't tell me yes or no as to whether there was any fish, equipment, or plants left behind. I'm guessing the GH owners are going to have a go of the AP business, and they don't want help or company. Something a little shady going on, I felt.
 
No Bob, different GH entirely, and vastly different AP deigns. Santa Cruz AP was a copy of Growng Power, whereas the GH in my vid was a FriendlyAP style DWC raft set up from San Diego. They could not have been more different. I think I said 30 gph in the vid (repeating the caretaker's words), but looking at the flow it looks more like 30 gpm. Even so, that would still have been less than one FT water change per DAY, not per hour.

The actual amount of water you need to turn over depends on so much more than simply one FT volume for hour. I've said before, it's as good a rule as any as a starting point, but it can be tweaked for sure. What fish, what density, what water temp, what media type/size, solids removal, what feeding rate? All huge factors. Even how the water is moved is a factor. I've got a buddy who moves 300 gph on 5 watts of air, and aerates while he's doing it.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2020   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service