Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Are you interested in growing commercially?  Do you already grow commercially?  This is the place for exchanging ideas and experiences, and making new contacts in commercial aquaponic agriculture

 

You might also consider joining the Commercial Aquaponics discussion group for lots more information and discussion

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We have been working a great deal on a business plan for an Aquaponic based business. Have thought about it a great deal here where we live now in So California. But, have also considered doing it in NW Ohio, LIma specifically where our kids and 1 year old Grandson lives. It make so much more sense in Ohio because of their high cost of produce in the grocery stores and what is in the grocery is shipped in from Mexico or South America. We just got back from there and the produce was horrible. It makes so much sense especially when the future cost of fuel will affect shipping costs of produce being transported 2000+ miles. Just consider all that produce is usually picked before it is ready and then gassed with chemicals just so it can make the journey. It is amazing how much produce could be grown in a small greenhouse say the 30'x50'. Problem for us is getting the funding to do this, we are just poor Realtors hammered by the So Cal economy! Anyone want to invest :)
Aloha Jeff,
Aquaponics has huge potential in colder regions now, due to current research here on the Big Island of Hawaii by Friendly Aquaponics.Their research project is producing biogass with farm wastes and using the biogass to run a generator, which will help power the farm and heat from the generator can warm greenhouses. This is very simple technology and could make it economic to operate aquaponics greenhouses very far north. Friendly Aquaponics system designs improve on the UVI technology.They offer the best training available because they operate many systems and are making a living doing aquaponics on a large level...Friendlyaquaponics.com
Christopher,
With a 1200 gal tank you can have lots of grow bed space. If you want to go commercial I would recommend that you use the floating raft system. There are MANY advantages over gravel beds. Most gravel beds can easily be converted to rafts. As far as bugs go, you can use woven row covers supported by PVC. This can save the huge expense of building greenhouses. The woven cover allows 90% light and 75% air transmission depending on the brand. You can see an example in my photos. Also check out Friendlyaquaponics.com

christopher john muns said:
i'm also in the planning stages of a commercial aquaponics system. so many ideas, i about can't contain myself.i have an exsisting koi pond about 1200 gal. i think it will be perfect. already cycled, for yrs. in fact.going to start on a smale scale. one bed at a time. i'm kinda concerned that it won't have a greenhouse over it for awhile. were in central fl. and bugs are relentless. already destroyed some of my corn this yr. oh well. ok well maybe this will not be considered a commercial system yet. not until i have perfected my art anyway. consider it a test system or reasearch there ya go research system.
So, I'm starting to write a business plan, but I'm having difficulty finding a good template. Anybody got a good one they can share? I'm in Texas, so I won't be competition for you if you're elsewhere. :-)
I would like to do it commercially but keeping up with all the planting is a chore. I am investigating what plants would be easy to grow and have the best chance of selling. So far I have decided that ung choy, watercress, and celery are the most prolific growing plants. You can't stop them. I now have to get up enough systems. I also want to spread the word about aquaponics. I think I have talked at least 2 people into building a small system. One of the people said to me that she found a container to use as a tank on craig's list. Yea I said and it cost $200.00 doesn't it. She said yes how did I know. I look at craig's list all the time. I then told her I could get the same thing for $25.00. I really feel good about being able to show people how they can save money. You need a lot of contacts. I don't have enough but I do have a few. So I hope to be able to help her get a small system up for very little money. Maybe this is my lot in life. I do get a lot of people to come and look at the systems. Sometimes I think I am a little stupid to begin these things at my age and then I realize that if I don't do things that I enjoy and have a passion for what is life for anyway. Not that it matters but I will be 70 in Nov.
we are growing commercially here at KP's Simply Fresh (www.kpsimplyfresh.com) We have a 20'X30' nursery and a 50'X100' greenhouse. we are raising talapia as our fish and a variety of lettuce, herbs, and peppers. i try to keep the website updated, but sometimes i fall behind. we have been doing this for about a year now and i am still amazed by how much i still have to learn. our systems was purchased from Nelson and Pade. We are using a floating raft system with a couple of media filled buckets. we are in the process of putting in some NFT in the open spaces that we have. We have just started marketing and have a couple of grocery/health stores that we supply, along with a local farmers market.

i will not claim to know everything, but i can try to answer any questions about my system that anyone would like to ask.

christopher
kp simply fresh
Thanks for jumping in there and volunteering to answer questions as a true professional grower, Chris!

Christopher Meunier said:
we are growing commercially here at KP's Simply Fresh (www.kpsimplyfresh.com) We have a 20'X30' nursery and a 50'X100' greenhouse. we are raising talapia as our fish and a variety of lettuce, herbs, and peppers. i try to keep the website updated, but sometimes i fall behind. we have been doing this for about a year now and i am still amazed by how much i still have to learn. our systems was purchased from Nelson and Pade. We are using a floating raft system with a couple of media filled buckets. we are in the process of putting in some NFT in the open spaces that we have. We have just started marketing and have a couple of grocery/health stores that we supply, along with a local farmers market.

i will not claim to know everything, but i can try to answer any questions about my system that anyone would like to ask.

christopher
kp simply fresh
Thank you for an excellent and informative post along with your offer of help re "Questions".

Would it be too much to ask some details of the "business plan" that includes the actual cost of system (some listed on aquaponics.com), the costs of the greenhouses and the various components. Cost of land is not really a factor here as that naturally varies depending on location. What would be of interest however is the overall size of your land, keeping in mind current production and future per your Business Plan". I am also trying to learn realistic marketing plan / strategy as well as sale prices of vegetables. Any plans of applying for USDA Organic Certification.

I am based in Central Florida and face a totally different climate than you. The overall "Business Plans" for Commercial Aquaponic Systems however should not differ that much (excluding land cost), so this information will certainly assist in deciding whether this is a project that is economically viable for me and my family.

Thanking you in advance and I will fully understand if you chose not to answer any of the requested "questions" :-)


Christopher Meunier said:
we are growing commercially here at KP's Simply Fresh (www.kpsimplyfresh.com) We have a 20'X30' nursery and a 50'X100' greenhouse. we are raising talapia as our fish and a variety of lettuce, herbs, and peppers. i try to keep the website updated, but sometimes i fall behind. we have been doing this for about a year now and i am still amazed by how much i still have to learn. our systems was purchased from Nelson and Pade. We are using a floating raft system with a couple of media filled buckets. we are in the process of putting in some NFT in the open spaces that we have. We have just started marketing and have a couple of grocery/health stores that we supply, along with a local farmers market.

i will not claim to know everything, but i can try to answer any questions about my system that anyone would like to ask.

christopher
kp simply fresh
as of the end of may 2010 we have exceeded $300,000 in total expenses. at this time i do not have the current prices in front of me on individual components. we are situated on 17 acres of land, but the greenhouse only comprises a 50' X 100' plot.
we have NO intention of going USDA certification at this time. we encourage the public to come out and take a look at our facilities and any and all wholesalers/commercial accounts also.

christopher
Thank you Christopher for this information.

$300,000 already spent..WOW! That is way out of my league and puts me in doubt as to even going forward in such a venture. What a barrier to entry. I thought that this was supposed to be an affordable business venture to consider, or that is the impression that I was developing after reviewing the information and mission of "Morning Star" and "Friendly Aquaponics". Looks like I need to rethink this whole issue. Do any other members have any other "real world" data they could share as regards potential capital budget for a small local commercial aquaponics business venture?

I guess it is just your personal choice as to "NO intention of going USDA certification at this time". In all my research so far, I have concluded that such a certification opens numerous marketing channels and as such would be a major asset if one was to persue Aquaponics as a commercial venture. Guess I may have to rethink this too.

Thank ou once again. I do like your Commercial business name and your web site. Very informative :-)

Christopher Meunier said:
as of the end of may 2010 we have exceeded $300,000 in total expenses. at this time i do not have the current prices in front of me on individual components. we are situated on 17 acres of land, but the greenhouse only comprises a 50' X 100' plot.
we have NO intention of going USDA certification at this time. we encourage the public to come out and take a look at our facilities and any and all wholesalers/commercial accounts also.

christopher
First of all, I have been gone awhile, but glad to be back here online and learning. Just thought I would throw in my two cents worth. We have looked at a lot of different business plans, some for the same location and some in very different locations. Costs of build out will vary greatly due to considerations for weather, extreme exposure and many other factors. Costs will also vary greatly on the type of systems that you build and the reasons for picking one system over another vary greatly as well. Costs will also vary greatly if your the do it yourself type vs. paying contractors.

Living here in the desert in Southern California we have an interesting set of circumstances to deal with. If we built greenhouses like our friends in the midwest or Canada all we would have is cooked fish and plants. The temperatures in those greenhouse could easily reach 140+. Our growhouses would probably be more of a hoop house frame with shade cloth only. With the warmth of the water we could easily protect the fish and plants from our coldest nights in the winter. We only frosted over night twice in the last 5 years. We also have high winds we have to be concerned about so that has to be taken into consideration in construction of the frame. Also, our UV concentration is extremely high, we would need to use at a minimum 75% shade cloth, plus run what we call a swamp cooler (evaporative coolers) to increase the humidity. For over 90% of the year our humidity is less than 15%.

I still want to do this commercially! The future is now for this concept. And, by the way Chris Smith, I enjoyed meeting your Father when he came out hear to buy some Tilapia. Sounds like you have him hooked :-)
i am not trying to tell anyone that they shouldn't get into aquaponics/greenhouses. i do believe that this is the future of feeding the planet. let jeff stated it depends greatly on a number of factors. We decided to go with the most advance system that we could find. unfortunately we did have to contract out a lot of the work in order to keep our other business running and let that business supply the aquaponics with the capital that was needed. i believe we spent around $80,000 on contacting (electrical, plumbing, landscaping, construction, etc). again like jeff stated i am in the upper midwest, we average around 100" of snow per season so my greenhouse was built to withstand that. in florida i am sure you could use a different house that wouldn't cost as much.

i was not trying to scare anyone away, i was only giving the numbers that i have available to me.

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