Hello folks, thanks for your time.
My name is Jon Parr, regular here on the site and aquaponics enthusiast since 2009. I have run classes and consultation through Fishnet Aquaponics in Santa Cruz, CA since 2010, and started Viridis Aquaponics in July 2013. Viridis is an 8 acre greenhouse, currently 1 acre built out for aquaponics, 3 more of hydroponics. I parted ways completely with Viridis recently and have started a non-profit company called SchoolGrown.
I am devoting all my time and experience to SchoolGrown. The overall idea is that SchoolGrown will install and maintain all operations of a 30' x 60' greenhouse at no cost or obligation to the school. The teachers, staff, and students will have full access for as much or as little as they wish to participate. I understand that teachers are taxed for time and resources, and want to not burden them any further. Some teachers and student bodies will jump in and own this project, and others will not. I expect that, and either extreme is planned for. Teachers and students will have first dibs to participate in seeding, transplanting, harvesting, feeding, and maintaining the system. Local college interns will coordinate between the teachers and are responsible for the project through a credited internship. Paid SchoolGrown will coordinate between the interns and a CSA program to get the food into the homes of student families. The sales/donations of the CSA produce will pay for the program and future expansion of more greenhouses in more schools.
In an ideal scenario, teachers and kids do all the duties of an aquaponics farm, while learning water chemistry, biology, ecology, business, and so much more. The interns make sure the kids are doing well, organize curriculum, and coordinate CSA shares. In a less than ideal setting, the teachers or kids of a particular greenhouse may not support it, or may be distracted with other lessons. No problem, it just leaves more work for the interns. Paid staff make sure the teacher/intern relations are operating, and ultimately are responsible for all operations if everyone comes up MIA. During the summer, the college interns will be offered a paid internship.
The families supporting the CSA model will pick up their weekly produce boxes when they pick up their kids, saving them a trip to the grocery store and saving "food miles". The greenhouse will kick out over 50 full CSA boxes per week. There are over 100,000 schools in the US, and I aim to fill them all.
Please give me your feedback, criticism, concerns, support, and advice. If you want to be a part of the program, I expect it to get big quickly, and I will need tons of help. It is a non-profit company, but we are all working hard to make a difference and will be paid properly for our roles. All proceeds from CSA, workshops, trainings, and so on will go entirely to the NP, without exception.
Who's with me?
Well folks, just a quick update on SchoolGrown.
We have been busy getting all the details of running a non-profit done, and are staging to get busy building school sites. We have all our corporate paperwork and insurance done, and 501c3 pending. Our Half Moon Bay hub, an 8000 sq ft glass house adjacent to Ouroboros Aquaponics, is filling up with fast. We have a demonstration there of the school model, and several thousand square feet of experimental area. We are setting up a micro-biology lab there soon as well, to corroborate with the food safety industry and government agencies to do some sorely needed aquaponics documentation.
The first LEAF greenhouse, a 30' x 60' powerhouse of aquaponics, will be built at San Lorenzo Valley High School in Felton, California next month. We will document this with some video to share with you all how it comes together.
More later, thanks all.