Aquaponic Gardening

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A Novel Way To Introduce Aquaponics To People

I was reading the blog by Kobus about marketing.  I was trying to visualize what I wanted to market anyway.  I spent 10 years selling the fruits from my trees to the flea market here in Hawaii.  I suffer from severe  burn out from people trying to get my produce for less than nothing.  The thought of having to go out and sell my vegetables and fish makes me want to run away.  Every time someone comes and asks me what am I going to do with the fruit of my labor I am lost.  Yet when I get to show my systems to people I am filled with enthusiasm.  I get so excited I am beside myself.  I know this is the way for people to go.  Yet I really freeze up if I think I will have to market this.  It is a bit nuts then that I keep building systems.  I love to give my produce to people when they come.  I take it to work for my coworkers yet I hesitate to sell anything.  Still my mind keeps saying "What are you going to do with all of this?"

I experienced something this Sunday that really helps to clear up this question in my mind,  My new WWOOFer, Diana introduced me to a web site called Meetup.com.  She is a vegetarian mostly raw foods.  I don't have to feed her much she just eats the fruits on the trees and the veggies on the aquaponics.  Anyway she asked me if I wanted to have a raw food meet up.  I said sure why not.  So she arranged it.  I figured no one would come as I live out here in Waianae which for some reason has a bad reputation.  She happened to mention that it was on an aquaponic farm.  This was the clincher.  About 20 people showed up including the women who were making the IBC tank into an aquaponic system.  They were excited about the aquaponic systems.  I spent the whole afternoon giving tours and explaining everything.  It was very stimulating to say the least.  One older couple had a system they had bought and starting growing things.  They were amazed that I could build a system for so little money.  The food every one brought was wonderful and it was a glorious experience.  I guess you  want to know what that has to do with what I want to market.  It became very clear to me that I want to market  aquaponics itself.  I want to show the people I come across how easily and cheaply it can be done.  I want people to get as excited as I get when I harvest the food.  I want people to experience the fun of raising fish in a big tank.  The joy of having them slap water on you as you feed them.  This one man said that he was told that you don't need to put water hyacinth on the top of the fish as I do.  That really made me think.  i told him no he didn't need to do that but I want my fish to be comfortable.   Isn't that silly comfortable fish.  But I really feel that way.  I think the fish enjoy the plants.  They are shade, food, a place to hide for the little ones, and when they bloom they make my heart sing.  Call me a silly old lady but I want my fish to be comfortable.  The man said well maybe I should buy some.  I filled up a bag with hyacinths and gave them to him and we both were happy.  Now he will have comfortable fish.  

I can't explain my love for this thing called aquaponics I can only feel it and it feels joyful,  exciting, wonderful and spiritual.  Yes I want to market aquaponics in a way that everyone can participate.  I coined a phrase for my thoughts about this:  START WHERE YOU ARE, USE WHAT YOU HAVE, SCROUNGE FOR THE REST

                     LOW BUDGET AQUAPONICS FOR NON ROCKET SCIENTISTS     


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Comment by TCLynx on January 31, 2011 at 3:07pm
Comment by Nick Rizzo on January 28, 2011 at 8:12pm
Very Nice Raychell you are right aquaponics is a wonderful way of life. I feel the same way about all the food I raise. When I bring my dinner into work everyone asks me did you grow those or is that the chicken that you raised. I say yes with pride and it might even cost me a little more to grow them but I know what they ate and how we cared for them Fish, Chicken, Veggies, doesn't matter. There is the pride factor and being able to share with folks.
Comment by Terry Clark on January 27, 2011 at 1:37pm

WOW, So many of us on the same page, it's scary.  look what happens when like minded people get together!  Together we could feed the world! in the deseret or in the rainforest, we just need to work together and share our ideas.  what works and what doesn't.  If you love what your doing its not a job, be passinate  :)  about what you do and live life to the fullest

Terry

Comment by Green Acre Aquaponics on January 26, 2011 at 8:52pm
Nice Raychel!  You verbalized how aquaponics can touch people in so many different ways.  Thanks!
Comment by Sahib Punjabi on January 26, 2011 at 6:51pm

Wonderful Raychel :-)

 

You have expressed so easily in words feeling that are have been bothering me for some time...by God's grace, I do not have to rely on the potential income from Aquaponics...so why is there an occasional urge to set up a "commercial" operation? Just to prove to myself that I can? Crazy! I really enjoy this "way of life" that was recently revealed to me and I honestly want to excel in it and experiment and research various growing means via Aquaponics and share the results of my experiments & research. I get a real kick out of sharing my produce and talking about Aquaponics...sometimes I feel that I may get labeled as "that crazy guy who does something with fish and food". That's just fine...so long as I can change just one person to this "way of life".

 

Keep up the excellent posts. I love them :-)

 

God bless, 

Comment by AlbertF on January 26, 2011 at 2:08pm

Almost 2 years ago I started on Aquapoincs after reading an article in the Honolulu Weekly.  I found classes on AP over in Waimanalo and signed up.  Since no one did it, I started a forums dedicated to sharing information on how-to and where-to-get.  Since then I've been trying to turn it into a part-time consulting business but at the heart its still a place for people to share information.

We've had a few meetups and it really is nice to put a name to a face, learn new stuff, and share food.

Looks like you are on the same path I am on, but on a different street!    :D 

Comment by TCLynx on January 26, 2011 at 10:41am
ya could move to Milwaukee and set up at sweetwater?  I know, just kidding, ya would freeze your tootzies off
Comment by Chi Ma on January 26, 2011 at 10:26am

Sounds like you have found Eco-tourism.

 

I'm thinking about starting an AP club. No selling anything except some memberships. If i can find a site that will let me house all the AP stuff I will get this thing started. Membership to keep the place running and the right to put sweat equity in to harvest fish and plants. Might work might not. We'll see:)

 

Comment by Kobus Jooste on January 26, 2011 at 9:21am
In a seperate but related train of thought, I have very much come to the same conclusion, albeit down a slightly different set of steps.  First, with nobody around me really knowing a thing about what I am doing, the first phase of marketing is not the product but the method.  Nurseries have stopped stocking vegetable seedlings here now because of the lingering drought.  Now is the time to actually invite people over to come and have a look at my system.  Only problem is it is such a hybrid thingy. Perhaps I should set up something similar.  Any case.  The first actions for me would be awareness before any thoughts could float off about selling systems or supplying components.
Comment by TCLynx on January 26, 2011 at 8:34am
Right On!

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