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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Help me change the world one block at a time.

My concept is simple and elegant: Grow food that's 100% organic with no pesticides, no fertilizers, and no GMOs. I have been a backyard aquaponic designer / grower for over 2 years and have invested my money in equipment, products and building materials. My goal is to design zero-net energy, organic, aquaponic greenhouses that will be built on parking lots and unused land in urban environments. This system allows for the production of a variety of fruits and vegeatables as well as fresh fish and shellfish.  My hope is that these greenhouses will be able to convert city blocks from barren land to year-round food production plants.  A significant number of these greenhouses could also reduce CO2 emissions in the city.  I am located on the beautiful California Central Coast with a climate ideal for plant production. I plan to have approximately 300,000 sq. ft. dedicated to growing  vegetables. I am building a state-of-the-art production facility, ensuring consistent and superior quality. The facility includes IBT containers, gravity irrigation , environmental controls, solar powered pump and fan system and solar water heating. The ability to develop this project would be an amazing opportunity.  The possibility of making  fresh, healthy foods more available to urban citizens while reducing greenhouse gasses.  Your donations could be the beginning of the success of a project intent to make the world a better, healthier place for all.

You are invited to become a sponsor of this ambitious project at my donations page here:

This produce will also be sold locally, giving our community access to healthy produce. It is important for people everywhere to produce their own, healthy food. Our system provides fresh organic food and fish. No chemical pesticides go into the environment to produce it and no fossil fuels are used to transport our food across highways or oceans. We produce enough food ourselves so that we have a surplus available for sale at our local farmers market. Aquaponics truly is farming of the future.

Aquaponics is a closed-loop system in which plants are fertilized by fish tanks, and the plants filter the water that will be returned to the fish tanks. Captured rain water allows us to grow produce using aquaponics, an aquaculture system where this water is used to grow plants hydroponically. While using water eight times more efficiently than traditional farming and with up to three times the production capability. I anticipate we could have as many as 4,000 plants growing at one time and can expect to grow about 40,000 heads of lettuce per year. 


This is important to the community because there are still hungry people who go to bed with out eating. Also there is a growing concern for water management during a California drought. Lastly, this is important to the community because many people don't know what products at the store are truly organic and wholesome. Vegetables such as kale, tomatoes, basil, lettuce and spinach can be grown in the middle of winter and sold locally. Over half the costs of fresh produce is transportation and spoilage. By growing all the produce locally, we eliminate the expense of shipping cost. This lowers the carbon footprint on a massive level when perishable items need to be shipped long distances.  Also, there is a growing concern for water management during the ongoing California drought. 

Aquaponics101: Aquaponics is the term for combining hydroponic gardening  (growing plants in water) , with aquaculture (fish farming). Fish are raised in tanks. The waste water is pumped from the tanks to a filteration system, and then to the growing beds, where the plants absorb the nutrients, cleaning the water so it can be pumped back into the fish tanks. The only water loss comes from evaporation. The produce is certified as 100% organic, and uses NO synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Aquaponics is the merging of two agricultural methods; Hydroponics and Aquaculture. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a soil-less medium, using water to deliver nutrients to the roots of plants. Aquaculture is a method of growing fish in tanks. Aquaponics uses the best aspects of these two methods to grow plants and fish. Basically, you need a container for water and fish, and a container for plants, and some method of circulating water, nutrients, and gas exchange. Usually, two or more tanks are used. One holds fish, and another holds the plants. The water is pumped to the tanks, and drains back to the other. This circulates the fish waste to the plant roots, clean water is fed back to the fish, and aeration is added wherever needed. We believe these growing methods are cleaner, faster, and more water efficient than conventional agriculture. Soil-borne pests and diseases are non-existent. Warm-blooded pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella are not found in fish or fish waste, and thus their threat is minimized. Aquaponic growing generates more food per square foot, and does NOT use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, or GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

This can be a true game changer for 60 B Ag business. California is in the middle of a multi-year drought that has impacted farmers, fallowing hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. During a normal year, the Central Valley Project provides enough water to irrigate 3 million acres of agricultural land. Last year, farmers only received 20% of their allotment. The lack of water is not just worrying for growers. It affects all people who eat food. One third of the nation's produce is grown in the Central Valley (Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley) and the deep water cuts mean that more than half a million acres of crop land will be left unplanted. Some scientists predict California's drought could last as long as a century. I believe I have a better method of producing food.

  • Immune to Drought: uses 5-10% of water of traditional Ag business
  • Better return on Land: 2x to 4x the output per acre
  • Reduced labor costs
  • Reduced transportation costs
  • Farm - to - table: Public is hungry for fresh food 
  • 100% NO GMO's: No Montasanto crops
  • No Pesticides: controlled growth in greenhouses
  • No Herbicides: No weeds, no Roundup necessary 
  • No Fertilizers: Fish provide all of the necessary nutrients
  • No tractors, irrigation, or storage required as with traditional Big Ag


Aquaponics Facts:
AQUAPONICS USES 90% LESS WATER THAN CONVENTIONAL FARMING DOES!

AQUAPONICS IS ENERGY-EFFICIENT: IT REQUIRES ONE-THIRD OF THE ENERGY OTHER FARMING SYSTEMS USE!

AQUAPONICS HAS EIGHT TO TEN TIMES MORE VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IN THE SAME AREA AND TIME!

LABOR IS REDUCED AS MUCH AS 40% AND MANY USEFUL BYPRODUCTS ARE CREATED THAT CAN BE USED TO FARM OTHER CROPS, TREES, SOIL, WATER AND ENERGY!

A PERMACULTURE INSPIRED SYSTEM PRODUCES ALL OF THE SYSTEM's NEEDS (WATER, ENERGY, FISH FEED, HEAT, ETC.) ON SITE!

PRODUCTS OF THE SYSTEM INCLUDE; SOLAR ELECTRICITY, HEAT, FISH, PRAWNS, VEGETABLES, AQUATIC PLANTS, ALGAE, SNAILS, WORMS, FERTILIZER, EVEN METHANE GAS!

Biz plan:


  • Use Modular, small-footprint design using off the shelf materials
  • Easy to assemble and duplicate
  • Scales from small to massive
  • Solar powered and solar heated design
  • Can be placed on or off the grid
  • Low cost start up costs that can use un-farmable land in urban areas
  • The design of the system is elegantly simple and cost-effective
Costs and expenses:
Approximately 50,000 per year

Labor: 10 employees for a large scale urban farm

Land: Approx. 1 acre w/ adequate sun

Water: Minimal

Electricity: Minimal




Thursday, March 19, 2015

Aquaponics to set a world standard in sustainable food production.

Aquaponics to set a world standard in sustainable food production.

All About Aquaponics
What if there was way to produce an abundance of organic food using 90% less water, while producing up to ten times more food in the same amount of area and time? What if you could achieve this using 1/4 the amount of energy, in a system that does not require fertile soil, saves you labor, makes you a good living and is incredibly sustainable? Well the exciting news is that such a system of farming exists! It's called Aquaponics and is a combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics. It is one of the most sustainable and productive farming system in the world! Sound too good to be true? At a time of global climate change, depletion of resources, pollution of water and huge losses of top soil worldwide, there has never been a more important time to learn about Aquaponics.


Now entering its fourth year, the drought in California is so bad that NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti warned that “the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.” Record heat has made this the worst California drought in 1200 years.


Water is at the heart of Aquaponics. Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable and productive farming systems in the world. It combines Aquaculture and Hydroponics to create a truly self-sufficient closed loop system that uses only a fraction of the water, labor, energy, etc. that other methods use. Aquaponics creates an even more sustainable, dynamic, productive & regenerative system.


Aquaponics is a truly sustainable closed loop system that provide all the needs for the system that produce virtually all of the system's needs (water, energy, fish, feed, heat, gas, etc.) onsite! Products of the Aquaponics systems include; Solar electricity, Solar heated air, Solar heated water, fish, prawns, vegetables, fruit, aquatic plants, algae, minnows, snails, worms, dry and liquid fertilizers, even methane gas! 


Aquaponics systems can produce eight times the food as the same square footage on land, with one-twentieth of the water (if not less), partly because the plants get all the food and water they need, and none of the pesticides or fertilizers. Gravity-driven loops mean very little energy is needed to power a simple, single pump. No crops require rotating, because the water does the circulating. Thanks to its elegantly simple circulation loops, it uses 10 percent of the water of conventional ag. 

Let that fact sink in for a minute:
Aquaponics systems uses only 10 % of the water regular gardening does.


Because the water is continuously re-circulated. The roots of your plants are continually submerged in nutrient wealthy water. 






Aquaponics Facts
AQUAPONICS USES 90% LESS WATER THAN CONVENTIONAL FARMING DOES!

AQUAPONICS IS ENERGY-EFFICIENT: IT REQUIRES ONE-THIRD OF THE ENERGY OTHER FARMING SYSTEMS USE!

AQUAPONICS HAS EIGHT TO TEN TIMES MORE VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IN THE SAME AREA AND TIME!

LABOR IS REDUCED AS MUCH AS 40% AND MANY USEFUL BYPRODUCTS ARE CREATED THAT CAN BE USED TO FARM OTHER CROPS, TREES, SOIL, WATER AND ENERGY!

A PERMACULTURE INSPIRED SYSTEM PRODUCES ALL OF THE SYSTEM's NEEDS (WATER, ENERGY, FISH FEED, HEAT, ETC.) ON SITE!

PRODUCTS OF THE SYSTEM INCLUDE; SOLAR ELECTRICITY, HEAT, FISH, PRAWNS, VEGETABLES, AQUATIC PLANTS, ALGAE, SNAILS, WORMS, FERTILIZER, EVEN METHANE GAS!






Saturday, May 3, 2014

Turn your backyard into a working farm: Scott Henley - Pasadena CA.

Turn your backyard into a working farm. 

Published on Feb 24, 2014

Scott Henley wanted to prove he could turn the backyard of his modest Pasadena (Los Angeles) home into a working farm. To turn his 8000-square-foot backyard into a productive farm, Henley turned to aquaponics- a combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics: "This is a very efficient way to grow things in a small space. And it also produces a protein source."

He farms tilapia because they breed fast. The fish waste is broken down in the water by naturally-occurring bacteria into nitrate. The plants take up the nitrates as food and the now-cleaned water is fed back to the fish and the process begins again. The only inputs are sunlight and fish food. It's an inherently organic system because any pesticides would upset the natural balance of the small ecosystem.

After less tha 2 years in operation (he started in the summer of 2012), he- through Whisper Farms- now sells enough produce to restaurants, CSAs and at the local (Altadena) farmer's market- to cover all costs and produce a small profit. His "experiment" is still not productive enough to create a salary, but he hopes that will change once he's able to sell his fish and create more of a cooperative setup with other farms (to reduce the permitting costs for selling at farmers' markets).

Filmed by Johnny Sanphillippo -- more of his stories about urbanism, adaptation & resilience: http://granolashotgun.com/  
Original video: http://faircompanies.com/

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to build an IBC aquaponic system.

 
How to build a really simple IBC aquaponic system using a minimal amount of tools.
Do you want to build an aquaponics system using cheap recycled materials? You’ve come to the right place. Here at Santa Cruz Aquaponics we have a simple aim, to help as many people as possible set up their own aquaponics system. So in helping people do this we’ve tried to provide in depth information about IBC’s and about the different ways in which people have used them in aquaponics
We also have step by step instructions, parts lists and pictures of many different IBC aquaponic systems. You can download "The IBC of Aquaponics" an interactive pdf manual on building IBC aquaponics systems for free from here:
 http://ibcofaquaponics.com/files/IBCofAquaponics.pdf

Totally free, over 180 pages of information. 
www.backyardaquaponics.com

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Aquaponic Science Project Update

Hello everyone, and Happy Earth Day. The lettuce and basil plants are beginning to sprout and I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl over the prospect of enjoying some fresh garden salads soon. I will keep you posted.
This is the basic idea for a aquaponic container: It's called an IBT.

IBT with a grass skirt. Don't ask.

Pipes lead to a two-stage filter unit and pump.

Lot of lava rocks for the plants.
The lettuce and basil plants are beginning to sprout.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

275 gallon IBT container tanks came today.

We received the fish tanks today, two 275 gallon IBT containers. Nice and clean, ready to fill them up once we get a pad on the ground.





Thursday, March 27, 2014

What is Aquaponics?

What is Aquaponics?

  Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. It is a concept that mimics mutually beneficial natural systems. Vegetables and fish grow together: the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaponics is a sustainable, self contained, closed loop food producing ecosystem. Aquaponics systems are becoming very popular across the world, with many small to medium size aqua farmers starting Aquaponic systems in the backyard. Aquaponic systems use a cycle of symbiotic relationships: the fish feed the plants with it's waste products, and the plants support the fish by filtering out the waste and using it as fertilizer. Aquaponic systems uses no chemicals, requires a fraction of the water that is normally used in field crop production. With California facing extreme drought this year. Aquaponics could save the California AG industry! The fish supply nutrients to a bed of plants (called Grow Beds), and plants clean up the water that the fish live in, making a mutually beneficial environment. No chemicals are added what so ever. The only thing added to the system is food for the fish.
  • Aquaponics produces ten times more crops in the same amount of space
  • Aquaponics uses 75% less energy than almost any other farming method
  • Aquaponics is free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides
  • Aquaponics require 1/2 the labor necessary of other food production methods
  • Aquaponics eliminates weeds, pests, and diseases for fish and plants
  • Aquaponics can range in size from desktop systems to commercial farms
  •  Aquaponics uses 90% less water than conventional farming methods 
  • The symbiotic relationship is efficient and sustainable
An aquaponics system is made up of a tank containing your fish of choice, and a series of grow beds for vegetable production. The fish water is pumped to the grow beds, and is evenly distributed by a simple system of pipes. The fish water feeds the plants, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and other green leafy vegetables, then filters through the grow bed that is filled with gravel/round river stones, finally returning to the fish tank by gravity or by pump. The water is returned to the fish tank cleaned and ready for use by the fish. And so the cycle continues. It is totally organic.


Aquaponics is a balanced, self-contained eco system that works, a natural balance is achieved. Earthworms can be raised to feed the fish and the earthworm compost is used in other parts of the garden or perhaps planter box gardens. The worm farm is fed on excess vegetable material from the aquaponic system. The plants perform essential filtering functions, the solid waste removal, and bio-filtration. Once the system is initialized, the water stays Ph balanced and remains crystal clear. The water is basically recycled, with a small amount of water added weekly to compensate for what is lost by evaporation, and transpiration by the vegetables. Aquaponic systems use about 10% of the water required for traditional gardening. Aquaponics is the future of commercial food production.
Planter Grow Bed
Planter beds provide better plant support and are closely related to traditional soil gardening. The cost of building the system is lower because there are fewer components, and it is easier to understand and learn. The industry standard is to be at least 12″ (300 mm) deep to allow for growing the widest variety of plants and is made of food safe material.