Farming methods have changed many times since man planted the first
seed in the ground 10,000 years ago. Most recently, the Green Revolution has transformed farming and dramatically increased farm productivity by using genetically engineered seeds and by applying chemical fertilizers and pesticides. But we are now seeing a backlash to these techniques due to the adverse environmental and health effects of these technologies and chemicals and a corresponding surge in interest in organic, sustainable farming practices and techniques. Enter the Aquaponic Farm Revolution. Aquaponics is a growing technique that takes advantage of the tremendous efficiency of hydroponics, but uses the waste product of fish as the organic source of plant fertilizer in a recirculating environment. The plants, in turn, filter the water in which the fish live.
Aquaponics uses 90% less water then is used in traditional soil-based agriculture, and aquaponic farms can be established anywhere there are people in need of fresh produce – even in parking lots and abandoned warehouses. And through aquaponics, farmers automatically have sustainably-raised fish that they can harvest and sell alongside their produce.Green Acre Aquaponics in Brooksville, FL has both pioneered this growing technique and has created a profitable aquaponics farm model that integrates six different growing techniques (deep water culture, media-based, nutrient film technique, vertical stackers, vertical towers, and wicking beds) in a single hybrid farm system to supply the demands of their ever-changing local market as efficiently as possible.
“Just because something can grow that way doesn’t mean it should grow that way” Gina Cavaliero, Managing Director, Green Acre Aquaponics
These techniques and the technology that underlies them, as well as farm business management and marketing concepts explicitly tailored for aquaponic farms, will be taught during two back-to-back, four-day courses June 15 - 18 and June 20 - 23. The hands-on, farm sessions will be held at the GrowHaus, a non-profit urban farm and market in the heart of a Denver food desert community known as Elyria-Swansea. Here the Green Acre’s Aquaponic Farming Course approaches aquaponic farming education from all angles with the hands-on approach at the farm and detailed aquaponics and business education in the classroom. The goal is to have course students walk away with all the knowledge they need to build, start, and run their own successful, profitable aquaponics farm.
The Green Acres teaching team is comprised of three aquaponics professionals with a unique blend of aquaponics farming experience, industry leadership, and business experience. The course is led by Gina Cavaliero, the Managing Director of Green Acre’s Aquaponics Farm and the current Chair of the Aquaponics Association. Prior to forming Green Acres, Gina was the founder and CEO of a highly successful construction firm in Florida. Gina is joined by JD Sawyer, founder of Colorado Aquaponics and the aquaponics farm at Denver’s GrowHaus, and the director of the 2012 Aquaponics Association Annual Conference in Denver. Prior to forming Colorado Aquaponics, JD spent eight years as the Director of Operations at Johnson & Wales University. The third member of the teaching team is Sylvia Bernstein, author of “Aquaponic Gardening: A Step by Step Guide to Growing Fish and Vegetables Together” and the founder of The Aquaponic Source. Sylvia is the former Vice President of Marketing and Product Development for AeroGrow International.
For more information, or to register for the course, please go to http://www.FarmRevolution.com.
Gina Cavaliero, Managing Director
Green Acre Aquaponics
When: April 21st 10:00am - 2:00pm (Tours will begin on the hour with the last one starting at 2:00pm)
What: Aquaponics Association Tour de Tanks
Where: Flourish Farms at The GrowHaus, 4751 York St, Denver
Why: To get people interested and excited about aquaponics
The Aquaponics Association along with hobby, community and commercial aquaponics enthusiasts around the US are opening their doors during Earth Week to show people the exciting and innovative way that we love growing food. By combining fish and plants together we get more to eat, an excellent protein source, highly nutritious, chemical free foods, that produce zero waste and conserve natural resources. Come check out our home and community-scale aquaponics systems, growing food for our families, local restaurants, markets and providing some nutritious food options for a neighborhood considered a food desert.
So many exciting things
happened in 2012. We started the year by acquiring a commercial
aquaponics farm in Arvada that we called Flourish Farms. Throughout the year we
grew tons of fantastic vegetables, culinary herbs and tasty tilapia which were
sold to restaurants and farmer's markets as well as donated to enrich meals for
children and elderly who wouldn't otherwise have much access to fresh produce.
It was so great to meet our customers every week and hear about their special
dinners prepared with our food. We even got to taste raw tilapia done ceviche
style, served up at Harvest Week Dinner at GrowHaus by Brandon Foster from
Vesta Dipping Grill. It was fantastically good (although I wouldn’t have ever
tried making tilapia this way, they are super fresh and we know where they’ve
The spring Koi sale, brought
in a bunch of Koi enthusiasts who took home many bright and beautiful koi to
make their ponds sparkle with color and character. These fish love people and
put on a show every time someone walks near the tanks. We will have another Koi
sale this spring for more opportunities for some really amazing premium quality
Workshop, tours and special
events at the farm brought visitors from down the street and around the world who
enjoyed the beautiful colors of the greenhouse, the frantic feasting of the tilapia
and koi, and the fresh flavor of just-harvested farm produce. Denver Botanic Gardens
Urban Farm tour made a stop at Flourish Farms along with several school groups,
and scouts meetings. The kids especially love to plant, harvest and try tasting
things in the greenhouse. Kids seem far more likely to eat kale, chard, lettuce
and even mustard greens when they get to pick it themselves. A group of African
delegates also paid a visit to learn the innovative techniques of aquaponic food
production with minimal water consumption.
In June we received news that
GrowHaus would be completing renovations of the greenhouse over the summer, a
dream almost three years in the making. We began planning and designing the
commercial scale aquaponics system along with Gina Cavaliero of Green Acre
Aquaponics. The GrowHaus completed its renovations in late August, and the
Colorado Aquaponics team got to work in 100o temperatures, building
out the new aquaponics system. We couldn’t have completed this project without
the help of family, friends and the internet community through Kickstarter
funding. Thank you all so much for making a difference.
September brought hundreds of
aquaponics addicts (and we mean this in the nicest sense of the word), to
Denver for the 2nd Annual Aquaponics Association Conference.
Participants had the opportunity to tour Flourish Farms and the GrowHaus as
well as Sustainability Park, then hear from experts and pioneers alike through
the conference presentations. It was an informative, mind expanding weekend.
October brought Gina back to
Denver for the Green Acre’s Aquaponics Farming Complete Course where over a
hundred people joined JD, Gina and Sylvia in the Farm Revolution. It is
rewarding to find so many people excited to help solve food quality,
availability, localized production, greater self-reliance and environmental
change through aquaponics.
November we completed
production at Flourish Farms in Arvada, and moved out just after Thanksgiving.
It was a whorl-wind weekend, of moving several hundred fish, but every one of
them made the trip without casualty (except for the ones that became the
celebration dinner, and man were they tasty).
December gave us a bit of
pause to reflect on an amazing year, finish a wide variety of projects at
GrowHaus, create schedules, procedures, cycle the system and get everything in
place for an abundant and productive 2013. Our motto this year is Growing More
Greens in 2013. Come check things out any Friday during the GrowHaus Farm Tours
from 10am to noon, learn more about aquaponics at one of our many workshops or
purchase some of the freshest, nutrient dense vegetables, tasty culinary herbs,
or hand fed fish throughout the year at GrowHaus.
New aquaponics farming system helps cities and drought-stricken regions
JD Sawyer left, and his wife Tawnya Sawyer, of Colorado Aquaponics, harvest chard, Monday September 10, 2012, in Arvada. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)
Anurban farm aimed at providing food for an economically disadvantaged northwest Denver neighborhoodis drawing widespread interest because of its unique techniques.
GrowHaus — co-founded by Adam Brock who works in partnership with JD and Tawnya Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics — uses an aquaponic growing system.
The basic components of the system are a greenhouse containing tubs of well-fed fish and a water-circulation system that runs under the plants or beds of produce. Fish waste is treated within the system and converted to nutrients, which feed the plants. The plants absorb the nutrients and purify the water, which is then recirculated
Bibb lettuce is harvested at GrowHaus. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)
back to the fish tanks.
GrowHaus is using the method — which uses an estimated 10 percent of the water used by traditional agriculture — to produce chard, kale, mustard greens and basil, which are distributed within the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood where it is located.
Though the project initially started as a way for the neighborhood to get cheap, healthy food, it is drawing broad interest as a model for urban- and water-saving agriculture.
"I think one of the great things about GrowHaus is the fact that people come here from all over the world," said Tawnya Sawyer. "We are always impressed and amazed about the number of different nationalities that come to this location to understand what urban farming looks like and what water conservation looks like."
Sawyer said she is working with U.S. tribal nations interested in their farming techniques and has visited with many people from other nations who visit GrowHaus.
Additionally, the city of Denver has requested a feasibility study on setting up such a system at the county jail.
Steven Newman, a professor of Floriculture at the Colorado State University's Greenhouse and Floricuture Extension, said aquaponics combines two
Adam Brock is director of operations. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)
important elements for today's society and can conceivably expand into urban areas as well as American Indian lands and Third World countries.
Aquaponics, he said, is a great water-saving way to grow food locally — an increasingly important issue as people seek to reduce their carbon footprints by eating food grown closer to home and focus on bringing healthy food to struggling communities.
Equally important, Newman said, is the social aspect. Such operations have the potential to provide an important place for women in Third World countries to work and socialize while providing food for their communities, he said.
The Sawyers alternate between their urban greenhouse farm in Arvada and the GrowHaus, but say they
Waste from tilapia fish is used to feed plants in the aquaponic operation. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)
will soon work completely from the GrowHaus, which is expanding.
Howard Pankratz:or firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more:New aquaponics farming system helps cities and drought-stricken regions - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_21576497/new-farming-system-helps-cities-and-drought-stricken?IADID=Search-www.denverpost.com-www.denverpost.com#most-popular#ixzz26way8GpC
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To all the wonderful people who contributed to this project. We couldn't have done this without the help of people like you interested in making a difference for people, food and the environment.
We Appreciate Your Support
September 4th was a very exciting day for Colorado Aquaponics. It was a little over two weeks into the commercial construction project at the GrowHaus, and the day that so many people helped make our Kickstarter campaign a success (it was also JD's birthday). A good day to celebrate all around. So much work has happened to renovate GrowHaus, plan the system build, purchase materials from local merchants, gather resources, and construct the commercial aquaponics system. It is rewarding, humbling and incredibly exciting to have so many people engaged in this project to help build a model for sustainable urban food production. We want to THANK EVERYONE, whatever your contribution: money, time, well-wishes, shares and likes, blog posts and a wide variety of other expressions of support. There is still much to do, but easier to get the job with the help of community.
Many, many thanks to Gina Cavaliero of Green Acres Aquapoincs (and Tanya for handling the farm in her absence). We look forward to seeing this hybrid system design come to life with abundant fish and vegetables.
Special thanks for the efforts of the tireless team of staff, volunteers, interns, and work-study participants. This team has worked early mornings and long days, endured intense heat (greenhouse without environmental controls), and patiently completed tasks that required strength, endurance and complicated problem-solving. Thanks so much to Shawn, Rick, Terri, Avery, Holly, Clay, Byron, Thomas, Douglas, Justin, James, Steve, and so many more.
Thank you to the many Kickstarter contributors, who have helped make this project a reality. Your contribution is more than financial, it is social and environmental and something to feel very proud about. There were a total of 149 backers through Kickstarter and several dozen others who helped outside of the crowd-funding platform. A number of contributors have asked to remain anonymous. Click here for a complete list of contributors.
Check out the video and project information at Kickstarter
The Colorado Aquaponics team is excited to announce that we have launched a crowd funding, kickstarter campaign
to give a large audience of people the opportunity to be a part of a very innovative and important project at the GrowHaus this fall. We are building a commercial scale aquaponics system modeled after the Green Acres Aquaponics system in Florida to provide fresh, chemical free food for the neighborhood, green job opportunities and education. This project has been in the works for almost 3 years, and the greenhouse renovations are almost completed. Now is the time to make the system a reality. So if you have ever visited the GrowHaus, (or plan to at the Aquaponics Association Annual conference Sept 21-23), then you will see the amazing progress happening to transform a neighborhood considered a food desert, into a vibrant urban farm and market. Read More....
Before and after pictures of the GrowHaus space. The original building was constructed in the 1950's and had been abandoned for many years. It was purchased in 2009 with plans to make the space into a lush, green, growing environment to provide food for the local Elyria/Swansea neighborhood. Aquaponics was chosen because it grows both protein and produce in one system, reuses the byproduct of one species to fertilize another, creating zero waste and prohibits the use of agrochemicals. Aquaponics also conserves water which is critical in Colorado as it is around the world. We believe that aquaponics is one piece of the puzzle to solving a sustainable food system in a hungry planet.
Are YOU ready to join the Farm Revolution?
Session 1 - Oct 27 - 30th Session 2 - Nov 1 - 4th
The innovators at Green Acre Aquaponics are joined by Sylvia Bernstein of The Aquaponic Source and JD Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics and Flourish Farms for this comprehensive, hands-on approach to aquaponic farming.
Join us in Denver in late October / early November at Green Acre's Western training center! We know that not everyone has the luxury of living in sunny, warm Florida and that most folks have to deal with varying degrees of cold weather so we have partnered up with JD Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics and Flourish Farms for our cold weather Green Acre Aquaponic Farming Complete Course training location. It will be the same comprehensive course we offer at our Florida farm with more emphasis on colder climates. JD not only owns and manages Flourish Farms, but also consults and teaches aquaponics with Colorado Aquaponics and the GrowHaus. We are very excited to be bringing even more commercial farming experience to our team.
Learn the methods, understand the science, discover the business, and become part of the movement that will relocalize sustainable food production. This is not an academic class taught by professors or consultants, but rather a hands-on practical class designed to teach you everything you need to know to run your own successful aquaponic farm.
"Of all the courses I have EVER taken, and there have been many, this course is by far the most exceptional!" - Steve Golin
We taught this course in April, 2012 and it was tremendously successful. How do we know?
"Congratulations! Great curriculum in scope and detail. Wonderful camaraderie developed. Honest, transparent I feel like I can come back and ask more. The willingness to share the very intimate business details with the class is refreshing and incredibly valuable. Provided written materials ensure we have a reference to keep and use over time. Well done!"
- Kathleen Blackistone
The Green Acre family farm is the model that this team will teach students to replicate. A successful Aquaponics Farm since 2010, Green Acres does this for a living every day. Recognizing the value of integrating media bed growing into raft (DWC) technology, their hybrid aquaponics design optimizes nutrient density by allowing the additional metabolization of valuable solids typically removed from DWC systems. Why remove the most valuable element in an aquaponic system when it can be utilized to produce better and more abundant growth? This growth translates into one thing, more sellable product, elevating your bottom line.
"Wow! I wasn't expecting so much detail on the construction and financial aspects. Loved the empowerment afforded by the hybrid system build."
Elevating your bottom line, now that’s a concept any business person can appreciate. Enter Sylvia Bernstein. An integral part in any family farm is the business aspect. Ordinary people can do it, but they also need to have the tools and skills to manage the business and market their product. Sylvia, is the former VP of Marketing for AeroGrow International with a Masters in Business from the top business school in the U.S., and the author of the best selling* book, "Aquaponic Gardening."
"Thank you for delivering an excellent course! All the speakers spoke from a point of knowledge, humor and a love for aquaponics that really showed." - Michael Johnston
(* #1 on Amazon.com's Best Selling Gardening and Horticulture books)
What sets us apart from other aquaponics training programs? Glad you asked!
- Our program is taught by people who are not only aquaponics business people and farmers, but also industry leaders. We do aquaponics for a living every day.
- Our goal is not to sell you systems or consulting services at the end of this course. Our goal is to have you walk away with all the knowledge you need to start your own successful aquaponics farm.
- Our approach is to teach you about all the growing methods currently available - DWC, media, NFT, Wicking Beds and Vertical - so you can design your farm to fit your market.
- Our process is organized and structured. Your time is valuable and you are paying your hard-earned money for this course. We guarantee that if we say that we will go over something on the schedule below...we will.
- We don't ask you to sign an intellectual property release like other aquaponics training companies do.
- But don't just take our word for it...click here to read what past participants say about this course.
We have designed this course to be a logical progression that builds on itself over the four days. You will be handed a complete manual during class registration that includes all the presentations, plus even more detailed descriptions, drawings, and finaincial data. Morning sessions will be held classroom style in a very comfortable classroom location. Each morning session will start with an aquaponically focused set of lessons, followed by a set of business lessons. Then we break for lunch, which will be provided from a local, organic cafe. Afternoon sessions will be at Flourish Farms, a fully operational aquaponics farm based on the design principles of the Green Acres methodology. These sessions will be broken out into smaller groups so that all students get front row, hands on time with their instructors. Each group will rotate through all segments.
"Highly informative. Good balance between the farm business and the actual farm operation. Very helpful in learning how to assemble a small system."
- Morning - Classroom
- Aquaponics - The basics
- The Nitrogen Cycle
- The Role of pH
- Water quality
- Dissolved Oxygen
- Important ratios
- Business - What you need to consider before becoming a farmer
- Business planing
- Types of distribution channels
- Can you actually sell your fish?
- Business stragegy
- Afternoon - Hands on at Flourish Farms
- Water Quality and Testing
- Plant handling and insect control
- Fish handling
- Morning - Classroom
- Aquaponics - Systems Design
- System types - DWC, media, NFT, wicking beds, vertical
- Combining system types
- Component selection
- Construction tips
- Water flow and pumps
- Business - Marketing
- What is your USP?
- Form a tribe
- Pricing theory, supply vs. demand
- Social media “advertising”
- The value of creating an email list and sending out newsletters
- Display / packaging / branding
- Afternoon - Hands on at Flourish Farms
- System construction
- Fish Tank connections
- DWC or raft bed construction
- Media bed construction
- Seedling system construction
- Morning - Classroom
- Aquaponics - Plumbing and Maintenance
- Water flow and pumps
- Plumbing it all together
- System maintenance
- Business - Your online presence
- I’m a farmer…why do I need a website?
- The importance of your URL
- Establishing your website
- SEO basics
- Afternoon - Hands on at Flourish Farms
- System plumbing
- Wicking, Vertical and NFT Systems
- System maintenance
- Morning - Classroom
- Aquaponics - The Growing Environment
- Farm Biosecurity and HAACP practices
- Green house considerations
- Heating and Cooling
- Business - “Sell” is not a 4-letter word!
- How to sell at Farmer’s Markets
- How to establish a CSA/Buying Club
- How to approach Restaurants
"Great group of teachers - lots of info. You guys are living what you're preaching. This is the real deal! And you work so well together!!! And... LOTS OF FUN! Great curriculum. I love that you guys are so into sharing your info and presenting your experience to keep us from making the same mistakes. From there we will all " just take off!" and keep sharing - "tribe."
Gina Cavaliero of Green Acre Aquaponics
Green Acre Aquaponics is one of the first commercial aquaponic farms in Florida. At Green Acre, Gina manages farm operations, their Green Acre Harvest For You! produce club and also their aquaponic training program, where entrepreneurs are taught how to replicate the Green Acre model and operate the hybridized aquaponic family farm. Gina serves as the inaugural Chairman for the Aquaponics Association and is dedicated to the mission of advancing aquaponics for her fellow members and industry. Before becoming an aquaponic farmer, Gina was the co-owner and managing director of a multi-million dollar producing construction contracting firm. Gina received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida in Anthropology with a minor in Education.
Sylvia Bernstein of The Aquaponic Source
Sylvia is the president of The Aquaponic Source , she runs the Aquaponic Gardening Community, and is the Vice Chairman of the Aquaponics Association. She is also the author of "Aquaponic Gardening: A Step by Step Guide to Growing Fish and Vegetables Together
" . Before aquaponics, she was the VP of Marketing and Product Development at AeroGrow International, where she was one of the founding team members. Sylvia has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Agricultural and Managerial Economics from the University of California at Davis.
JD Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics and Flourish Farms
JD founded Colorado Aquaponics in 2009 and has been building aquaponic systems and providing education for schools and communities throughout Colorado. Through extensive research, training and work experience, JD has built comprehensive business models to help prove the financial viability as well as identify the risks of commercial aquaponics. JD owns and operates Flourish Farms in Arvada, CO. The farm features over 1,200 s.f. of deep water culture growing, 150 s.f. of media beds and over 85 ZipGrow vertical towers. Prior to starting Colorado Aquaponics, he spent eight years as the Director of Operations at Johnson &Wales University. JD authored and implemented campus master plans, oversaw multiple departments and managed over forty million dollars of capital improvement projects. As a member of the Project Management Institute, he is now applying his skills in facilities, operations, education and financial planning to create sustainable food production systems with aquaponics.
- $1295 for registration before August 1
- $1395 for registration between August 1 and Sept 1
- $1495 after Sept 1 (there is a very real chance that we will be full by then given registration rates for the last course)
- $200 discount for second family or project member (see Options above "add to cart" button)
- Cancellation policy: Requests for cancellation of registration must be received in writing. Cancellations received by October 1, 2011, will be subject to a cancellation fee of 10%, which will be deducted from the refund. No refund will be made for cancellation requests received after October 1. If the event needs to be cancelled because of an unforseen cause beyond the organizers control (such as Acts of God, fire, strikes, and natural disasters, etc.) you will be refunded your registration fee less 10% to cover incurred organizational costs
(note: each Session is independent. Session 2 is identical to Session 1)
- Session 1 - Oct 27 - 30
- Session 2 - Nov 1 - 4
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Because we strongly believe that the personal experience of actually being in the class and interacting with the systems, the instructors and fellow participants is critical to the eventual success of the participants, this class will not be available on video tape and video taping of these sessions is prohibited.
- Morning, classroom sessions - TBD
- Afternoon, hands-on sessions will be held at Flourish Farms
The Colorado Aquaponics team is excited to announce our new commercial aquaponics facility, Flourish Farms in Arvada, Co. Plans had been in the works to start up a commercial system and at the end of January, the right opportunity presented itself when we purchased Colorado Aquafarm’s aquaponics system and took over the lease of a 3,800 square foot greenhouse space.
Colorado Aquaponics considers this commercial aquaponics venture an opportunity to add one more piece into the puzzle of sustainable food production. We strongly believe that aquaponics at home, in the classroom, for the community and built on a commercial scale allow a broad and diverse group of people to take charge of growing food locally and supporting this amazing technology as part of the future of farming. We are very excited to have this piece of the puzzle in place and looking forward to adding other facilities in the future.
We have one page up on the farm website www.flourishfarms.com, but are currently focusing our attention on preparing for the farmer’s market. Please check out how things are progressing and like us on Facebook.
We plan to announce some open house dates later this spring and Flourish Farms will be part of the Aquaponics Association Conference Denver farm tour September 21, 2012. Cheers.The Fish
The Flourish Farms system is a University of Virgin Island configuration with one 1,000 and two 1,200 gallon fish tanks. One of the pleasures of being an aquaponics farm is the fish eagerly greeting us each morning, mouths open for breakfast. Next comes the frenzy of fins and tails when the first food pellets hit the water. We can’t imagine a better way to start the farm day. Currently there are about 500 mature rocky mountain white, blue nile and Mozambique tilapia, and approximately 500 3-5” beautiful baby koi. Our spring koi sale drew all kinds of koi enthusiasts, who purchased over 100 lovely fish to brighten ponds all over the Denver metro area and beyond.The Plants
Over 1,000 square feet of deep water culture raft beds run the length of the Flourish Farms greenhouse and allow for a variety of mixed lettuce and salad greens to be harvested each week. The rafts are fully planted out with green oak, lolla rosa, green star, giant red mustard, red Russian kale, mizuna, arugula, tat soi, mint, rosemary, romaine, several varieties of bibb and a host of other species. Growth rates have been impressive in just 10-14 days after transplanting many of the varieties are ready for harvest, two weeks sooner than our original projections. All seedlings and growing methods follow the national organic program and we plan on pursuing certification in the future.
Growing out as well as up is one key to success in small greenhouse production. We have incorporated 85 ZipGrow Towers from Bright Argotech and plan to add as many more in the north portion of the greenhouse. We see some great market potential with using the towers not only to take advantage of vertical space, but to also allow for living food displays, providing the customer with the freshest product harvested on the spot. Just days ago the towers were getting planted up with dill, cilantro, chervil, sweet Genovese basil, mint, strawberries, rosemary, thyme, stevia, loveage, sage, parsley, lettuce varieties and other culinary herbs.
The flavors for the baby greens are simply amazing. The sweet, tender and nutrient dense little leaves make the perfect springtime salad. Even our kiddos can’t resist plucking hole heads up and eating them right out of the rafts, can’t get any fresher than that. Some of the more mature plants like the arugula, tatsoi and mustard greens pack a hardy and intense punch, amazing all of us with the unique and distinct flavor. We cooked up some mustard greens the other night with some onions, mushrooms, garlic and butter and was delighted by the culinary perfection of flavors.
As with any farm, there is a lot of work to be done. The first three months at Flourish Farms was a blur of activity getting up to speed on the greenhouse operations. Fish health, water quality, and integrated pest management, were and continue to be top priority. A number of projects took place right from the beginning to get the greenhouse space into a configuration that would allow better processes, airflow, visibility and growing capacity in the space.
Steve Stedellie, the greenhouse operations manager is taking this opportunity to live out his life-long dream of growing food in an urban setting. He has been working tirelessly putting operations in order, developing seeding, transplants and harvesting schedules, evaluating specific nutrient needs and establishing a biologically appropriate integrated pest management routine. System maintenance has been his top priority in the filtration, raft beds, plant growth and fish health.
There are a number of short and long term goals planned for the future to include filtration, more growing capacity, plant nutrient and water quality studies and the addition of renewable energy with solar installations.
Flourish Farms renovations, projects and farm activities are
made possible by some truly amazing people who have offered their time and
brought a passion for urban farming and aquaponics to the greenhouse. We
couldn’t have done so much in so little time without the help of these wonderful
individuals working together. More volunteer opportunities will be announced in
the future. Lots to do, lots to do….
Terri Mikkola has provided her extensive knowledge of waste
water treatment, along with biological and mechanical filtration methods and
water quality testing which were helpful to creating efficiencies in the system
and improving the nitrification process.
Shawn Cruze, Rick Garcia and Dana Hoff all assisted in some
much needed infrastructure repairs and improvements for ventilation, boiler
move, electrical issues and gas line changes. Shawn, Rick and Tawnya worked
late into the night one Friday, dedicated to ensuring system heat was restored
after the boiler move.
Joel and AJ Michor, AJ's Brother, Shawn, Rick and Steve
helped JD construct two large wooden troughs that will be the future home of
various aquatic species like freshwater prawns, bass or trout.
Jess and Jocelyn have helped tremendously with transplanting
thousands of seedlings, moving rafts and assisting with other daily greenhouse
operations while learning some important lessons about aquaponics.
Getting the Whole Family Involved
Finally, what would a family run farm be without the family? Emerson, Ellis and Delaney are very helpful around the farm. Ellis' favorite job is scouting for pests and quality controlling the lettuce. Emerson loves to help transplant seedlings, and taste test to make sure that we are providing customers with kid friendly flavors. And Delaney is great at pulling out net pots when the harvesting is all done. Luckily, they also love eating lettuce and feeding the fish.
The Koi sale was a huge success and we still have more.
Time for our beautiful Koi to fill your pond with joy.
400 Koi for sale, lots of colors.
Beautiful fish to brighten every pond or tank.
Very social, many to choose from.
Small Koi fish 3" to 5" Priced from $15 - $25
Medium Koi 6" to 10" SOLD OUT
Large Koi 11" to 28" SOLD OUT
Discounts available for purchasing multiple fish or large quantities.
Please bring at least a 5 gallon bucket for the small fish or a larger rubbermaid tote, trash can, cooler or container to hold larger fish. A battery based or plug in aerator is strongly recommended for transporting the fish for their health and safety as well as reducing stress for entering their new home environment.
Call for more information and to set an appointment 720-470-7007 or 303-246-3750.