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Aquaponics Association Conference Farm Tour

posted Oct 1, 2011, 7:30 PM by Tawnya Sawyer   [ updated Oct 1, 2011, 7:52 PM ]
JD enjoyed meeting over 225 fellow aquaponics enthusiasts from around the world at the first annual Aquaponics Association Conference in Orlando Sept 16-18, 2011. He was honored to speak Friday evening following a perfect day of touring various aquaponics facilities around Florida.The information exchange, community building and establishment of the Aquaponics Association itself are very valuable in defining aquaponics as an incredible hobby, but more importantly as an essential piece to the future of sustainable agriculture  and aquaculture.  Looking forward to the continued collaboration.

One highlight of the conference (there were many) was the tours of different systems and facilities around Florida. The tours provided a wide range of different and unique ways to build aquaponics systems. It emphasized the point that there is more than one way to design a great system and that aquaponics is both an art and science. It would have been great to see many of the other systems also on display during the conference tours, but Florida is a big state and there is only so much time. Below is a quick recap of the different stops and some video tours for you to enjoy.   

First stop Green Acres Organics which has 1000 sq ft of deep water culture, and an additional 1000sq ft of vertical and media filled beds growing a wide variety of greens and herbs to sell at local restaurants, farmers markets and through their buyers club. It was great to see their hatchery arrangement and economical greenhouse structure. They are looking forward to proving aquaponics is a profitable commercial venture. Click here to get a tour of Green Acres Organics. Great job Gina and Tonya.

Next stop Morning Star Fisherman which does a significant amount of mission work focused on using aquaponics to feed the hungry throughout the world. Their Florida facility includes 110,000 gallons of tank space, labs and classrooms. The simplicity of the fish raceways and the air pumps used to distribute the water showed just how energy efficient a good design can be. With faith, research, training and non-profit funding, Morning Star Fisherman has brought aquaponics and a means of food production to countries in great need. Very inspiring. Click here to get a tour of Morning Star Fisherman.

Final stop across Florida was Green Sky Growers which is an amazing roof top greenhouse structure above AquaticEco-Systems building. This facility is an aquaponics dream, full of vertical towers with precision water fill and drain systems rotating over giant picture-window fish tanks with crystal clear water and a dazzling array of fish.  Definitely makes one wish they had unlimited capital to build with.

AquaponicsLynx home grown system which includes bananas, papaya, vertical towers, and lots of various plants and fish. Love the low-flow indexing value to distribute water around a variety of grow beds without draining the fishtank.

Sahib’s Research Station grows in all kinds of ways - deep water, vertical, NFT and media with Koi, catfish and tilapia.

Cosmo’s Greenhouse uses the Vertigro stacks hung over deep water culture making great use of space.

Paul’s Place is nestled in a typical housing neighborhood, but he has fit 90’ of deep water trough, a pond and tons of Vertigro stacks to fill the yard, growing a lot in a little space.

Looking forward to many years of aquaponics adventures here in the US and around the world with people that are passionate, dedicated and interested in their own personal food production as well as feeding others locally and sustainably produced food.