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Colorado Aquaponics 2012 Recap

posted Jan 3, 2013, 12:28 PM by Tawnya Sawyer   [ updated Jan 3, 2013, 2:06 PM ]

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 been)…

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 fish.

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.