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CU Denver Maymester - SUST 3416

University of Colorado at Denver
Maymester Aquaponic Farming Workshop

May 18th - June 4th M-Th, 12:30 - 4:20

Course Instructors: Dr. Gregoy Cronin, CU Denver Professor of Integrated Biology,
Tawnya and JD Sawyer, Owners of Colorado Aquaponics and Flourish Farms

Target day

Lecture Topics

Reading (see file section in Canvas for non-textbook readings)

Day 1

Course overview, syllabus, American Food Systems

Greenhouse gas emissions, land-use, soils, fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation, transportation, processing, and food safety.

Day 2

Aquatic Ecology Primer

Aquaponics as engineered ecosystems.  Primary production, secondary production, nutrient cycles, physiology, species-species interactions, community ecology.

Day 3

Aquaponic Overview

Hydroponics, aquaculture, systems, climate control, inputs, outputs, scale.

Day 4

Fish production

Species selection, life-cycles, stocking density, health, marketing.

Day 5

Vegetable and fruit production

Species selection, grow-beds, floating rafts, stocking density, health, marketing.

Midterm exam

Day 6

Creative Aquaponic Design

Hobby scale to commercial size.  Vertical space.  Portability.

Day 7

Pest control and Food Safety

Pest identification, disease and fungal issues, prevention, pest management, food safety guidelines

Day 8

Marketing and Promotion

Getting aquaponic food to a variety of plates.

Day 9

Maximizing Sustainability and Profitability

Alternatives to commercial fish food, composting, renewable energies, potential efficiencies, storing heat, turning wastes into resources, optimizing production.

Day 10

Wrap-up: Synthesizing the whirlwind of information

Final Exam

Overview: “Aquaponic Farming” is an intensive, hands-on course that will train students how to grow food aquaponically using a combination of lecture and activities in an operating, commercial-scale aquaponic system.  Aquaponics is a unique, synergistic growing technique in which fish and plants are grown together. The fish waste feeds the plants using organic hydroponic techniques. The plants, in turn, clean and filter the water that returns to the fish environment.  Aquaponic farming needs less than 10% of the water used by traditional soil based growing methods and can sustainably produce food , closer to the consumer, with lower natural resource consumption, and without petro-chemicals.

Aquaponics takes the good from both aquaculture and hydroponics, and corrects the negatives. Because of the many benefits of aquaponics, it is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to soil gardening, hydroponics and traditional farming. Aquaponics food production means significantly less energy is used and less waste created when compared to fertilizer manufacturing and the use of heavy farm equipment dependent upon oil and gas. Future sustainable food production methods are going to be essential to providing food for an ever increasing world population with fewer natural resources, water, soil and land. Aquaponics systems offer extensive growing capabilities since they can incorporate various intensive and vertical growing methods in a relatively small footprint, close to the consumer.

Register NOW!

Tawnya Sawyer,
Apr 15, 2015, 8:39 PM