Visionary Aquaponics with Maribou Latour

Visionary Aquaponics is a podcast created for you, the Aquaponics Entrepreneur, the Aquapreneur, and those who want to take their Aquaponics to the next level. This show delivers 3 episodes a week for you Aquapreneurs who want to learn more about the business side of Aquaponics. Each episode brings you a different Aquaponics expert with advice on various topics from backyard to commercial Aquaponics, passive solar design, integrated aquaculture, renewable energy, biochar, horticulture, fish breeding, organic hydroponics, farm design, systems thinking, the failures and successes of Aquaponics businesses, earth-sheltered greenhouses, and permaculture-integrated Aquaponics. We end each show with inspiration for future research and development, and the #1 tip for the Aquaponics entrepreneur.
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Visionary Aquaponics with Maribou Latour

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Dec 16, 2015

Today's guest is Reid Larson, founder and chief science officer of PolyGuarden, a company offering full-spectrum protection for both residential and commercial aquaponics with the mission of global implementation of aquaponics.

Listen in as Reid talks about the products and services they're offering including eco-friendly pest sprays, proactive vs. reactive pest sprays, and Solution 3 plant supplements for root development. Reid further discusses neem extractions and dual root zone aquaponics where you get to plant on soil on top of the aquaponics media. Find out about certain products to stay away from, the use of macro and micronutrients, the need for water changes, and dealing with problems of readily available nutrients.

PolyGuarden has opened up consulting, designing, and monitoring systems. Reid further discusses the Google trends and the power of collaboration. More topics will be discussed including strengthening food systems, various systems they’re using, and some advancements in their monitoring systems.

Finally, Reid shares his insights into the best integration between aquaponics and permaculture with a touch on land restoration soil remediation.

Dec 14, 2015

In this episode, Steve Carrell, co-owner of Ponderosa Aqua Farm shares with us highly valuable information on setting up a commercial aquaponics system. Steve owns a construction company while his wife, Missy, is a long-time gardener. A dynamic duo, together they formed the Ponderosa Aqua Farm based in Spencer, Indiana. It was at that time when they started to question what's in their own food that sprung out their decision of living off of only what they ate. Transitioning from an in-home basement system to a commercial system, they went to Florida to attend the course at Green Acre Aquaponics.

While many commercial aquaponics growers recommend to start small, Steve takes the opposite direction believing that you have to have a certain scale in order to sell enough produce in order to be profitable. Listen in to what he has to say.

He also discusses things like underestimating the cost of going commercial (can be pretty overwhelming!) including labor and plumbing, the social impact of aquaponics, market research, as well as growing tomatoes, lettuce, and microgreens and dealing with clogged lines that brought death to their strawberries.

Steve talks about observing fish habits to know if your system is okay and discovering problems along the way. Other points of interest include gravity flow system, swirl filters, mineralization tanks, grow beds, as well as a look into their commercial system consisting mainly of deep water culture raft beds.

We also touch on heating issues, buying the greenhouse from Craigslist, and grow towers which they got from Green River Greenhouses in Indiana. Steve delves more into dutch buckets systems and how they actually work.

Dec 11, 2015

Today’s episode features an inspiring guest, Michael Kosko, a Science teacher at Al Raby School for Community and Environment in Chicago, Illinois. I got him on the show after being inspired by the article he was featured on, From Aquaponics to Robots: McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation disperses over 149,000 for school enrichment in the US and Sudan.

Michael has been teaching in Chicago public schools for nine years now. He currently focuses on teaching environmental science to freshmen and exploring it together for the past years. Receiving the McCarthey Dressman grant gives them the opportunity to expand the program and support their Career in Technical Education programs, specifically culinary arts, emulating a lab-to-table model where students grow their own food sustainably, learn how to prepare it, and eventually selling it in partnership with their Business Career in Technical Education program. They are the first school to combine horticulture and culinary model together in their programs,

Listen in as we discuss topics like nitrogen cycle education, instilling a love of science, and how his students are occasionally flooding the classroom. We also talk about bell siphons, classroom aquaponic units made from IKEA stands, plans for media beds and and systems cost.

We touch on things like system failures, filtration methods, and water testing as well as cycling duration and methods. Michael discusses business programs including business planning and marketing and integrating into the horticulture program and his love for science and kids! Lastly, get loads of information on bringing aquaponics in the classroom through funding and grants.


Nov 30, 2015

This is a fun episode as we chat with Diana Fitzsimmons and Amanda Jones from Wairakei Primary School in New Zealand, along with two of their students, Myles and Rose. Listen in as they talk about how they got into doing aquaponics, dealing with fish death, experimenting systems, getting ideas from Murray Hallam, and building an in-line system composed of media beds and clay beds.

They also touch on more related topics such as insulating tanks, solar water heating, and water testing using test tubes. Check out how they dealt with nitrite spikes and staying away from fish death.

Our guests today share about the teaching system in New Zealand, specifically focusing on aquaponics and how it addresses global issues where they intend to fit the aquaponic system setup into New Zealand's curriculum considering that aquaponics is a very new topic in the country so they hope to expand  the knowledge on aquaponics throughout New Zealand.

More discussion on system maintenance during school breaks, the role of bacteria as the unseen good guys, as well as growing fish and experimenting things like raising eels, prawn, shrimps, and crayfish. Lastly, we talk about dealing with regulations, laws, and restrictions involving aquaponics.


Nov 25, 2015

This episode couldn't get any hotter as we welcome back Spencer Curry of FRESH Farm Aquaponics on the show. Listen in as he discusses TLUD stoves and all about the smokeless, double burn which is simply genius!

TLUD stands for Top-Lit Updraft Stove. Today's show is primarily on biochar, why TLUD stoves rock, and how to make one. We’re talking about TLUD stoves made out of paint cans, the concept of pyrolysis, the role of an oxygenless chamber, and creating biochar with tons of surface area for microbial habitat (whether you use biochar for aquaponics or soil). We also talk about how biochar works to adsorb nutrients and how that differs from absorption.

Listen in as Spencer comprehensively describes how a TLUD stove works, as well as some techniques to make it work properly. Other things included in the interview are rocket stoves vs. rocket mass heaters, liquid heat, chimneys, cinder blocks, how the combustion process works for the gases, and siphoning gas over combustion.

We also delve into the downsides of the TLUD stove, the cost of building it, eliminating contamination issues with pyrolysis, some various tests to check once everything is done, and observing safety measures. Get more biochar application tips from Spencer including combination materials and mixes, plants that like biochar and some pH changes with biochar.

Lastly, we touch on systems design including the use of biofilters, swirl filters, and pumps in deep water culture and vertical tower NFT systems.

Nov 19, 2015

In today's episode, we welcome Faris Farrag of Bustan Aquaponics who is stirring up an aquaponics movement in Egypt. A former banker turned aquapreneur, Faris is pioneering a movement in aquaponics while hoping to see a rising movement in the rest of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. His interest in aquaculture and food has led him to enroll at Dr. James Rakocy's course in the University of the Virgin Islands which further inspired him to stay in Egypt and break ground on the farm that he currently has today.

Listen in as Faris talks about the different produce they're growing in the system, how the market has responded to their aquaponic system, and keeping up with the momentum. Faris also brings into our discussion the ins and outs of organic certifications as well as reclaiming the language by putting the responsibility on producers using chemical products. We delve into the biggest issue concerning re-circulating fish farms and how to deal with it using biofiltration systems.

Faris describes the organic food movement in Africa in terms of traceability, the current trends affected by water scarcity, and a look into their permaculture-integrated farming, net-zero waste through efficient reuse and recycling of everything in the system through an amazing deep irrigation network

We also talk about renewable energies, passive solar water heaters, and heat diffusion system as well as the solar desalination process and purification through mirroring. Faris gives a comprehensive description of their actual UVI-based aquaponics system while using 80-90% less water than more traditionally land-based agriculture as a water-based system in the desert.

More topics on sand as excellent base media and composting, the need for integrating technology into natural farming systems, genetic modification and localizing seeds, sustainable fishing and value-added products, and having an al fresco dinner at Faris' pop-up restaurant which is just super cool!

Lastly, we talk about the marketing and the financial side of the business covering intellectual property design systems and online delivery service in Egypt.  Really listen into some solid marketing and financial planning strategies and the importance of localizing the food movement amidst the challenges of logistics and bureaucracies.

Nov 6, 2015

Celebrating Episode 50!!! Creating a flourishing green space amidst busy Brooklyn, New York is just what Yemi Amu, co-founder of Oko Farms has successfully created. Established in 2012, Oko Farms is a commercial aquaponics and educational company. Its current biggest project is called the Moore Street Farm in Bushwick, a 2,500 sq.ft. farm where they raise a variety of fish such as channel catfish, tilapia, and goldfish as well as herbs like basil, shiso, mint, cilantro, and more and where they sell mostly to neighborhood restaurants. Education-wise, they have built solid partnerships with the Department of Education through a program that connects public school children to farms around the city as well as a partnership with a nonprofit housing developer, Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation.

Listen in as Yemi talks about her training with Morning Star Fishermen. Yemi illustrates their aquaponics system, initially growing plants in coir and later transferring them to rockwool as their growing media. Learn more about how Oko Farms is dealing with downy mildew issues through different techniques such as foliar spraying with compost tea. Other plants they’re growing include mint and the Japanese-herb shiso.

On the business side of things, Yemi talks about marketing and getting started in business with aquaponics, how they started small and getting funding through partnerships with different entities such as the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, Green Thumb, Home Depot, Build It Green, New York Restoration Project, and The Awesome Foundation.

Lastly, Yemi touches on creating value-added products, licensing (they actually only make products that don't require licenses), what products fall under the 20-C exemptions, and the value of developing relationships in the community to reduce your need for getting loans.

Oct 21, 2015

This is Part 2 of the interview with Dr. Nate Storey of Bright Agrotech, makers of the ZipGrow Towers. In this episode, Nate talks about the big impediments to newbie vertical farmers and why Upstart Farmers was conceived. He also talks about the UpStart University, a learning-based community that offers video courses to self-driven students as well as the Jumpstart Farmers Program, which offers entry-level mentorship. Nate briefly discusses the different courses they offer at the UpStart University including organic certification, lighting courses, business planning, and marketing.

Listen in to know more about farm planning & financing, grants, Kiva loans, and how much would you exactly need to get started. Learn about the importance of understanding your market and how to go through the planning process. Nate explains why ZipGrow towers are an answer to issues concerning live sales, robust farming, and light conservation. Check out why they also reduce smog in cities!

Dr. Nate further emphasizes the  importance of understanding the money value of sunlight, addressing some light limitations, understanding the value of indoor growing based on local markets, and how LEDs can be cost-effective over time. Lastly, we talk about the role of live sales in food distribution and waste reduction, and why live sales totally rock!

Oct 21, 2015

Adam Brock is the co-founder of GrowHaus, a unique nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado. GrowHaus is a half-acre space encompassing different aspects of the food system under one roof including food production, food distribution, and food education, with a focus on revitalizing their local community through rebuilding food sovereignty.

Tune in to this episode as Adam takes us through the four-year process of building this unique community by connecting with the neighborhood as well as the different classes they have developed over time-- including Seed to Seed summer program for teens, micro business training, service learning, and even permaculture classes to the general public.

Adam walks us through the GrowHaus business model - its structure, the mission, and the funding of nonprofits. He gives us a brighter perspective on social entrepreneurship that combines non-profits & for-profits, in a non-traditional "regenerative" legal structure. Adam also describes the actual systems at the GrowHaus including a hydroponics farm, an aquaponics farm based on the UVI model of deep water culture system (DWC, or raft), and some of the crops they're growing, including a mini food forest with perennials and fruit trees.

Learn more about topics including the permaculture paradigm as key to their success, GrowHaus' community demographics, getting help from "cultural translators," and the permaculture application into their systems - the "Growasis," a tropical food forest, and a mushroom facility. Other things mentioned are the Permaculture Design Magazine, fertigation, and intersecting aquaponics with the food justice and permaculture movements as a powerful tool for food sovereignty.

A highly viable aquaponic setting right in the middle of the most polluted zip code in the entire state of Colorado - How has GrowHaus been able to successfully do this? Let's find out!

Oct 16, 2015

This is part 2 of the interview with Rebecca Nelson, co-founder of Nelson and Pade based in Wisconsin.

Nelson and Pade is currently working with the University of Wisconsin at the Aquaponics Innovation Center funded through an economic development grant to build a center for research. Along with Dr. Chris Hartleb of the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UWSP), they have developed a university level aquaponics course which is now running on its fifth year.

Listen in as Rebecca shares more about growing tilapia and walleye fish in their commercial systems as well as leafy crops, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, beets, cucumbers, and more! They grow tropical fruit trees too like bananas, limes, pomegranates, papaya.

Discover the challenges in designing aquaponic systems and growing an aquaponic business - combating misinformation and building your business upon validated research. Rebecca also shares some tips for successful commercial aquaponic farming including good business planning and understanding controlled environment agriculture as well as avenues you can take to get funding. Other topics include USDA regulation, Certified Naturally Grown, dealing with government permits, laws, and regulations, and things that curtail aquaponics as a viable business option.

Oct 15, 2015

Today's guest is Jennifer Boren of Noga Farms in Gordonville, Texas. A nurse by profession, she decided to be a stay-at-home mom to take care of her four beautiful children. Initially building their system from some recycled oil-filled equipment, she shares with us what they've done wrong with their first aquaponics system and how they fixed the issues along the way.

Listen in as Jennifer talks more about gravity-fed systems, ebb and flow vs. constant flood, using bell siphons vs. standpipes, as well as what's growing in their raft system and pea gravel media system. Discover how Nova Farms is growing peppers, strawberries, micro-greens, red lettuce, tomatoes, beans, eggplants, and edible flowers. Currently, they run an outdoor media system connected to the barn.

She also delves into topics like heat issues, lighting system, oxygen requirement, understanding water hardness or softness, off-gassing chlorine from water, cycling water; and salts and sodas for hardening the water. We also touch on filtration system (bio-bead filter, bird nets, and Matala filters) as well as valves for emergency measures and leakage issues. Lastly, learn about their business model primarily on selling tilapia for pond management.

Oct 5, 2015

Listen to this highly informative episode with Rebecca Nelson, co-founder and co-owner of Nelson and Pade in Montello, Wisconsin.

Their history in aquaponics goes back to the mid 1980s, beginning with commercial hydroponic production before transitioning to aquaponics in the early 90's upon learning about aquaponics from the University of Virgin Islands led by Dr. Rakocy. Rebecca partnered with John Pade and they've been building their business together for over 30 years now, with John's focus on the engineering side of things while Rebecca's expertise is in the science and biology.

In this episode, Rebecca shares her viewpoints on hydroponics vs. aquaponics as well as various aquaponic start-to-finish solutions including project planning services, the Aquaponics Master Class (people from 78 countries and all 50 U.S, states!), the Nelson and Pade Grower Program, and the Complete System Packages that meet every application from home production, research, and education up to large commercial projects. Rebecca and John are also the co-founding publishers of The Aquaponics Journal.

Rebecca additionally touches on science-based systems, controlled environment agriculture (CEA), integrated pest management (IPM), and fish diseases. Learn more about their systems as Rebecca talks about their raft system, Clear Flow Aquaponic System, ZDEP offline filtration, continuous loop raft system, clarifiers, NFTs, vertical spaces, and their partnership with University of Wisconsin Stevens Point at the 14,000 sq.ft. Innovation Center.

Oct 1, 2015

Tune in to Nate Storey of Bright Agrotech, the innovator of the ZipGrow Tower and a vertical farming expert. Nate started developing the ZipGrow tower while working on his Masters degree, and his PhD was focused on the equipment itself - developing it and testing it for production and for certain market models. Today, Nate sells towers all over the world reaching Australia, Africa, Asia, and all throughout North America and Europe.

Find out more about Nate’s brainchild including the ZipGrow tower design, his criteria for building it, the resulting components, and the learning curve for using it. He also talks about volumetric growing, aeroponic growing, some constraints to doing aquaponics, and understanding the ecosystem approach to red worms, mineralization and nitrification.

Nate also illustrates how to go about planting using the ZipGrow tower and harvesting methods as well as cleaning and maintenance of media. He additionally discusses growing cut & come again crops, live sales, integrating the ZipGrow tower into existing systems, and managing the system against mildew infestation (lighting, humidity, temperature, dark cycle-fruiting, biological products, burning sulfur, etc.)

Lastly, Nate talks about the other products they're developing at Bright Agrotech,  and leaves us with a handful of great marketing tips  (such as understanding our market, pricing, value of labor, and multiple income streams).

Sep 29, 2015

Let’s discuss sustainability education and grants! Lori de La Cruz is the Sustainability Project Coordinator at Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas where she provides hands-on learning projects and resources to the faculty to integrate sustainability into their curriculum across all departments. Listen in as Lori talks about her school’s Sustainability Program and how aquaponics plays a key part in it.

What started out as a community garden, the college fortunately received a federal STEM grant and a grant from Wells Fargo that allowed them to expand the whole food venture into building their aquaponics lab in an existing glass greenhouse in their campus.

Learn more as Lori talks about the challenges they encountered with their aquaponics system under intense Texan summer as well as closed loop hybrid systems, pillow stuffing as media for the vertical tubes, and other issues such as fungal infection and not being prepared for the enormous amounts of food that they grew. Other topics discussed are L-shaped tubes and air stones for constant aeration, water testing, off-gassing and other water treatment of city tap water, and the impact of our food system on the entire globe. Lastly, Lori gives us some ideas about grant funding.

Sep 26, 2015

Retired veteran Donald Holmes of Old World AquaFarm talks about growing root vegetables efficiently and how an efficient root system works, as well as his unique filter systems.

Donald currently lives on an 11-acre plot of land, 2 acres of which he’s built into the Old World AquaFarm. Aside from root crops, he is growing a couple hundred fruit trees, has a 2,100-sq.ft. greenhouse for research and a 2,400-sq.ft. barn for manufacturing. Established since 2008, Donald has been personally funding the Old World AquaFarm primarily for research and soon, taking on his plan to go commercial!

Listen in as we talk more about self-cleaning filters, systems and automation, fish tank system, "new nitrogen," and the advantage of using a long, narrow fish tank. He also discusses utilizing fish patterns to maximize their growth, efficient use of pumps to avoid clogging, aeration techniques, recycled plastic bottles as biofilter and PittMoss (an environmentally sustainable alternative to peat moss!). On the plant side, learn more about growing awesome tomatoes, honey coating for root growth stimulation, misting system, plastic rafts, and criteria for growing your own plants.

Sep 21, 2015

JD Sawyer, founder and CEO of Colorado Aquaponics and Flourish Farms in Denver, Colorado, talks about his business partnership with The GrowHaus, fusing a for-profit aquaponics farm with a non-profit food justice organization. Using what JD calls "business permaculture," Colorado Aquaponics operates Flourish Farms, a large aquaponic farm and workshops space inside the GrowHaus, an old greenhouse converted into a food access hub which is split between aquaponics, hydroponics, and a tropical indoor food forest. Additionally, Colorado Aquaponics donates 10% of the food produced at Flourish Farms to the GrowHaus, which then distributes affordable food baskets to the community, offers cooking classes in their community kitchen, sells to restaurants, provides flexible-use community programming space, composting, permaculture systems, education, and a mushroom-growing lab!

JD also talks about their systems design, what's growing in their farm, and risk management strategies such as decoupled systems and backup systems as well as monitoring systems, sensors, and devices for emergency situations. Learn about how they dealt with the Fish Apocalypse (aka "FishPocalypse") that struck their system! Other topics covered include nutrient solutions for plants (iron chelate, seaweed extract), feed rate, solid waste management, and the 3-stage filtration system and heat exchangers.

Sep 19, 2015

Growing in coconut husks: Damian Hinkson is the co-founder of Baird's Village Aquaponics Association in Barbados. Check out this episode and learn how Damian scaled his aquaponics system from a thousand gallons to 10,000 gallons in an effort to promote aquaponic food production to the community. Damian shares about doing aquaponics with very limited resources on an island, use of coconut husks as a medium for plant roots, and some challenges that he had to overcome. He also talks about seeding and how he basically set up the system in a way that prevents him from constantly flooding the system.

In this episode, you will learn more about the 3 categories of people doing aquaponics, circular tanks and sump tanks, drying time for beds, compost teas, molasses, venturis and low-density systems, wicking beds, water lettuce for filtration and more!


Check out the interesting things Damian is doing with no water testing and no aeration yet he still has managed to successfully run a commercial aquaponics system with low operating cost. Plus, know more about Damian's up-coming project to turning his 10,000-gallon system into a 30,000-gallon system!

Sep 19, 2015


This is part two of the interview with Damian Hinkson of Baird's Village Aquaponics Association in Barbados. Creating a 10,000-gallon aquaponics system supported by a U.N. grant, Damian openly delves into the topics of building connections as well as various aquaponics resources to help you get to the next level. He also talks about automating aquaponics systems, transporting modular systems, and open source systems. As our conversation flows, Damian shares his insights into solar power and windmills, bio-dome, society's sustainable way of feeding itself, raising fish in an urban setting, organic pest management through aloe vera and fermenting culinary herbs, fermented barley, decoupled systems, treating plant diseases, and rainwater systems.

Sep 16, 2015

Living in south of Brisbane, Australia, Murray started doing Aquaponics 10 years ago and up till now he continues to create aquaponics systems for people and give trainings in various places. Check out this episode to learn more about media beds, rafts, hybrid systems, and the challenges in building aquaponics in 3rd world countries.


He talks more about biofertilizers such as compost teas and vermiculture, chelated iron, seaweed extracts and giant kelp powder, growing tomatoes, handling nutrient deficiencies, calcium carbonate, dealing with pH levels, and potash. He also expounds on various systems like the INDY 23 system, decoupled systems, and CHOP 2 system. We further delve into the topics of self-sustainability vs. community sustainability, interdependence vs. independence, protective cropping, growing bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, grains, and fruit trees.


Lastly, Murray touches a discussion on aquaponics as a business, creating multiple income streams, and a few good reasons many commercial aquaponics systems fail plus the main reason small businesses fail and some ways to get funding. Watch out for Murray's webinars soon!

Sep 9, 2015

Growing lime in da coconut!!!! In this episode Damian shares with us how people are his driving force to pursue aquaponics, his own definition of it and how it has changed how his community thinks towards farming. He also talks about how he got a grant from the United Nations to create an aquaponics system in Barbados and how he uses coconut HUSKS as his organic media. Learn more about growing lime trees and get a better understanding of how decoupled systems work. Also find out how Damian categorizes people in aquaponics under three types, what beginners need to learn from about aquaponics, funding and setting up community aquaponics, and why Damian thinks farming is not for everyone! For a country such as Barbados that basically imports almost everything in to the island, getting the local people involved in aquaponic farming and getting the word out there are some of Damian's biggest contributions to the island.


Jul 17, 2015

This is an update on Maribou's aquaponic and podcasting travels, podcast publication dates, website development, ratings and reviews, blog, and hashtag contest! If you like the podcast and want to move aquaponics forward as a movement, please leave a rating and review in iTunes here:  We love you! Thanks for listening to the Visionary Aquaponics podcast!

Jul 14, 2015

“What can you do today that’s gonna get you one step closer?” said Kate Wildrick--who used to own and operate a town in Oregon--to Aaron Imhof, a self-taught innovator…This is a truly inspiring story about how these two people met after the nightmare economic crash of 2009, the trials and tribulations of surviving while living frugally, and how this gave birth to an idea to create a center for sustainable solutions and whole systems education--all the while having only limited resources and pushing through the fear of “not knowing." This story isn’t just about aquaponics, it’s about innovations shared with the community, systems thinking, building connections, sourcing community knowledge and applying it in a mutually beneficial way, and finding ways to bring the dream alive for all. Kate and Aaron’s vision for Ingenuity Innovation Center at St. Helens, Oregon, is to be “a community-supported innovation center that is focused on building sustainable solutions using an open-source platform. We are about connection, creation, and collaboration. We believe that together we can solve our world’s most challenging issues by igniting our own inner spark of passion.”

Listen as they talk about what inspired them in this vision and how they got here, from Murray Hallam's CHOP-2 system, getting land they didn't initially have, and finally making a 1,500 sq.ft. greenhouse out of re-purposed materials and resources. Kate and Aaron also reveal how they became partners with Murray Hallam, the "Godfather of Aquaponics," as well as what's in store at the up-coming training classes, revolving around Murray's INDY23 system: a hybrid system with media beds, deep water culture, and wicking beds using the CHOP-2 method. They also share with us Murray Hallam's "legacy plan," a curriculum on aquaponics that is set to revolutionize aquaponics today. Part of that is building a new greenhouse with a bubble wrap-style covering that can last up to 30 years and which will be one of Ingenuity Innovation's two R&D sites. Learn more about the 4-day Living the Dream: Commercial and Small Farm Aquaponic Training Seminar, how they're weaving in B Corps into aquaponics, and how they're bringing in the change-makers together in order to build the connections needed to support other local aquaponic projects. More topics around cool technologies such as spa heaters, solar hot water cells, solar PVs, hydrosonic pumps, automation, and Raspberry Pi (a credit card-sized computer!) as well as community applications such as the Adopt-A-Grow Bed program. We also talk about a disaster that annihilated all their fish instantly, and unique business models that could change the future of aquaponics!

Jul 4, 2015

Located in Half Moon Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, California, Ouroboros Farms carries out its mission to partner with nature by combining the principles of aquaponics and permaculture to bring to customers the freshest, healthiest, chemical-free produce on the planet! Ken is the founder and owner of 3-year-old Ouroboros Farms. Jessica is part-owner of Ouroboros farms and working there since it started, with a background in soil farming and hydroponics on a hobbyist level. She also has experience with medicinal herbs. Listen up as they talk about how they started up with a 20,000-gallon farm! They discuss the different kinds of plants and fish they're growing, their various distribution channels, the online grocery store they sell through (a great tip for future aquaponic growers!!!). They also describe their use of channel catfish, their top-selling crops, hybrid UVI systems, biochar, and the constant drain method they use for growing and selling hops (which are drier-loving plants). Listen as we also talk about their market research process, starting with 121 varieties of lettuce to see what grew best under different seasonal conditions, how they found what people wanted, and what they could have done in hindsight in terms of sales! Also checkout other challenges they've dealt with: water quality, light, temperature, location, and marketing issues. They talk about what not to do when running a commercial aquaponic system, how you can effectively sell to your distribution lines, food processing laws, and permaculture practices they've integrated into the farm such as beneficial insect hedges, rainwater collection, vermicompost, wormcastings, compost teas, and EM (effective microorganisms!), as well as all the other value-added products they're selling in the retail space right next to their greenhouse! Check out more at

Jul 2, 2015

Listen to Part 3 of my talk with Rob Torcellini of Bigelow Brook Farm. What differentiates Rob from other innovators, how Rob responds to some negative comments, the cost related to setting up a backyard greenhouse and aquaponic system, expanded shale, liners, how to set up portable systems, deep water beds, and supplemental feeding such as salvinia, duckweed, scrap lettuce, and insects. We also talk about how Rob has automated his aquaponic system (which is a hot topic right now!) including automated 24/7 fish feeder, vents, and what type of cylinders you need to stay away from. He also talks about red wigglers, swirl filters, and mineralization tank for capturing and processing solids. Also find out how a swirl filter is different from a radio flow filter and discover which one is better. More topics such as longevity of lettuce with live roots on, food safety, value added products, and food safety laws. Subscribe to Rob’s YouTube channel on

Jun 30, 2015

An agriculture scientist turned urban farmer, teacher, and aquaponics entrepreneur in Phoenix, Arizona, Dr. George Brooks talks about aquaponics as a disruptive technology, and how we’re now at a tipping point in the "diffusion of innovation." Find out how aquaponics can and should be used as a disruptive technology to change the world! Listen in as Dr. George talks about how inspiration from his parents, a preacher and a scientist, led him to become a leading expert on fish farming for the University of Arizona, traveling widely throughout the state showing people how to grow fish. He also talks about participating in a program called The O’odham Oidak Demonstration Fish and Prawn Farm on teaching kids how to grow food in a juvenile correction facility in 2001. Listen to his opinions on the cost of aquaponics technology and how it should be cost-effective as well as how aquaculture and aquaponics are really the same, giving us a closer perspective on what aquaponics really means and how similar they are to wetland filtration systems. Find out how Mesa Community College got the grant for environmental stewardship from the EPA where they are partnering with the Roosevelt School District and RighTrac for growing healthy food and using aquaponic techniques as a foundational model for STEM education. Also check out the different kinds of systems at the college including NFT, media bed, and deep water culture systems. See how aquaponics is helping these students not only learn about growing food, science, math, technology, and engineering, but also the business aspect of aquaponics so they can literally go and create small businesses in the future. Learn why we need to find a simpler and less costly way to build aquaponics systems on a larger scale while still being able to produce an abundance of food to supply the demand, and how generating more public data is essential to bringing about aquaponics as a disruptive technology that will change our food marketplaces, water consumption, health, transform food deserts, and re-skill jobless people! Lots of awesome resources for you in this episode! Please visit for more info on Dr. George Brooks.

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