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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 60
November 2nd,  2011
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

We've gained several new partners in the last month. What this means for you is that quality training in the most productive and affordable aquaponic technology in the world is available now in more places than ever before!

The solar greenhouse technology one of these partners invented allows you to grow year-round anywhere in the world, whether you have
four feet of snow piled against the greenhouse or it's 110 degrees outside! To give you a clue about just ONE of the benefits of this greenhouse, the inventor considers the excess electricity its photovoltaic panels produce to be a waste product! We were so impressed by this technology that we're building one of them now on the Friendly farm, and are holding a two-day "Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse Training" on our farm in Hawaii in February 2012. You can sign up for this training now at a discount by going to this webpage on our site.

We will include as many details as possible about the technology behind this greenhouse in the next few newsletters. You will understand that we are going to save some specific, patentable details until the February training so that someone with no ethics doesn't "develop it" also in the meantime. At that time, we will share everything fully with all attendees of the training. We are NOT going to patent it, however, you will get a license to build your own Solar Greenhouse simply by coming to this training and taking the manual home with you.

Two new Florida affiliates, an Oregon affiliate, and a German affiliate joined us to carry on the "Friendly" technology and teach people how to feed themselves. One of these, Sahib Punjab (The Man From Punjab), is dedicated to "feeding the villages" in India, his words for teaching the poorest people in the world how to feed themselves using aquaponics.

Sahib is teaching backyard and urban aquaponics to the public using the most amazing and innovative aquaponics installation we've ever seen. This is located in (of all places) a suburban strip mall in Winter Park, near Orlando in central Florida. He is using the profits from this enterprise to fund the development of aquaponics in the villages in India.  You can contact him for information regarding classes in Florida by calling 909-575-8334, or by emailing sahib@sahibaquaponics. Sahib's next course is on December 10th and 11th from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Another new Florida affiliate is David Lindemann of Sweet Leaf Aquaponics in Melbourne, Florida. David has an awesome 512 square foot "Friendly" system in his backyard, is growing commercially for a living, and has proven you can grow through the summer in Florida without costly protective structures. Contact him by emailing him at, or call David at 321-604-6684 to find out more about courses. David is teaching Micro System courses that cover aquaponics systems up to 512 square feet in size.

The Oregon "Friendly" affiliate is Jason Garvey, owner of Portland Purple Water; a company that installs rainwater harvesting systems for sustainable home water supplies. Jason is building their Micro System right now; you can contact him directly to find out when the first Micro System courses will be offered in Oregon. Jason can be reached at 503-922-3583, or his cell: 503-708-7243. His website is,

Franz Schreier (our new German affiliate) needs a column all by himself to adequately cover his brilliance, his work, and his development of the "Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse". This is why we've devoted this week's "Nugget" column to him and to the subject of growing year-round no matter what the climate!

If you're interested in learning about this new Solar Greenhouse technology, please take a look at our Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse Training (Special Offer in right sidebar of this email), where you will learn more about how to grow affordably using aquaponics in greenhouses than you can anywhere else in the world. The FIRST training is in Hawaii in February 2012. For smaller home backyard and apartment systems, please read on:
Purchase Construction Plans and Operating Info for 4 Different Sizes of Apartment/Condo Aquaponics Systems $49.95

Our Apartment/Condo System package includes new and easy-to-understand building instructions and complete operating information for 4 different sizes of small aquaponic systems based on our years of experience operating a commercial aquaponics farm. Anyone can build a system out of plastic barrels or IBC totes, but operating one successfully without good and easily-understood information can be frustrating. You simply use the "Daily Operations Checklist" in the manual and follow the step-by-step instructions on your way to success. We also cover how to make aquaponics systems out of weird things like old refrigerators and door frames; this makes aquaponics much more economical to get started in!

We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and built our first commercial aquaponics systems with FAR less information than this manual contains. We included all the information learned from that experience in this manual so you don't need to make any of the same mistakes we did.

Learn about our Apartment/Condo Systems!

Aquaponics Nugget #60:
A Primer On Sustainable Energy-Efficient Greenhouses, Part 1

We're lucky we live in Hawaii, but not everyone has the same growing season we enjoy here.  We know that climate limits aquaponics applications to spring and summertime in temperate climates, and to tropical and Mediterranean type climates, and that this makes it unusable in much of the world. We realized that this was aquaponic's biggest shortcoming, and would remain so until someone developed energy-efficient greenhouses for use with aquaponics systems, and took this on as our calling.

Our biggest priority for the last year has been increasing our understanding of the technologies available for growing in modified or controlled environments (AKA greenhouses), so we can incorporate them with our aquaponics technologies, and create complete systems that will allow you to grow year-round ANYWHERE without too much concern for the weather.

When we started investigating the "state of the art" in greenhouses we initially got depressed because conventional technology relies on cheap, oil-derived energy for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. It was very common in photos of greenhouses to see a couple of thousand-gallon propane tanks sitting right outside to provide wintertime "heat", and a huge three-phase electrical service leading into the building, hooked up to several 400,000 BTU air conditioners to provide summertime "cooling". While they do work, these are methods that are very costly in terms of petrochemical energy AND dollars. And the cost only increases as the price of oil increases.

We found little to no information on "energy-light" methods of modifying the environment inside the greenhouse, such as passive solar heating and geothermal cooling. There was virtually NO inclusion of PV panels (photovoltaic, or solar electric panels) or other sustainable alternate energy sources in the energy schemes for these greenhouses. This is one of the reasons that there are used greenhouses available all over the USA now for pennies on the dollar. They were conventionally heated and cooled, and used for crops that were profitable until the energy costs went up; then they went the way of the dinosaur.

We were shocked by how little information was available on the subject of affordable, energy-efficient greenhouses. We realized this was because the "greenhouse establishment" couldn't make any money from selling them. They only make money from selling greenhouses that need electrically-powered fans, air conditioners, thermostatic controllers, electrically-operated vents, propane heaters and ducting, because then they can sell all that stuff to you too. At that point it becomes your problem to figure out how to pay for the energy to run all this stuff, ergo: all the used greenhouses that are now for sale everywhere.

We knew an appropriate technology MUST be out there somewhere. But we thought we were going to have to develop it ourselves out of thin air. Although we were game for the task, it was daunting to think about, even though we know a lot about building design and construction, refrigeration, cooling, heating, and alternate energy technologies. When we met Franz Schreier this last September, we realized someone had done the development work we had envisioned,  much better than we ever could have, AND had included ideas for energy efficiency we NEVER would have thought of.

Franz, a German physicist, had sold his business a year ago to try out an innovative new idea for growing aquaponic plants inside a special protective structure. He designed the structure, built it, and operated it with an aquaponics system inside; then documented it excellently with images and a common-sense description. We understood the possibilities immediately, and signed on as Franz' partners in developing this new technology. Here's an image of an installation that uses the ETFE
(EthyleneTetraFlouroEthylene) film that Franz Schreier's Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse is covered with.


Structure covered with ETFE film; notice how clear it is!

What good is ETFE? Well, when you compare it to standard greenhouse film, it's a 50-year installation (instead of a 3-year one), which means it has a really cheap per year cost; it transmits almost 100% of sunlight, which means the plants get much more light; it's structural, and it adds strength to the greenhouse; and it's slick, absolutely nothing sticks to it, which means it can't get dirty after six months like normal greenhouse film does and block up to 40% of your light, because the dirt (and snow, and rain) just slides off the ETFE film!

This is not the only innovative technology Franz came up with for the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse; he invented a new kind of PV (photovoltaic) panel that not only produces electricity, but also serves as a heat exchanger inside the greenhouse for heating in the wintertime and
shading and cooling in the summertime. He also developed an ETFE film for use inside the greenhouse to phase-shift the green wavelength of light coming from the sun into blue and red light that can be used by the plants; this makes the plants grow faster with the same amount of sunlight.

He also incorporated an efficient new light called a "sulfur plasma lamp" into the greenhouse for providing supplemental lighting during periods of low sun or cloudiness. This lamp exactly mimics the natural light from the sun, and produces up to twice as many lumens (how light is measured) per watt of electricity consumed as standard metal halide, high-pressure sodium, or LED grow lights.

Finally, instead of being a standard Western-style greenhouse structure with high sides creating lots of volume and lots of area to heat and cool, Franz used the traditional Chinese style of greenhouse. This is a much more efficient structure to heat and cool, and has other advantages such as low profile in high winds, and the fact that when equipped with an ETFE skin, it will shed rain and snow loads like nobody's business!

What's the BEST thing about these Aquaponic Solar Greenhouses? Using our modular construction system, you can build them yourself, from economical, easily-available, sustainable and renewable materials: standard construction grade lumber and plywood! You don't need to buy overpriced components from far away and then pay for delivery.


The FIRST Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse in full bloom, Heppenheim, Germany, 2011, showing PV panels and growing plants!

(Next week: More on the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse, and how you can build your own! Thanks for listening!).

Click Here To See Our New Aquaponics Video!
Back Issues Of Newsletters Now Available, Click Here!
Purchase Trough Liner Directly From Manufacturer!

Free Farm Tours
Aquaponics tour at the Friendly farm!

We hold a free workshop on our farm the FIRST Saturday of every month,  focused on growing food with aquaponics and permaculture.  Click here for information. See you there!

If you are a school, a non-profit organization, an organization working with the poor, Native Hawaiians, or ex-inmates, or if you are a church, we will hold a free farm tour for you anytime. You DO need to email us first to schedule, or we might be out on errands!


3-1/2 pound kalo (taro root) grown in a 2" net pot (little bump at bottom)


4-month old prawn (macrobrachium rosenbergii) grown in hydroponics troughs of our aquaponics systems

Special Offer! Sign up for our February 16th-17th Aquaponics Greenhouse Training now, and receive a % discount, plus we will email you our Micro System package so you can begin studying aquaponics! ($99.95 value)

More Information on Hawaii Aquaponics Greenhouse Training

In The Farmily

I fell in love with my wife Susanne a little over eleven years ago in a health food store on the Big Island. I remember standing behind this woman at the checkout counter who had this gorgeous red hair down to the back of her knees and thinking "any woman with hair like that has got to have a face like a horse, they never get both", then she turned around and totally changed my world. She was beautiful!

Now, I've been told that you shouldn't marry girls you meet at the bar, and you shouldn't marry girls you meet at church, but no one ever warned me about health food store girls, so here we are eleven years later, as married as it gets.

Marrying my best friend started out good and has just gotten better. With Susanne's constant applications of patience and compassion (I probably would have divorced me  a long time ago!), I'm learning to listen and not be such an idiot as I used to be.

Susanne has a saying: "We're all imprisoned in boxes of our own making. The instructions for getting out of the box are written on the outside, where everyone but ourselves can see them."

I always do my best to remember what she said when I am bothered by a situation, especially when I have a position that includes "But I'm right!". Another telling thing she says is: "Would you rather
be right, or would you rather be loved?". Isn't' the answer to this obvious? One would think so, but how often do we insist on being right, and causing damage to the ones we love, rather than trying to solve the situation in a way that doesn't harm anyone?

The best thing Susanne says, though, is to our kids when
she discovers they've lied about something: "Even when you "get away with it", who always knows that you lied?" And the kids always sheepishly say "I do."  Then she asks "How does that make you feel?", and the answer is always "bad!" We have the most truthful and honest children I've ever met.

See why I love her so much?

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This email, our manuals and construction plans are all copyrighted by  Friendly Aquaponics, Inc, Susanne Friend and Tim Mann, 2008-2011

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Honoka'a, Hawaii 96727

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