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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 122
April 30th,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

In today's "Nugget", we continue our series with Part 2 about our student Wayne Hall, an aquaponic producer in the Bahamas; and his experience getting a commercial aquaponics operation started there.

Our "In The Farmily" column today is the conclusion of a little sea story by Tim.

Friendly 2013 Training Schedule:

One-day New York Benefit Training: Saturday, June 8th: TableTop and Backyard Systems (this is a BENEFIT, by donation). Registration is open NOW! Click here to go to our "New York Trainings" page to register for this one-day benefit training. Cost: $100

Although our normal price for these 5-day trainings is $2,495, we were offering a special discount of $1,000 off, or only $1,495, until our deadline of April 25th. However, we've had so many requests to extend the deadline that we've decided to extend it right up until the courses themselves.

We are happy to give this gift to you. We hope it helps you attend the most advanced comprehensive commercial aquaponics and greenhouse training in the world.

New York Commercial
Aquaponics and Energy Efficient Greenhouse Training; 5-day training from June 10-14 (Monday thru Friday), $1,495 per person.
Click here to register for the New York Training!

Click here to find out more about the New York Training!

Commercial Aquaponics and Energy Efficient Greenhouse Training, $1,495 per person. First 5-day  training: June 17-21st (register here for first Tennessee training). . Second 5-day training: June 24-28th (register here for Tennessee second training).

(Click here for more information on Tennessee trainings).

These five-day trainings allow you to travel during the weekend so that you only need to take a week off your busy life to attend.

All of these five-day trainings include our $999 DIY Commercial Aquaponics package, $998 DIY Farmer's Market Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse package, $1,998 DIY Commercial Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse package, and new $295 DIY Commercial Tilapia Hatchery manual as course materials, plus our Plywood/Epoxy/ Tank manual, CAD construction drawings for all greenhouses and aquaponics systems, and much more!

If you're located near Tennessee, Randy and Katie give regular free farm tours of their aquaponics systems and greenhouses to introduce the public to the benefits of aquaponics and energy-efficient greenhouse growing. Call Randy and Katie at 256-679-9488 or email Randy to find out when the next farm tour is scheduled.

More details of the Aquaponics Technology course here.

More details of the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse course here.

More details of the Commercial Aquaponics course here.

For smaller home backyard and apartment systems, please read on:

Purchase Construction Plans and Operating Info for 4 Different Sizes of Table Top Aquaponics Systems $49.95

Our TableTop System package includes easy-to-understand building instructions and operating information for 4 different sizes of small aquaponic systems based on our years of experience. 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, and fun too!

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 TableTop Systems!

  Aquaponics Nugget #122, Part 2: Wayne Hall; Profile Of An Aquaponics Producer

"Why Did I Decide To Go Into Farming In The Bahamas?"

(If you missed the first part of this article, you can read it here).

Against this agricultural backdrop is where I begin.

(Below) Photo of Wayne's farm's location on the island of Abaco, in the Bahamas, from Google maps).


There are indeed smaller farms in Abaco, most of less than 10 acres, with only a few larger ones, growing mostly tomatoes, watermelon, root crops (sweet potatoes, cassava, eddy and like crops) and onions, in addition to a pot luck of other crops which do well in this environment.

Because of all the previous endeavors at farming there are thousands of acres of cleared and tilled land sitting uncultivated, only growing wayward shrubs.

For me the first order of business was to acquire a lease of the necessary land, which in any small island nation requires the delicate maneuvering within the politically entrenched public service establishment, indeed I was fortunate as the Chairman of BAIC (Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation) was a person whom I had known for almost 20 years, in addition he was also a successful farmer for many years and understood the needs of farming. BAIC is a government corporation and holds approximately 60,000 acres of land throughout the Bahamas.

We sat down and I explained what I wanted to do and he gave me his advice and indicated the requirements to obtain a lease of farm land. I prepared the necessary documents and submitted my proposal in early 2011 requesting a 50 acre allocation of land.

In May 2011 I received an offer of lease for an initial 10 acres of land in the old sugar cane fields, and the Chairman indicated that the local BAIC district manager would show me the areas which were available, and I should select an area that would be most suitable for what I wanted to do.

Ultimately I was placed on a portion of land which would allow me to grow unencumbered and encompassed a total of approximately 225 plus acres of unallocated land.

(Below) Wayne's agricultural lease; which is expandable from the red area (his current lease) to the entire area if he wishes.


Next I had to obtain all the necessary licenses, permits and registrations which would allow me to proceed with my aquaponics endeavor.

As I knew this would take a considerable amount of time I researched the local market to determine what products were currently being produced by other farmers, what products were imported and which products I should place focus on, and what quantities were currently being consumed both in and out of season.

Initial focus was placed on the local market of Abaco, with a total year round population of approximately 20,000 local residents, as it is considered a high end seasonal destination (December thru July) the visitor population can exceed 100,000 per month. Further research indicated that imported goods (which can be grown in aquaponics) during season was approximately sixty-four 40ft containers or about 52,000 cases per month.

Finally I needed to determine an acceptable price structure which would allow me to make a reasonable profit and still be able to compete with the price of imported goods.

I still needed to attend the Commercial Training which at the time was only offered in Hawaii and was trying to figure out how I was going to be able to travel to Hawaii and take the training without breaking the bank, as I was currently unemployed and only had a set amount of finances to make this all work. Fortunately the Commercial Training was being offered in Florida in September which I was able to attend.

By the time the training was complete I had all but two of the licenses, permits and registrations, the last hurdle being the aquaculture permit and the fish farming registration, of course a pre-requisite to these was the necessary training.

I then proceeded to apply for the aquaculture permit, which should have only taken 2 weeks to obtain, however it took way longer than expected, and finally on the 7th of December I had to write a letter to my local parliamentarian representative requesting his assistance, which I put in his hand personally on the 8th of December, it just so happened that he was also the Prime Minister of the Bahamas.

(Part Three of Wayne Hall's profile in next week's newsletter. Thanks for reading!)

Costco cold room small 2

Our Farmily with our product in a "Big Box" store; the first time ever that a little mom and pop (Aquaponics!) farm took an account away from a multimillion dollar agribusiness. You'll see more of this, because you as consumers will demand it!

The photo below is our Second Generation Solar Greenhouse, at ten in the morning in the Tennessee winter. It's growing plants inside right now, and you have to take your jacket off because it's so warm! It's cool when it's hot, and warm when it's cold (hope that makes sense to you, it's the best greenhouse we've ever seen!).

GreenhouseSnow3Small 2

Watch The Friendly  Aquaponics Philosophy Video!
Back Issues Of Newsletters Now Available, Click Here!
Purchase Trough Liner Directly From Manufacturer!

New Source! Trout Fry/Fingerlings Shipped Directly From the Hatchery To You!

Free Farm Tours
Aquaponics tour at the Friendly farm!

We hold a free workshop on our farm the FIRST Saturday of every month at 10:00,  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!


Thousands of inch-long "fifty-cent" baby tilapia from our "backyard" hatchery


What they turn into about a year later: a beautiful 2-pound white tilapia grown in the fish tanks of our aquaponics systems

Special Offers!

Sign yourself up

for the New York June 10-14th, 2013 Commercial Aquaponics and Solar Greenhouse Training
NOW, and get a $1,000 discount, plus you receive a free Micro System DIY package so you can begin studying aquaponics! ($99.95 value)


Sign yourself up for the FIRST

Or sign yourself up for the SECOND

TENNESSEE June 2013 Commercial Aquaponics and Solar Greenhouse Trainings
NOW, and get a $1,000 discount, plus you receive a free Micro System DIY package so you can begin studying aquaponics! ($99.95 value)

Floating Out On The Tide Part 2:

The boat had been moored somewhere in the Bay, and the mooring line had chafed through, letting the boat drift with the tide out towards the Gate.

This really excited Eric, and he started muttering something about “salvage rights”. I didn’t understand at first, but he finally got me to see what he was talking about: if we put a towline on this boat now and towed it back to a marina, we might get thanked for saving it.

BUT, if we drifted out the Gate with it, and waited until we were outside the 12-mile limit, then put a line on it and towed it back, we would have a 100% salvage claim on the boat (means we’d own it).

Eric was really excited, because the sailboat in question was a nice fiberglass Cheoy Lee 35-foot sloop with teak decks. It was a $35,000 boat, and back then $35,000 was like $120,000 now. As far as Eric was concerned, we were going to go over, put a line on the boat, and tow it in.

The problem was, Eric had gotten all his sea experience on a powerboat, and with a powerboat, you can put a line on another boat and “tow it in”, only going a little slower in the process than you normally would.

However, trying to tow something with a sailboat is kind of like trying to tow a car with a bicycle; it is theoretically possible, but there are many practical considerations to overcome.

The first consideration is that my sailboat had no extra power to use for towing another boat. In retrospect, after 40 years of deepwater sailing experience, I could have towed that 35-footer with my 56-foot sailboat Tropic Bird.

It would have been difficult, but not dangerous, with the big 56-footer. But the 25-footer had about 1/10 of the “horsepower” in its sails that the 56-footer had, making this job nearly impossible.

The second consideration was the fact that the Cheoy Lee weighed around 10 tons, and my boat weighed one.

This wouldn’t have been a problem in flat water, but by now we were in the ocean swells coming in the Gate, which had a six-foot wind chop driving on top of them.

In other words, if I’d tried to meet the two boats up to put a towline between them, we’d be going up and down a minimum of six feet right next to something weighing ten tons that was going up violently when we were going down, and vice versa.

Even if this didn’t crush part of my little boat like an eggshell, it was a good candidate for producing crushed fingers and hands while trying to get from one boat to the other; or for just plain going into the drink with full foul-weather gear and boots on.

So after I came up with these two considerations, Eric came up with another idea: put a towline on Nferbisc, take it over to the Cheoy Lee, then open up the locked hatch, hot wire the engine on the Cheoy Lee, and tow Nferbisc back to the dock

Problems? Number one: Eric, you’re crazy! Number Two: I didn’t have a crowbar or a tire iron on Nferbisc to “open” the hatch with, only a screwdriver!. Number Three: we didn’t even know if the Cheoy Lee had an engine, or if it worked, or if it had fuel.

Number Four,the biggie: neither of us had ever tried anything like this before, and had no experience, however, Eric had been there when his Dad towed a small boat with his 40-foot powerboat. Once.

By now it was around 5:30; it was rapidly getting dark under the Gate, and I was pretty discouraged. It was obvious that only with an incredible combination of luck, seamanship, and hard work would we be able to pull this off and rescue the gallant little boat, and even then, we’d be getting in to the closest marina about 11:00 at night.

This last was what clinched it for me; I had already been out sailing on the Bay for most of the day, and was tired, hungry, and slightly hypothermic. I'm certain Eric was too. After juggling all the possibilities, I realized there was a good chance this could end with either or both Eric and I badly injured or even dead.

At that point I put down my foot as captain (of my diminutive vessel) and said no. I didn’t like the idea of letting someone’s pride and joy just go drifting out the Gate, but I liked even less the idea of trying to haul Eric or myself out of the water after we missed our jump to the other boat in the rough seas we were in.

So we reluctantly turned around, and headed back towards a safe harbor, hot food and drink, and a warm bunk. That was 42 years ago, and I’ve often found myself wondering, usually late at night, what happened to the beautiful little Cheoy Lee.

Something fun next week: thanks for reading!

Aloha, Tim....

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