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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 121
April 24th,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

In today's "Nugget", we begin a new series about our students and their successes. Today we profile 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 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

New York Commercial Training;
June 10-14 (Monday thru Friday) , the 5-day Commercial Aquaponics and Energy Efficient Greenhouse Training, $1,495 per person (this special $1,000 off discount only applies until April 25th).
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 (this special $1,000 off discount only applies until April 25th). 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 #121, Part 1: Wayne Hall; Profile Of An Aquaponics Producer

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

This question has been posed to me numerous times and in order to answer it, I really need to explain how this all came about.

In the summer of 2009 a series of events occurred in my life that forced me to evaluate the direction my life was taking. Having spent the majority of my adult life working in high pressured environments, I realized that this was no longer providing me with the joy and satisfaction that it once held for me.

Even though I was paid well for what I did, it was always for the benefit of others and never truly for me, like the vast majority of the working world at the end of every work day it always felt that I had not accomplished anything for myself, suffice it to say that I was “stuck“, and needed to figure out a way to get “unstuck”.

I spent the next several months trying to find my true path and one day a very close friend of mine sent me an email which contained a link about aquaponics. After reading it several times I called him up and said “This has got to be a scam”.

Of course this sent both of us in search of more information regarding aquaponics, and after weeks of research we both came to the same conclusion that this did indeed appear to work, the only question was would it work here in The Bahamas.

We found several entities offering aquaponics courses, but of all of them only two really stood out, one in the US Virgin Islands and the other in Hawaii, as these most closely matched our own environment in The Bahamas.

In the spring of 2010 my aunt passed away (she was the last of my mother’s immediate family), and all my family came to Nassau to give respects and bid final farewells, including my older brother who lived in Maine, who I had not seen in 15 years since our mother passed away in 1995. As with most family gatherings this gave us an opportunity to catch up and renew family ties.

After he had returned to Maine and several weeks had passed, on one of our many telephone calls I mentioned to him about this thing called “aquaponics”, and said to him that I was seriously considering changing careers and becoming an aquaponics farmer. He stated simply that everyone needed to eat and was I really sure about this as he knew me digging in the dirt in the hot sun was never going to happen as I had only ever worked in an office environment and was not accustomed to any form of manual labour.

Of course I knew he was right, but I told him that this burden had been placed on me to show that it could be done and I had a vision of other aquaponic farms on every island in The Bahamas, so much so that we (aquaponic farmers) could generate enough food to feed the entire nation.

Along the way he got just as excited about it as I was and I sent him to Friendly Aquaponics website to see what I was talking about where he purchased the Microsystem manual himself.

That winter I packed up my belongings, moved from Nassau and relocated to the island of Abaco, where the government had tens of thousands of acres of farmland available.

And so began my adventure of aquaponic farming in The Bahamas.

The Island of Abaco

Over the past 70 years Abaco has been the home of several large (thousand plus acre) traditional farms, which today no longer exist.

In the 1940’s an attempt was made to cultivate sugar cane, which only lasted three seasons as the nutrient levels in the soil were unable to sustain the crop at desired levels. Then an attempt was made to cultivate pineapples, which again only lasted a few seasons.

Over the decades many attempts at traditional farming have been made all with the same outcome.

The only farming which was even remotely successful was the cultivation of citrus trees in the late 60’s for export, which lasted a little more than two decades, requiring massive amounts of fertilizers and pesticides and finally came to an end when blight and the citrus fruit fly put an end to it when all the citrus groves had to be razed and burnt to the ground.

Of course with such a high failure rate for farming, insurance companies considered farming high risk and did not generally offer coverage and even if you get coverage it was very limited and the rate was even higher than hurricane coverage.

(Part Two of Wayne Hall's profile in next week's newsletter, with photos. 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:

I’ve written a lot in this column about my 56-foot “Tropic Bird”, and my 37-foot “Spice”, but my sailing adventures started with a much smaller boat that was only 25 feet long, “Nferbisc” (there’s another whole story behind why I named her such a weird, unmanageable name; it’s pronounced “Enfer-bisk”).

Nferbisc was a Jim Brown-designed SeaRunner trimaran, a fast little daysailing cutter rig with an aluminum mast, flat-cut dacron sails, and no motor. She was a lightweight pure sailing boat, and that was what made this day on San Francisco Bay so interesting.

My best friend from high school Eric Friedman went sailing with me that day.

Eric was hugely experienced on the ocean compared to me; he’s gone out on his Dad;s powerboat for years, while I’d just launched Nferbisc a few months before, and although competent, wasn’t that experienced yet. Eric hadn’t sailed much, but knew a lot about the marine environment in general.

I had the boat docked in a waterfront marina (forget the name of it), and we left from there. It was always interesting sailing around in tight little marina spaces with a boat with no engine, but she was pretty maneuverable and turned quickly in a tight space.

I very seldom hit anything, and when I did, it was usually a dock (docks don’t have owners like boats do, and don’t get angry at you when you run into them).

Eric and I sailed around on the Bay a bit before heading over towards the Gate. This is the Golden Gate Bridge; everyone nautical just refers to it as the Gate. The tide was going out at the time, so we had to be a little careful; if we ran out of wind to make the boat go, we could get swept out to sea on the up-to-six-knot currents going under the bridge.

But we had good wind, so we proceeded. As we got closer to the South Tower of the Bridge, we noticed a boat that was doing some strange things.

At first, she was a long distance away, and we thought she was motoring along, because she had her sails down and the sail covers on. Then we got a little closer, and noticed that she was occasionally spinning around, and going stern-first for awhile, then bow-first.

This struck us as peculiar, and made us even more interested in figuring out what was going on. As we got closer we realized there was no one on deck, and as we got even closer saw, through the binoculars, that the hatches were all closed.

There was even a padlock on the cockpit hatch, and a mooring line hanging straight down from the bow. At this point, we realized what had happened.

Part Two next week: thanks for reading!

Aloha, Tim....

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