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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 48
August 16th,  2011
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,
Today we've just put up a new webpage. We're excited because this development offers a way to get more people growing with aquaponics in an easy and affordable manner! And growing with aquaponics means more people are food self-sufficient (even to a small degree helps, we believe).

The webpage is "System Kit Suppliers And Training Affiliates", and it lists the people and companies that are offering "Friendly" aquaponics training; building and installing "Friendly" aquaponics systems; or selling kit systems with all the parts included to make it easier to get going with aquaponics.

If you like the idea of our DIY systems, but are not as handy with tools as you'd like to be, these are the people who are competent to build and install systems ranging from tabletop in size up to full-size commercial systems of thousands of square feet. In addition to being willing to come to your location to install the system, some of them are offering training in aquaponics also. Some of them also
sell trough liner, fish for stocking aquaponics systems, fish tanks, barrelponics systems and other types of aquaponics systems; call them directly or click on their website link (provided on the page), to communicate with them.

This week's "Nugget" column addresses the entire subject of why we don't really have a choice about adopting aquaponics. You thought aquaponics was a "cute" hobby? You thought this was just a "more sustainable" way to grow food? You thought this was something you might try when you retire, or when you get out of school, or when your kids are bigger? We encourage you to read the "Nugget" so that you understand the urgency behind acting now on this possibility for your future.

If you're interested in commercial scale aquaponics, please take a look at our Commercial Aquaponics Trainings (Special Offer in right sidebar of this email), where you will learn more about real-life operation of a commercial aquaponics system than you can anywhere else in the world. The next training is in Florida in September 2011, followed by one in October 2011 in Hawaii. 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, 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 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 #48:
Why The World Needs Aquaponics NOW!

I've always loved the idea of "organic farms". I first heard about organic food in 1968 in the Bay Area where I grew up; it was readily available even then. Organic food gained in popularity as more and more people became educated as to the benefits of healthy, whole foods. Organic foods are now one of the fastest-growing market segments in the American food production and processing industries.

We were (and still are!) proud and enthusiastic when Susanne got our aquaponics farm USDA organically certified in 2008. However, there's something far more important about aquaponics than just being organically certifiable: aquaponic farms run on electricity. It doesn't sound like a big deal until you think it all the way through and understand it completely.

The first thing you'll notice is that ALL modern food production, organic included, is COMPLETELY DEPENDENT on cheap oil. It's easy to understand that as the price of oil goes up, the price of food will also increase. Unless you believe that oil is a renewable resource, and more is being made for us every day, then you must conclude that oil, AND food, will just get more expensive as time goes on. This claim about organic farming needs a little explanation, though, because "organic" is such a sacred cow it doesn't often get much in the way of critical examination.

Although organic produce IS better for us to eat, farming organically on a commercial scale uses the same amount of oil as farming conventionally with chemical fertilizers and pesticides does. Why? Chemical fertilizers and pesticides for use in conventional farming take a tremendous amount of petrochemical energy to make (usually in the form of natural gas), but organic farming on a commercial scale uses just as much oil (in the form of diesel fuel) to power the tractor, the diesel compost shredder and spreader and the cultivators, to pull the plows for plowing cover crops in, and the organic pesticide sprayers that organic farming uses.

This is why organic farming in the soil is no more sustainable than conventional farming in its use of our oil reserves. When the rising price of oil creates conventionally-farmed AND organic food that sells for more than we can afford to spend, what do we do then?

The answer is: we grow our own food in the backyard, starting last week, and we also adopt commercial food production methods NOW that don't require oil! Although you can grow food in the backyard using a shovel, rake, and hoe, the only type of large-scale commercial food production that is NOT directly connected to the price of oil is aquaponics, powered by renewable energy sources. Aquaponics energy usage is up to 92% LESS than a conventional OR organic farm, and is all electrical, so alternate energy systems such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric can be used to power this farm 100%.

While many food-growing techniques are appropriate for growing food in temperate climates in the soil during normal warm-weather growing seasons (read late spring, summer, and early fall, with a total growing season of five to seven months); aquaponics is the only food production technique that is appropriate for year-round growing in the backyard in greenhouses or hoop houses because it uses space so efficiently! Aquaponic plantings can be made up to five times more densely than in the ground because there is no nutrient depletion of the soil to worry about. Also, aquaponic vegetables grow in literally half the time that the same vegetable does in the soil right next to the aquaponic system.

The combination of the dense planting and vegetable harvest in half the time means that aquaponics systems can turn out up to ten times the weight of vegetables that soil-growing does. This makes aquaponics the most intelligent choice to use for growing inside greenhouses, where the space is expensive and thus must show the most productivity possible to make it feasible. Aquaponics is the single technology that can make year-round growing inside greenhouses or other structures economically feasible. And it's a whole LOT better, isn't it, to be able to EAT year-round rather than just during the normal growing season?

This is why we don't have a choice about adopting aquaponics, and why the world needs aquaponics NOW! Sooner or later we will be forced to get over our addiction to using fossil fuels for farming; forced to do something by the continually-rising costs for fuel and fertilizer. If we start adopting aquaponics now, while we still have the resources to move in that direction, then there's a good chance that we can keep feeding everyone we're feeding now. If we don't, all that's left for us is to continue hoping that someone will find a cheap substitute for oil, OR a cheap substitute for food.

(Next: Food Safety In Aquaponics Systems")

Big Aquaponics  Conference in Florida:
Aquaponics Video!
Back Issues Of Newsletters Now Available, Click Here!
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  our September 2011 Florida Commercial Aquaponics Training, OR our October 2011 Hawaii Commercial Aquaponics Training now, and we will email you our Micro System package so you can begin studying aquaponics! ($99.95 value)

More Information on Hawaii and Florida Commercial Aquaponics Training

In The Farmily
Our attitude is Polynesian: We share food and other resources with those less fortunate. And there are many (even in Hawaii) who are less fortunate than us.

Stop for a moment, and think….what is in your ‘fridge right now? What is in your cupboards? You could live on the food in your house for several weeks, if you needed to. There are few of us in the ‘First World” who have any real idea what it means to be hungry…let alone starving.

Half the world's population– three and a half BILLION people – live on a dollar a day or less, and have a net worth of less than $50. Our children have a net worth of more than that, and I bet yours do too! Right NOW, in this very moment, there are millions of individuals who love their children, just like you do, and love their own lives, just like you do, who are literally without food. They live in hunger; many of them are starving.

Add enough starving individuals together, and you have a “famine".
If there are hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of individuals, it is considered a “mass famine".

Examples of mass famines would include the Irish “potato famine” of the 1850's, and famine in the USSR in the 1930’s in which
five and a half million people are believed to have perished. Reading up on the history and facts of these and other famines would be a good idea right now if we want to avoid this happening again.

he USSR had a mass famine in the 1930’s that was deliberately created by the regime of that day - tens of millions died. The Chinese Communist regime  also caused a famine that killed tens of millions of Chinese after it came to power in the ‘40s.

A little known fact, (recently demonstrated by a Russian researcher) was that as many as seven million Americans may have died of starvation during what is now called the Great Depression of the ‘30’s.

We're doing
what we can to teach people the value of growing their own food, and how to be self-sufficient in as many other areas as possible. What can you do to help?
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This email, our manuals and construction plans are all copyrighted by  Friendly Aquaponics, Inc, Susanne Friend and Tim Mann, 2008-2010

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