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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 124
May 28th,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

Today's "Nugget" is the second part of the profile of our Tennessee commercial aquaponics affiliate, Randy Campbell, that we started in newsletter #123..
(Editor’s note: this is all in Randy’s own words. I have added some definitions and clarifications to help out those readers who don’t know Randy and Katie as well as I do. Any errors are mine, Tim......)

Our "In The Farmily" column today is the second part of another little sea story by Tim.


(By Randy:) Hey Tim,


For the past six years when people would ask me "what is aquaponics"? I would respond with the typical, lengthy explanation describing the water, bacteria, fish and plants... you know: the definition we all try to give when we introduce this fascinating growing method to someone new.

We think we can explain it in one long sentence (so we don't lose them) followed by another ridiculously long sentence that touts how little water and energy it uses and then we end with "and it is all organic". That's what I used to do.

Over this past year since Bobbye passed away, my definition has changed drastically. In a year of facing more questions than answers when it comes to life looking back and life looking forward, I discovered what aquaponics really is:

(Below) Randy and Katie's Chinese-style Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse in Tennessee in the February snow, 2013. 70 degrees inside and you had to take your coat off when working with the vegetables!

GreenhouseSnow3Small 2

Aquaponics has many faces. It is all the obvious things like I described above as well as a way to feed our people and bring food to parts of the world that currently have none or little of their own. But when you slow down, as I have, you begin to see it as much more than the obvious.

I know it as health (or even medicine). Katie, Bobbye and I learned through our cancer battle that we as Americans are significantly undernourished, but not under fed... Not at all. It's simply that most food in the grocery store is nutritionally void.

(Below) Randy and Tim showing attendees at the training how easy it is to use a DO (dissolved oxygen) meter to measure oxygen levels in the vegetable troughs.


Bobbye had stage 4 cancer for nearly 5 years of her cancer battle. We used "real food" as medicine. She only ate food that we produced on the farm or organic from the stores. This added significant quality and quantity to her life. I know this may sound strange but she was healthy and vibrant during all but the last few months of her life.

I have learned that Aquaponics is hope. Why do we all want better quality food? Not just because it tastes better. We want it to make us feel better, look better, to stay healthy, to live longer. We all want to avoid cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Aquaponics provides us hope that we can achieve these things with high quality food that we grew ourselves. I think that deep down most of us know that the food that comes from the system is killing us and is directly related to these illnesses.

Aquaponics is independence. We have all grown weary of the constant food recalls, the GMO's, the pesticides, herbicides and radiation in food provided by the current system. Food independence is empowering!

(Below) Tim drinking water from one of Randy and Katie's aquaponics systems. "I've been doing this for six years; it's the reason I absolutely know the food from these systems is safe and healthy" (Tim).


Most of all it is an addiction. Once you build a system and have your first seeds germinate, then you eat your first salad from your system-- you're hooked. You will feel something deep inside, you may not recognize what it is at first but I contend that what you are feeling is the power of your addiction to health, hope and food independence. Support it! You have become a primary producer, something that is rare in today's world!

Tim, you asked me about the future plans that Katie and I have for our aquaponic farm. As of today we have not yet made a step by step plan. We are just living in the now.

However, I can say with certainty, we will continue to support this addiction, to learn more, to expand, support and perpetuate aquaponics every way we can. We will continue to expand our systems, eat great and sell some produce along the way!

Thanks, we'll see you on the journey!

***Randy and Katie Campbell***

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!


Friendly 2013 Training Schedule:
One-Day Benefit Trainings:

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

One-day Orlando, Florida Benefit Training: Saturday, June 1st: TableTop and Backyard Systems. Registration is open NOW! Click here to go to our "Benefit Trainings" page to register for this one-day benefit training. Cost: $100

5-Day Commercial Trainings:

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).

Thise five-day training is designed to allow you to travel during the weekend so you only need to take a week off your busy life to attend.

These five-day trainings all 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.

(Something technically valuable and interesting 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!

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)

Tomales Bay Bar Sucks And Spits, Part 2:

Then I gave up and watched the waves behind us til the last possible second to get myself and my boat lined up for whatever was next. The last thing I saw before I turned forward to concentrate on steering was a wave that was breaking onto us.

Its top was a couple of feet higher than the top of the windvane, (which was 12 feet off the water). The next thing I saw as I turned my gaze forward was Joseph's eyes, which had gone hugely wide and seemed to be all white.


Joseph's job was holding the haul-down line for the centerboard. We had uncleated it and had Joseph holding it because I had some crazy idea that the bar was shallow and that the centerboard, which had a 6-foot draft when fully down, might hit the bottom and kick up.

I told Joseph to feel for it hitting the bottom, let the board kick up, then pull it down again when we got to deeper water. Joseph had completely forgotten about the centerboard and was in some deeper, more primitive place. And then everything was in a deeper, more primitive place.

I remember holding my breath what seemed like forever, wondering if we would come up again. Then, when my head was in the air, I saw ocean draining down past the top of my head, past my shoulders, down the side decks of the boat.

My 6-ton boat was bouncing forward on the breaking wave at a 45-degree angle, just like a 37-foot surfboard a surfer had lost. We were doing 20 knots or so on the fifteen-foot wall of foam that the breaking wave had turned into.

I cranked and cranked on the wheel with no discernible result, then Spice leveled off, straightened out, and took off in front of the wall of foam. In solid water now, she steered like a race car, with the slightest touch on the wheel sending her veering from side to side, cutting through the dark water inside the Bay like a ski boat.

We coasted a little further on that wave, then were beyond the bar and moving into the Bay on a barely perceptible breeze. It was a beautiful sunny day, with little fluffy clouds in the deep blue sky.

Now that I wasn’t too concerned about dying any more, I took stock of the boat: my self-steering windvane was gone, its 1" stainless steel shaft snapped off. My beautiful yellow unsinkable foam-core dinghy, which had been double-lashed to the cabintop, was also gone.

Upon further checking, we found two feet of water in the bilge. Although all the hatches had been closed and dogged, the water had made its way in somehow. Inside the boat it looked like someone with a firehose had cut loose. Everything was soaked and thrown upside down. Needless to say, we were wet and cold.

We sailed in to Marconi Cove, a little marina further in along the Bay, tied up to the dock, and were welcomed by our friends and other mariners there. We were treated to the story of the 38' ketch which (just last month) had rolled and drowned four people at the bar in conditions not quite as bad as those we just experienced.


My friend Joseph got off at the dock, and didn't come by much after that. He never mentioned going sailing to Paradise again. And I never saw the indestructable, unsinkable, bright yellow dinghy, even though I spent a year sailing on Tomales Bay getting ready to go cruising, and kept an eye out for it the whole time. Had to build another one.

(Something interesting next newsletter!)

Aloha, Tim....

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