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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 123
May 21st,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

In today's "Nugget", we profile our Tennessee commercial aquaponics affiliate, Randy Campbell.
(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 another little sea story by Tim.


(By Randy:) Hey Tim,


As they say... "The hurrier I go the behinder I get!" It seems as if I get one thing off my list and 2 others are taking its place. I'm excited though because that means spring is just about here and I will eventually get caught up.


Anyway, about the newsletter, I'm fine with it and I enclosed a few pics of the greenhouses. I really don't have the capability of sending many more because of our Internet issues. But if you think of a specific one let me know and I'll try to send it. I trust that what ever you write will be fine.

Randy and Katie's Chinese-style Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse in Tennessee in the February snow, 2013.

GreenhouseSnow3Small 2


I'll share my brief story with my convictions and let you work your magic from there. I strongly believe what my wife taught me... "the quality of your life is directly related to the quality of your food." I have known, since the day I stumbled across aquaponics 7 years ago, that I would learn it, apply it and help to perpetuate it. As a 20-year-plus organic Gardener and Master Gardener, I immediately recognized the many benefits that aquaponics has over in-ground growing. So the future of our farm was firmly set.

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



As we began our journey into learning aquaponics we quickly realized that if properly applied, it has the capability of solving the "quality food" issue that challenged us personally and haunts our country. Back in the dark ages, 7 years ago, there was little awareness and limited resources to turn to for educational input.


I searched and found S&S Solutions out of Missouri and UVI (the University of the Virgin Islands aquaponics program). With my wife's illness I could not, both from a time and financial aspect get to the UVI training. (Editor’s note: Randy, Bobby (Randy’s wife and Katie’s Mom) and their daughter Katie valiantly fought Bobby’s cancer together for seven years while it was in Stage 4. Stage 4 means the cancer has metastasized, requires drastic treatment, and usually has a poor prognosis; so this part of their “journey” was pretty miraculous. Bobby passed away in May of 2012, and Randy and Katie are still recovering from that loss).


Fortunately S&S (Tom and Paula Speraneo of S&S AquaSystems) offered a DIY course. I became a student of the game, applying what I was learning with a relentless search for more information. I was hooked to say the least! For the next several years I researched aquaponics and cancer. I continued to apply what I was learning in the limited time I had available.


When they came on the scene, I purchased everything written that Nelson Pade would sell. I would speak with Joel (Backyard Aquaponics) and take his course. I watched when Murray entered the picture and I applied his videos and training. When Friendly Aquaponics entered the picture, I began taking their DIY courses and ultimately took them all. I continued to apply what I was learning while balancing (not really balancing, more like juggling) my wife's care and a full time business.


I begin to see what I thought was a hobby and maybe a part time income producer quickly turning into a business for many. I watched some people in the game (who were acting like predators) pounce to make a quick profit off of the growing interest in aquaponics with books and expensive systems. I watched Will Allen create national awareness with his community supported operation.


I knew that I needed to be significantly more involved and that I could not remain on the sidelines any longer. I took a big step back and methodically reviewed every encounter that I had throughout my aquaponic educational journey. Finally, 2 years ago, as I carefully reviewed this input (from the past 5 years) from all of the sources, I concluded that the "Friendly Way" was the best way.

Not only from functional, efficient, scalable, profitable system building, also from a personal standpoint. I learned that Tim and Susanne actually provide everything they know to everyone they train every time. No strings, no up sale later, and complete ongoing support with any problems at no additional cost.

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



I felt like I could choose any of them to be affiliated with. Heck, I was raised by all of them. I wanted to share our passions to perpetuate this growing method, and after discussing this with Tim and Susanne, they agreed and here I am.


Take Care and give a hello to everyone from Katie and I.



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 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.

(More of Randy Campbell's aquaponics 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!

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 1:

I sailed my SeaRunner 37 “Spice” to Tomales Bay from my home port of Half Moon Bay to haul out in December of 1973, because it was the only place in the Bay Area I found that could handle my 22-foot wide trimaran.

Every marina I called had 16-foot wide Travel-Lifts and couldn't handle my boat. The purpose of the trip was to install the propellor shaft, prop strut, and shaft log for my 6 hp diesel inboard engine, which I had finally (kicking and dragging my heels the whole way) broke down and purchased.


Spice had been a “pure” sailboat for years, and I was proud of my ability to sail into and out of the most crowded harbors and anchorages. This built my sailing skills up fast, and in all those years and miles, I only hit something once, in 45 knots of wind, in a crowded harbor (and that was just a rock breakwater, not an expensive boat!).


I finally adapted my ethics and got the engine because my sailing friends kept telling me horror stories of boats getting swept onto reefs in the South Pacific in calms when their engine failed or because they had none.

So, when I sailed into Tomales Bay across the Tomales Bay bar for the first time, that little diesel engine was in the engine room lashed firmly down to the engine beds; with the prop and shaft firmly lashed down beside them, useless until installed.

I took this trip with a friend, Joseph Rodgers. Joseph and I were buddies who were going sailing together to Paradise when we got the engine in and some money in the kitty, so he crewed up with me from Half Moon Bay (which was “Spice’s” home port at the time) to get some ocean experience.

In those days, we didn’t have GPS or radar, and it was an overnight trip in the light airs and fog to get through the Golden Gate shipping lanes, where the big-ship traffic is enough to give any sailor the heebie-jeebies. When we got to the Tomales Bay entrance, I hadn't gotten any sleep for about 36 hours and had been working the boat the whole time.


We got to the entrance to Tomales Bay about a half hour before slack tide. I even knew that you're not supposed to cross a bar on an outgoing tide cause it undercuts the waves and makes them break on you (which is bad), and I thought we’d timed it perfectly. Because we had a nice 15 knot breeze coming off the land and plenty of way on, we headed towards the bar.

As we got a little closer, we could see “sets” consisting of 4 to 5 large waves breaking all the way across the entrance to the bay, which at this point was about 1,500 feet across. I felt confident and in control of the boat since we were making 8 to 9 knots through the water closehauled into the land breeze, so I timed the sets, sheeted in and drove for the bar on the back of the last wave in a set.

This should have meant that we followed the last dangerous wave in, and then hauled butt out in front of the next ones that were coming along. That’s what it should have meant, but then the wind died completely. Having no engine yet, we didn’t have a lot of options.

So we just sat there, dead in the water, watching the first wave of the next “set” coming relentlessly up behind us. As it got closer and closer I craned my neck up forward to locate the 12-foot tall 8-ton steel channel bouy that the chart said was in the middle of the channel in front of us. Couldn't see it; didn’t like this at all!

(Part 2 next newsletter!)

Aloha, Tim....

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