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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 8
June 22, 2010
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

People ask "What is different about your aquaponics systems?".  That's easy to answer: we earn our living from operating our aquaponics systems. We give you  accurate information that comes from our three years of commercial aquaponic production experience. Many people say Aquaponics is organically certifiable.
We did it! We are the first aquaponics farm in the USA to get USDA Organically certified and Food Safety Certified. Since then, five of our students have gotten their systems organically certified. We know how!

Our New Technology = The Easy Way
Backyard Technology:
Newly expanded Micro Systems 64 and 128

Our complete Micro Systems Do-It-Myself aquaponics manual and plans package shows you how to build AND operate stable, durable, and productive 64 and 128 square foot backyard aquaponics systems in two weekends of construction time for less than $700 (for the 64), or $900 (for the 128) worth of materials you can buy locally,. These mainland prices include freight on the few items needing to be shipped; it's about $250-350 higher in Hawaii.

Our smaller Micro System (the 64) is 15% to 600% LARGER than aquaponics kits we have seen offered on the internet. Check out these prices (none of which include shipping!):

* FGS-2 system with 20 sq ft of growbed area for $3,695.00
* Phoenix "Farm in a Box" with 56 sq ft growbed area for $2,995.00
* (Nelson and Pade) 4T50-2-4x6 system with 48 sq ft growbed area for $5,756.00

* (Murray Hallam) Balcony Aquaponics Kit with ~10 sq ft growbed area for $2,280

We include the URLs of these websites so you can see what is   available and compare it to our Micro Systems. The larger Micro System 128 is two times larger than the largest of these kits, but even including all materials, equipment and the cost of the plans it is only one third the price!  You decide if these kits are overpriced, and if our Micro Systems are the best way to go.  

Click to visit our website and  learn more about our Micro Systems!
Community-scale Technology:
Newly expanded Family Systems 256 and 512

Our Family Systems are ideal for a LARGE family, a small community, or a church group. We expanded our Family  aquaponics manual and plans from 256 square feet of grow bed area to include plans, instructions, and materials list for a 512 square foot system also.  Family system plans also include the plans and manual for the Micro Systems 64 and 128! There's information on construction costs, operating costs, and expected yields for the Family System on our website at this page:

Click to visit our website and  learn more about our Family Systems!

Commercial Technology:
Affordable Commercial Systems

The technology in the manuals and construction plans for all our systems comes from the large commercial systems we have been operating continuously for three years. All systems are as economical and easy to build as possible while still being durable and productive. Commercial system plans also include the Family system plans, and the plans and manual for the Micro Systems 64 and 128!

Click to visit and  learn more about our Commercial Systems!
Aquaponics Nugget #8:
So you want to make a living with commercial aquaponics?

So you want to make your living running an aquaponics system? Where do you start? You start by building and operating a SMALL aquaponics system first! Why?

1. There are many varieties of each vegetable available. They will all grow differently in your locale; some better, some worse, and some not at all! Unless you do a test grow of several varieties, you will never know if the one or two you selected were a good or poor choice. Basing a commercial operation on a single growth test of a couple of varieties of a vegetable is a poor business tactic. Building and planting out a small system first before you start building a large  system is good business sense, and also gives you confidence and experience in operating an aquaponics system.

2. You can test market with the (successful) vegetables from your small system. Get samples to potential buyers; aquaponics produce is usually much higher quality and has a longer shelf life than organic produce grown in soil! Your buyers will need to experience this to understand it: it's up to you to educate them if you want the higher prices that this high-quality produce can bring. You also get to EAT it yourself! The cash value to you of what you grow for yourself is the same as if you earned retail price for it instead of wholesale.

3. Ir's beneficial to have time to arrange a source of fish for your commercial system and get comfortable working with them before you start large-scale operation. If you put in a large commercial system, you will need to procure (up to) thousands of pounds of fish from somewhere to "power" the hydroponic grow area. If you start with one or two smaller systems, you can use them to hold the fish and increase their weight (and your level of confidence working with the fish) until your commercial system is ready; perhaps even building a medium-size system as an intermediate step. After your commercial system is up and running, a small system is useful as a test system for a new vegetable variety or aquaponics technique you want to try. This way, you do not have to risk an entire crop in a large system to try a few square feet of something out. It also makes a great home produce system, because it is as productive as the larger systems square foot for square foot, and always will be.

Commercial Trainings
Tim in training
Aquaponics training
in the classroom

We invite you to our fifth Commercial Aquaponics Training and second Biogas Training October 4th through 9th, 2010, in Honoka;a, Hawaii. Your trainers Susanne and Tim guarantee it will be the most valuable training you have ever taken or your money will be cheerfully refunded in front of the entire class!
You can do this too! We'd never farmed before in our lives, and just two years after breaking ground we were delivering 500 pounds of organic lettuce mix per week to our local Costco!

squash and melons in our aquaponics

Squash and melon plants in our aquaponics system

Our students now operate upwards of 12 commercial aquaponics farms (we lost count, but we know 5 are USDA certified organic), as a result of the trainings we have given since October 2008 alone. Many more projects by students are underway.

freshwater prawn

Freshwater prawn from our hydroponics troughs

Special Offer! Sign up for this Aquaponics training now, and we will email you  our Micro System package so you can begin studying aquaponics! ($99.95 value)

Sign up for this Training

In The Farmily
We call our extended family of kids, adults, farm interns, and aquaponics students our "Farmily". Our attitude is the same as the Hawaiians: they classify a person as either a family member or an enemy. So, we always assume the best about a person and have high expectations of them until they prove us wrong.

In Hawaii, we pull over and ask people stuck by the side of the road if they need help. We share our food and other resources with those less fortunate than us. And there are very few people we don't consider family. The Farmily just happens to be those who actually live on the farm with us!
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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Friendly Aquaponics, Inc
PO Box 1196
Honoka'a, Hawaii 96727

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