With Roots in Soilless Growing and Desire to Promote Health, Couple Sets Sights on Aquaponics OperationJuly 24, 2015 | AJ Hughes
An aquaponics operation is coming to Goshen, Indiana, a town in the northern part of the state already rich with farms and a culture of local food.
Given the name High Water Mark by its founders, husband and wife Noah and Ruth Smucker, the aquaponics farm will be a source of organic produce.
Aquaponics combines hydroponics with the raising of fish, so plants and fish sustain each other.
Currently, the Smuckers have a small aquaponics system upstairs in their house, but what they plan to do is tear down their garage and build a 700-square-foot greenhouse in its place. They hope to have this completed later this year.
Vertical Fresh Farms is a small aquaponic operation in Buffalo, New York. How small? The vertical farm is small enough to fit into owner Jeremy Witt’s garage.
That’s all by design. Witt and Matt Latham, the farm’s other co-owner, planned Vertical Fresh Farms’ small but sustainable layout.
From 2011 until spring of 2014, Latham and Witt intensely researched aquaponics to figure out how they could afford to build their own farm.
“Last year, we finally decided that we would start small and started out with a prototype,” Witt says. The prototype takes up an area that’s about 250 square feet.
A new Aquaponics Innovation Center (AIC) in Montello, Wisconsin is the result of a public-private partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) and Nelson and Pade, Inc.
Hydroponics and aquaponics are an important part of sustainable agriculture, especially in space-scarce urban areas. Numerous high schools recognize the bright future of hydroponics and aquaponics, and as a result include it as part of their curriculum.
Here is a sampling of those across the nation:
New York City resident Jason Green wanted good local produce available in his city on a year-round basis. Concluding that other New Yorkers wanted the same thing, he addressed this insufficiency with aquaponics.
Desiring a more intimate relationship with food, Green was already gardening in his apartment window box. But in order to grow local produce year-round in New York City, he knew that a new sort of infrastructure was needed.
So Green, along with co-founders Ben Silverman and Matt La Rosa, founded Edenworks, which utilizes vertically-terraced, closed loop, modular aquaponic ecosystems.
After New Mexico Black Chamber of Commerce chairman Michael McNair investigated why some black farmers in the state experienced water shortages, he learned about aquaponics from watching videos on YouTube.
In a moment of epiphany, he realized that aquaponics would work not only for these farmers, but for the entire state of New Mexico. Since, he has become president of the New Mexico Aquaponics Association, and helped spearhead New Mexico House Bill 201, which adds tilapia and hybrid striped bass to the list of fish regulated by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.
When a Benedictine sister at a St. Leo, Florida monastery wanted to do more in helping feed the hungry and heal the world, she did something a bit unexpected: she started an onsite aquaponics system.
Prior to this endeavor, Sister Miriam Cosgrove’s knowledge of aquaponics did not extend far. So last March, she sought the advice of experts at Morning Star Fishermen, an international aquaponics research and training center in nearby Dade City.
But there were still other hurdles to jump. First was the issue of funding. Second, the City of St. Leo wanted Holy Name Monastery to acquire a permit to start construction. This led to Cosgrove having to educate city officials about what aquaponics entails.
Pablo Alvarez and Craig Petten are Toronto natives with a combined 40 years of experience in the food industry. By starting a new aquaponic farm in their home city, the co-founders hope to both increase Toronto’s food stability and increase people’s connection with their food.
Alvarez and Petten first discovered aquaponics during their time at Humber College, where they majored in Sustainable Energy and Building Technology. After 20 years working in the hospitality industry in Toronto, the pair founded Aqua Greens. As Petten explains, their work in hospitality allowed them to see first hand the lack of connection between food and its source.