Author: Brian Filipowich

Revised Statement on the White House’s Aquaculture Executive Order

The Aquaponics Association has published a Revised Statement on the White House’s Aquaculture Executive Order 13921, Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. This revision reflects the importance of marine aquaculture. This Statement is another step in an ongoing conversation to create a more effective, long-term national system of aquaculture.

Click here to read the full statement: Revised Statement on the White House’s Aquaculture Executive Order 13921, Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth

On May 7th, the current Administration issued an Executive Order on Aquaculture. While the Aquaponics Association appreciates and supports recognition of domestic seafood production, the EO stopped short of embracing the diversity of seafood production systems and would like to see expansion of the Order.  

Do you want to join the community and help expand the practice of Aquaponics?

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit Member-based organization that expands the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause. Your $60 Membership fee will help us grow aquaponics!

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new industries
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Please consider a General Membership to support aquaponics!

Aquaponics Cannabis Master Class from Potent Ponics

Check out this great class from our Affiliate Member, Potent Ponics!

This comprehensive class covers all you need to know to successfully grow cannabis aquaponicly including: System Design, Nutrients & Supplementation, Pest Management, Plumbing Design and Troubleshooting, Fish Husbandry, Maximizing Yields, Fast tracking new genetics, Microbial Inputs, Harvesting and Curing, Licensing and Permitting, Archive of Insects & Pathogens both Video and Pictorial, Reference Tables and countless other topics. It’s a little cheaper before the end of the month so if you’re looking for the ideal holiday gift for your sustainably minded stoner there’s never been a better time to dive in especially with federal legalization being just around the corner. New sections will be released weekly starting on Saturday with all content Live before Christmas. New sections, slides, and demonstrations will be added regularly to keep you current on the latest innovations. More info at www.APMJClass.com or see the link in my description.  

Cultivating the Future Videos and Presentations

Hello Cultivating the Future Participants!

Please see here a page with links to all the Slide Deck Presentations

Please see here a list of all the Cultivating the Future Videos:

Keynote Sessions

Commercial Aquaponics

Community Aquaponics

Aquaponics Research

Aquaponics in STEM Education

General Growing

Public Policy

2020 Statement on the Organic Certification of Aquaponic Crops

The Aquaponics Association is publishing the 2020 Statement on the Organic Certification of Aquaponic Crops to explain to policy-makers, the media, the public, and other industry players that aquaponics is a perfect fit for the Organic label; and that losing Organic-eligibility will set back this vital, sustainable industry. Over 200 organizations and individuals signed the Statement. 

See the full Statement and signatories, below, or click here for a PDF: 2020 Statement on the Organic Certification of Aquaponic Crops.

We have to raise our voices to keep Aquaponics, Hydroponics, and other Controlled-Environment Growing eligible for USDA Organic certification! A Lawsuit against the USDA is attempting to strip Organic-eligibility from hydroponics and other “container-based” agriculture, which will impact aquaponics growers.

In addition to this public Sign-On Statement, The Aquaponics Association has formally signed an Amicus Brief to the Court, expressing our view that aquaponics and other “container-based” growing must remain Organic-eligible. The Amicus brief was organized by the Coalition for Sustainable Organics.

***This campaign will persist even after the court case, you can still get involved! Sign on the next version and receive updates.

Here is the full Statement:

November 23, 2020

2020 Statement on the Organic Certification of Aquaponic Crops

In Relation to Case No 3:20-cv-1537 before the US District Court for the Northern District of California

The Aquaponics Association and undersigned organizations and individuals write to express our support for the continued eligibility for aquaponic crops to be certified USDA Organic. We are opposed to the pending lawsuit that seeks to revoke this eligibility: Case No 3:20-cv-1537 regarding the Organic Certification of “hydroponic operations, which are production systems that grow food and crops without any soil.”

Aquaponics is a food production method integrating fish and plants in a closed, soil-less system. This symbiotic relationship mimics the biological cycles found in nature. Aquaponics has been used as a farming technique for thousands of years and is now seeing large-scale viability to feed a growing global population with fresh produce and efficient fish protein.

Benefits of aquaponics include dramatically less water use; minimal agriculture discharge to air, water, and soil; the ability to grow food in cities, deserts, and other inhospitable climates; and more production per land area.

Aquaponic systems include a hydroponic component in which plants are grown. If this lawsuit is successful, many aquaponic growers will likely lose their organic certification that is critical to their economic success.

Aquaponics Fits the Organic Mission
The Organic label is about empowering consumers to identify products that match their values. Consumers do not prefer organic because it is grown in soil; they prefer it because it is pesticide-free, environmentally sustainable, and relies on natural ecosystems for plant growth.

So, does aquaponic produce align with what the consumer expects when they purchase “Organic”?… YES!

“Organic” is perceived by consumers to mean:

Production without synthetic chemicals
Many aquaponic farms operate with only Organic, OMNI-certified materials. Aquaponic systems can thrive without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Production that fosters the cycling of resources, ecological balance, and biodiversity conservation
Aquaponic systems can be closed-loop ecosystems in which only the minimum required water and nutrients are added and with minimal or no discharge. Aquaponics has also proven that it can produce more food than soil culture per area, thus saving more of the natural environment from the ever-growing toll of large-scale agriculture. And, aquaponics produces the most efficient animal protein: fish.

Production that relies on biological ecosystems to support plant health
Aquaponic systems rely on a robust microflora in the root zone—made of the same types and numbers of bacteria and fungi that thrive in soil. This flora converts nutrients into forms available to plants and maintains plant health by reinforcing naturally-occurring mechanisms of disease resistance—just as in a healthy soil.

Production that responds to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices
Consumers expect that organic produce has been grown with a healthy human element, where local customs, expertise, and ingenuity can overcome droughts, concrete jungles, and climate changes. Aquaponics allows environmentally-sensitive agriculture where growing in soil isn’t possible. And, controlled environment growing offers the possibility of local food year-round.

This lawsuit, if successfully, would prevent entire regions of the country from the benefits of the organic label to their farmers.

In an era of climate change, resource depletion, and rapid population growth, the organic price premium is a critical incentive to draw more growers into aquaponics. If this lawsuit succeeds, the aquaponics industry will not grow as quickly and our environment, health, and economy will suffer.

On behalf of the Aquaponics Association, and the undersigned organizations and individuals (in italic), listed by state.

ALABAMA
Gardens on Air

Southern Organics
Dan Cloutier
James Green

ALASKA
Mike Ivkin
Tyrone Brown

ARIZONA
Troy Foote

CALIFORNIA
The Agua Farmers

AONE Aquaponics
Butler Valley Carole Sund Center
Celltech Co.
Class1 produce
Fresh Farm Aquaponics
Go Fish Farm
Lavineyard Farms
Milehigh Aquaponics
SchoolGrown Aquaponics
Seouchae Natural Farming
Shwava, Inc.
Smart Bee Controllers
Taylor B. Duryee
Dustin M Gannon
Karissa Lawson
Raymond J Sanders
Patrick Silvis
Elizabeth Van Pelt
Mark Weyant

COLORADO
R5 High School

The Aquaponic Source
Bountyhaus School Farms
Colorado Aquaponics
Dahlia Campus for Health and Wellness Aquaponic Farm
Ecoponex Systems International LLC
Emerge Aquaponics
Fisheries Technology Associates, Inc
Flourish Farms
Grand Valley Greens
GroFresh Farms 365
Northsider Farms LLC

CONNECTICUT
Bigelow Brook Farm

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Anacostia Aquaponics DC LLC

P.R. Harris Food Hub
University of the District of Columbia

FLORIDA
Aquaponic Lynx LLC

The Aquaponics Doctors, Inc.
The Family Farm
GreenView Aquaponics, LLC
Sahib Aquaponics
Traders Hill Farm
Paul Fouche
Aubrey K Sloan
Pardeep K Vedi

GEORGIA
FM Aquaponic Farm

Georgia Aquaponic Produce LLC
TRC Aquaponics
Ula Farms
Alicia Holloway-Ricks
Amber C. Monroe

Mary Sharpe

HAWAII
Friendly Aquaponics, LLC

ILLINOIS
Central Illinois Aquaponics

KENTUCKY
K&L Organics

Purple Thumb Farms
Regenerative Ecosystems
West KY Aquaponics

LOUISIANA
Aquatic Ecosystems LLC
Carrie Brekeen 

MARYLAND
Bella Vita Farm

Greenway Farms, LLC
University of Maryland

MASSACHUSETTS
Aquaponics Academy
Garrett M. Tunison
Manrique Varela

MICHIGAN
Vital Aquaponics

Toure LEE

MINNESOTA
Bright Future Farms

Menagerie Greens Inc.
Eric Lundborg

MISSOURI
7Cs Winery

Aquatic Gardens Greenhouse
Irene Cassens
Lisa McLaurin
Barry Skelton
Ryan Warbritton
Janna White

MISSISSIPPI
Synergy Aqua Farms

Raymond Parker III

NORTH CAROLINA
100 Gardens

Front Line Urban Farms
Grace Goodness Aquaponics Farm, LLC
William Tilson

NORTH DAKOTA
Barfield Fresh Organic Produce & Fish, Inc.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Victory Aquaponics
 

NEW MEXICO
Desert Verde Farm LLC

Growing the Greens
High Desert Aquaponics
Howling Coyote Farms
Lettuce, Etc. LLC
Openponics
Project Urban Greenhouse
Sanctuary at ABQ
Santa Fe Community College
Payton Davis
Dylan W. Martin
Rossana Sallenave 

NEW YORK
iGrow News

Oko Farms
Melissa Owens
Marc L. Maynard
 

OHIO
Berean Aquaponic Farms and Organics LLC

Wildest Farms

OKLAHOMA
Greener Grounds LLC

Reid Ranch
Symbiotic Aquaponic LLC
Donald Jackson
David Turner
Jeff Wimberly

OREGON
Ingenuity Innovation Center

Live Local Organic
Practical Aquaponics
Triskelee Farm

PENNSYLVANIA
Aquaponics at State High
Farms Close By
Yehudah Enterprises LLC
Jack Lyke

TEXAS
BioDiverse Technologies LLC

BnE Enterprises
Doodley Dee’s Farm, LLC
East Texas Aquaponics, LLC
GardenWorks Farms
Gentlesoll Farm
HannaLeigh Farm
K&E Texan Landscaping
King’s Farm
The Modern Victory Garden
R&B Aquatic Distribution, Inc.
Tarleton State University, Aquaponics Hydrotron
West Texas Organic Gardening

UTAH
Aquaponics Olio

Carl Searle
Pany Zak

VIRGINIA
Gold-Micro Corporation

Grace Aquaponics
Return to Roots Farm

VERMONT
The Mill ART Garden

Courtney Dragiff

WASHINGTON
Impact Horizon, Co.

The Farm Plan
Life Tastes Good LLC
Northwest Aquaponics LLC
Wind River Produce
Ed Favilla
Jason Morse
Don Mueller

WISCONSIN
Nelson and Pade, Inc.

Jayne Lauby

INTERNATIONAL
International Society of Horticultural Science

AUSTRALIA
Wirralee Pastoral Solum Farm
Practical Aquaponics

BHUTAN
Chhuyang – Aquaponics in Bhutan

BRAZIL
Habitat Marte

Pedra Viva Aquicultura

BULGARIA
Via Pontica Foundation

CANADA
Agro Resiliency Kit (ARK) Ltd.
Fresh Flavor Ltd
Lethbridge College
W.G. Guzman Technical Services
Garden City Aquaponics Inc.
Green Oasis Foods Ltd.
Pontus Water Lentils Ltd.
Aquatic Growers
University of Guelph
Power From Within Clean Energy Society
GREEN RELIEF
Graeme Smith Consulting
ML Aquaponics Inc
North Star Agriculture

EGYPT
Central Laboratory for Aquaculture Research

FRANCE
Vegetal Grow Development

INDIA
Prof Brahma Singh Horticulture Foundation, New Delhi
Blue’s and Green’s
Spacos Innovations Private Limited

ITALY
Grow Up 

JORDAN
Aquaponics AI

MALAYSIA
BNS Aquafresh Farming

NIGERIA
University of Abuja

PHILIPPINES
Central Luzon State University
IanTim Aquaponics Farm

PORTUGAL
True Spirit Lda

ROMANIA
Bucharest Association of Romanian Aquaponics Society

SAUDI ARABIA
Aquaponica

SENEGAL
Ucad Dakar

SINGAPORE
Aquaponics Singapore 

Contact:
Brian Filipowich, info@legacy.aquaponicsassociation.org

$150 Million in New USDA Grants for Sustainable Agricultural Systems

The USDA has published a Request for Applications for 2021 Sustainable Agricultural Systems Grants totaling $150 Million. The Grant is run by the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Letters of Intent are due January 7, 2021; applications are due April 1, 2020. Click to view the Request for Applications:

2021 USDA Sustainable Agricultural Systems Grants

The purpose of the Sustainable Agriculture System Grants is to increase agricultural production by 40% in sustainable ways as we approach a world population of 10 billion by 2050, and to do so in the context of economic, societal, and environmental attributes of sustainability.

The Grant Application states that projects should address: “(1) sustainable agricultural intensification; (2) agricultural climate adaptation; (3) value-added innovation; and/or (4) food and nutrition translation. These projects are expected to significantly improve the supply of affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible agricultural products, while fostering economic development and rural prosperity in America.”

If you are interested in partnering with the Aquaponics Association on a grant proposal, please email us at community@legacy.aquaponicsassociation.org. The Aquaponics Association is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a registration in the Federal Government’s SAM Application System. The Mission of the Aquaponics Association is to expand the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection.

The Grants are intended to support “research, education, and extension work by awarding grants to solve key problems of local, regional, national, and global importance in sustaining conventional, organic, and urban agricultural systems. These include farm efficiency, profitability and sustainability, ranching, bioenergy, forestry, aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, mitigating impacts of biotic and abiotic constraints on food production, food safety, mitigating food waste and food loss, physical and social sciences, home economics and rural human ecology, biotechnology, and classical breeding.”

At the Cultivating the Future Conference last month, we discussed that it’s difficult for aquaponics growers to apply for such large-scale grants because the application process is so long, arduous, and expensive. Maybe the USDA will find a way to make it easier for the most sustainable growers to obtain the resources we need to expand.

Conference presenter Angela TenBroeck, CEO of Aqua Hortus Farms suggested that rather than asking growers to undertake the expensive, arduous grant application process, the USDA go into the field and actively seek the growers doing the best work. What do you think?

 

Do you want to help expand the practice of Aquaponics?

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that expands the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause. Your $60 Membership fee will help us grow aquaponics!

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new industries
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Please consider a General Membership to support aquaponics!

 

 

Cultivating the Future Slide Deck Presentations

Click on a presentation title to open the slide deck presentation:

 

Growing Your Aquaponics Business with Digital Marketing

Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. Aquaponics

Non-Halophyte Brassicaceae Species in Brackish Aquaponics

Evaporative Greenhouse Coolers

Marketing of Small Crop Aquaponic Fish Production

Citizen Science for Panel Discussion in Community Aquaponics Track

Aquaponics Research Advancements at Lethbridge College

Aquaponics in Special Education

Lessons Learned in Five Years of Aquaponics in the Classroom

The nitrogen paradox- moving away from UVI practices

Aquaponics and NGSS in the Elementary Grades

Managing Aphids and Spider mites

 

Aquaponics at the University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii – Presentation Review

By Bridgette Hall
Aquaponics Association Intern

Hawaii is a beautiful place and has an amazing environment for someone interested in doing aquaponics outdoors.

Vernon Byrd gave the Aquaponics Association Conference a virtual tour of Aquaponics at the University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii. This presentation was filled with very beautiful images of aquaponic systems out in Kona, Hawaii.

At the University of the Nations they have the acronym LETS, which stands for Life Empowering Technology and Science. They apply this acronym to food, energy, and water/sanitation. The University has their aquaponics located in their “Natural Farm” . At the farm they are mission focused, they are testing and training, having low costs, and using natural methods to grow on the farm. Aquaponics checks every one of those requirements for the farm.

The original aquaponics system at the university were four DWC’s and two fish tanks in sheds. They now have many other systems including NFT and some aeroponic systems. They provide training for those who are interested in aquaponics. They are using tilapia and growing lots of leafy crops and vegetables with their system. The University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii, has a beautiful farm and is teaching new people everyday about the beauty of Aquaponics.    

Do you want to join the Aquaponics Association and help promote Aquaponics!

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that cultivates aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

Aquaponics Association Presents: Latest Developments In Aquaponics

The Aquaponics Association is Teaming up with our Affiliate Member, Indoor Ag Con, to present a free web conversation: Latest Developments in Aquaponics. This event is Wednesday, November 4, at 2:00pm EST.

Click: Register for the Latest Developments in Aquaponics Conversation

Panelists include:
Regina Greuel Cook, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing & Operations, Symbiotic Aquaponic
Claudia Andracki, owner, Desert Bloom Eco Farm and Aftaz Growing Systems
Carlos Leon, Biotechnologist Engineer, Aquaponia – BoFish
Charlie Shultz, Lead Faculty, Controlled Environment Agriculture Program, Santa Fe Community College

Do you want to help expand the practice of Aquaponics?

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that expands the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause. Your $60 Membership fee will help us grow aquaponics!

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
  • Exclusive web content like checklists, best practices, conference presentations and full conference videos from top experts
  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new industries
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Please consider a General Membership to support aquaponics!

 

Organic Aquaponics – Microbial Nutrient Cycling!

An extremely large and diverse community of microbes lives in every aquaponic system. One role of this community is cycling nutrients.

Microbes release enzymes that decompose floating organic matter, take up the available nutrients, and eventually make these nutrients available to other microbes or to plants. This is the same symbiotic process that happens in healthy soil, known as the “Soil Food Web”. 

Read more about the microbial community in an aquaponic system. Click:

Aquaponic Systems Utilize the Soil Food Web To Grow Healthy Crops.

Did you know that aquaponic systems are water-based… but they still have a “Soil Food Web”…. Maybe we’ll change the name to the “Water Food Web” since plants and bacteria can live without soil… but they can’t live without water!

Organic Court Case

Why is this important? Right now, a court case is threatening the ability of aquaponic growers to be certified as USDA Organic, even though aquaponics growers can abide by all the Organic regulations of the National Organic Standards Board.

Organic Certification is critical for many commercial growers to meet consumer demand and achieve equitable price points. 

Do you want to help us keep Aquaponics Organic? Click:

Sign onto the Statement to the Court to Help Commercial Aquaponic Growers stay Organic-Eligible.

Internship Opportunities

The Aquaponics Association seeks capable, motivated individuals for remote internships to advance our Mission of connecting aquaponic growers and pushing aquaponics forward!

Aquaponics is growing, and the Aquaponics Association is growing along with it. 2020 is already a big year for the Association as many new initiatives, strategic partnerships and new members are emerging. 

2019 Putting Out Fruits conference at Kentucky State University

The Association is run by a part-time Board. We see the enormous need to grow awareness about our practice and to develop an industry infrastructure that connects growers worldwide — But we need your help!

In order to accomplish the projects and initiatives that support these goals, we seek interns to work in the following areas:

Communications  / Social Media

Creating and disseminating content that empowers people and/or organizations and ignites engagement in aquaponics. Storytelling, visual artistry and movement building skills are highly desired for this position.  Given that interest in aquaponics is growing exponentially, this role has the potential to bring a lot of value to a resume and work experience.  Working with our board where we have existing measures and metrics in place, we can track how the fruits of our labor will grow this movement and the association. This role offers great potential for someone looking to showcase their movement building skills.  The role and responsibilities of this position include:

  • Write blog posts and articles;
  • Coordinate Association publications schedule;
  • Oversee and execute publications and interaction across media including the Aquaponics Association website, Member forum, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and Twitter accounts;
  • Coordinate and create monthly newsletter and membership emails;
  • Other duties and responsibilities that may emerge.

Public Policy

The Public Policy Intern will work with the board to serve as an intermediary between the aquaponics community and the nation’s governing bodies.

2018 Putting Up Shoots conference in Hartford, CT

With the recent Farm Bill going into effect, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has included aquaponics in its vision.  Given this, the Association recognizes the need for advocacy, education and input on policy making.  Therefore, we have elected to create a very special role to assist the board in serving as a researcher and liaison between the policy makers and the Association.  With massive interest and expansion of aquaponics in the U.S., the Association needs help in understanding and communicating where the market potential is and how aquaponics can serve as a sustainable solution.  This role will involve actively researching the current U.S. Food System and how aquaponics can serve as a solution to problems like food security, food sovereignty, climate change, etc. As accurate data and information is obtained, this role will facilitate relationship building within various agencies to help support and expand this emerging green industry.  The roles and responsibilities include:

  • Research and write posts, articles, or reports on agriculture; the U.S. food system; true-cost accounting; and public policies that affect aquaponics;
  • Review the implementation of recently-enacted Farm Bill policies that affect aquaponics, including the establishment of the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production;
  • Represent the views of the aquaponics community to Congress, the USDA, and other relevant entities during the implementation of 2018 Farm Bill Policies;
  • Study true-cost accounting, lifecycle analysis, ecosystem service-valuation, and related fields to compare the costs and benefits of aquaponics compared to other forms of agriculture;
  • Research food safety and other laws and regulations that affect aquaponic growers, assist members navigating laws and regulations
  • Promote USDA and other grant opportunities to the aquaponics community;
  • Other duties and responsibilities that may emerge.

Technology and New Media

The Technology and New Media Intern will work with the board to develop and implement user friendly technology that engages and builds our growing aquaponic community and membership base.  We are seeking to find individuals who can cultivate supportive and empowering virtual environments for learning and discovery to take place.  Part of the Association’s 2019 goals is to generate more video content, teleconferences, webinars and podcasts to bring inspiring stories and helpful information to the public and our membership base.  Given that, we have a need for people to assist us with the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Help create new Member interaction app;
  • Help create new interactive aquaponics resource database;
  • Improve and modernize Association website, membership platform, and communications functions;
  • Create interactive map for Members to post their systems;
  • Edit and distribute digital content, such as conference video;
  • Organize online teleconferences and podcasts;
  • Other duties and responsibilities that may emerge.

Aquaponics Research

The Aquaponics Research Intern will work with the board to keep the Association current on the most advanced aquaponics science around the world. This individual will have a strong desire to translate science to application for the aquaponics community. Candidates can work to build the foundation of an aquaponics research community or journal.  Candidate will identify common issues and trends in aquaponics. This individual would assist us with the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Stay abreast of the latest aquaponics research, disseminate important research to members
  • Assist members in applying the newest research to their growing
  • Summarize the latest news about cutting-edge aquaponics projects
  • Understand and explain aquaponics concepts in water chemistry, fish health, nutrient cycling, filtration, etc.
  • Research and plan for an aquaponics research publication
  • Communicate with researchers and growers to identify research needs

 

Internship Details

The Aquaponics Association is a non-profit entity. All positions are unpaid. All positions will be conducted remotely.

All interested applicants are asked to commit to 10 hours per week, for a minimum of 14 weeks.

The Association will readily work with students to attain school credit for activity, where applicable.

Successful completion of an Internship will earn the individual three years of free Association Membership. It will also earn the team member a free ticket to the next Association Annual Conference.

To apply, please send a resume and brief statement of interest or cover letter to community@legacy.aquaponicsassociation.org.

 

 

2021 Aquaponics Association Board Positions

The Aquaponics Association has TWO open Board positions: 1) Treasurer; and 2) General Board Member. Please see descriptions, below.

To Apply, please email a CV or resume and a brief statement of interest to community@legacy.aquaponicsassociation.org

The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit, Member-based organization that expands the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection.

Board Members will consult on and execute activities that further the Association’s Mission, such as:

  • Participating in a Working Group to convene Members and plan / execute activities to advance a specific field within aquaponics: Commercial, Community, STEM Education, or Research;
  • Writing articles, emails, Social Media posts, or Members Area content;
  • Planning and executing the annual conference, monthly webinars, or other activities;
  • Attending external events and representing the Association;
  • Reaching out to new aquaponics audiences, partners, and potential funders;
  • Raising the profile of aquaponics in the media or among policy-makers;
  • Ensure that the Association is in good financial and legal health, and operating according to our bylaws; and
  • Any other activities that can expand the practice of aquaponics and help our Members!

 

Responsibilities of Aquaponics Association Board Members

  • Board Members are expected to devote about 10 hours per month to the Association
    • Attend two 1-hour Board calls / videos per month
    • Be available to spend about 8 additional hours per month on Association activities
  • Board Members are expected to check the Association Members Communication Area at least once per week to check on activity and respond to correspondence
  • Board Members are asked to respond to all email, phone, text, and Member’s Area correspondence relating to Association business within about two business days
  • The Board is subject to a Conflict of Interest Policy (see Bylaws Addendum)
  • Board Members are expected to provide a photograph and brief bio for the Association website “About” page within one month of becoming a Board Member
  • Board Members are expected to fill out their Members Area profile
  • Board terms are three years, though we can consider a 2-year term

Board Privileges

In return for Board Members devoting approximately 10 hours per month toward the Association, Board Members are granted the following privileges:

  • Free General Membership during the years of their service, and for one full year after their service ends. (Or $60 off an Affiliate Membership for these periods)
  • Free ticket to the Annual Aquaponics Association Conference
  • Free access to all Association paid products including online webinars, conference videos, and related materials
  • Board Members are legally protected from liability by the Aquaponics Association’s Directors and Officers Insurance Policy
  • Board Members will be listed with a photograph and short bio on the Association website About page
  • All new Board Members will be mailed a free Association t-shirt

TREASURER DESCRIPTION

  • Develop and Maintain an Annual Association Budget and an Annual Conference Budget
  • Make and collect payments on behalf of the Association
  • Help to develop and execute Association Fundraising Activities
  • Consider the Association’s financial status and the financial impact of potential Association actions and represent this viewpoint on Board decision-making
  • Assist in maintenance of Association bank accounts and payment applications, and manage the Association;s Quickbooks Account
  • Provide very brief monthly report of the Association’s financial status
  • Assist in preparation of financial information for annual tax filing

 

 

Organic Court Case – Aquaponics Statement

We have to work together and raise our voices in collaboration to keep Hydroponics and Aquaponics Organic-Eligible! A Lawsuit against the USDA is attempting to strip Organic eligibility from hydroponics and other “container-based” agriculture which will impact aquaponics growers as well. 

We all know that aquaponics is an environmentally appropriate way to grow food that mimics natural ecosystem. And that the aquatic ecology is very similar to soil ecology, which is the “foundation to the organic standard”.

Plants can grow without soil — they can’t grow without water!

Organic Certification is critical for many commercial growers to meet consumer demand and achieve equitable price points. 

 Statements to the court by interested parties are due this month. Read the statement here, and sign below.

October 19, 2020

Statement from the Aquaponics Association and Undersigned Entities Regarding the Organic Certification of Container-Based Agriculture; Case No 3:20-cv-1537 before the US District Court for the Northern District of California

The Aquaponics Association and undersigned organizations and individuals write to express our opposition to the lawsuit Case No 3:20-cv-1537 regarding the Organic Certification of “hydroponic operations, which are production systems that grow food and crops without any soil.”

Aquaponics is a food production method integrating fish and plants in a recirculating system. This symbiotic relationship mimics the biological cycles found in nature. Aquaponics has been used as a farming technique for thousands of years and is now seeing large-scale viability to feed a growing global population with fresh produce and efficient fish protein.

Benefits of aquaponics include dramatically less water use; minimal agriculture discharge to air, water, and soil; and the ability to grow food in locations where soil is non-existent on urban rooftops, city centers, concrete, sand to arid deserts.

Aquaponic systems include a hydroponic component in which plants are grown. If this lawsuit is successful, many aquaponic growers will likely lose their organic certification that is critical to their economic success.

Aquaponics Fits the Organic Mission
The Organic label is about empowering consumers to identify products that match their values. Consumers do not prefer organic because it is grown in soil; they prefer it because it is chemical-free, environmentally sustainable, and relies on natural ecosystems for plant growth.

Aquaponic produce aligns with what the consumer expects when they purchase “Organic”

“Organic” is perceived by consumers to mean:

Production without synthetic chemicals
Many aquaponic farms operate with only OMRI-certified materials and follow NOP guidelines.

Production that fosters the cycling of resources, ecological balance, and biodiversity conservation
Aquaponics is an ecosystems in which reduces natural resource consumption, and produces zero waste. Aquaponics has also proven that it can produce more food than soil culture per area, thus saving more of the natural soil environment for crops that can perform better in field crop production such as corn, soy, wheat, and many vining crops. And, aquaponics produces the most efficient animal protein: fish.

Production that relies on biological ecosystems to support plant health
Aquaponic systems rely on a robust microflora in the root zone—made of the same types and numbers of bacteria and fungi that thrive in soil. This flora converts nutrients into forms available to plants and maintains plant health by reinforcing naturally-occurring mechanisms of disease resistance—just as in a healthy soil. (see the Aquaponic Soil Food Web Report)

Production that responds to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices
Consumers expect that organic produce has been grown with a healthy human element, where local customs, expertise, and ingenuity can overcome droughts, concrete jungles, and climate changes. Aquaponics allows environmentally-sensitive agriculture where growing in soil isn’t possible. And, controlled environment growing offers the possibility of local food year-round.

This lawsuit, if successfully, would prevent entire regions of the country from the benefits of the organic label to their farmers.

In an era of climate change, resource depletion, and rapid population growth, the organic price premium is a critical incentive to draw more growers into aquaponics. If this lawsuit succeeds, the aquaponics industry will not grow as quickly and our environment, health, and economy will suffer.

Aquaponics is in no way intending to out compete soil growers. Instead aquaponics is part of the wholistic solution for feeding a growing population in places that traditional organic soil growers would not otherwise choose to or be able to grow. 

On behalf of the Aquaponics Association, and undersigned organizations

contact: Brian Filipowich
community@legacy.aquaponicsassociation.org

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