This week Abey Torrez who is 52 years old, a SFCC (Santa Fe Community College) adjunct instructor and Greenhouse technician was chosen by me (Bridgette Hall) for an interview. He was an instructor for one of my Controlled Environment Agriculture classes and did an outstanding job teaching the material and making the class intriguing.
I recently went to visit the SFCC campus and I ran into Abey Torrez in the dome greenhouse. Inside there he showed me the crops they were growing and I was shocked to see he was growing pumpkins with the aquaponic system.
Abey Torrez- “What made me interested in aquaponics was the ability to provide both healthy greens and protein at the same time in a holistic manner! I will be keeping aquaponics as a hobby but I hope to keep teaching it! Over at SFCC, we are running a scaled down version of the gold standard Aquaponics systems the University of Virgin Islands has. It’s a mature system that was established in 2011. We have both tilapia and koi as fish providing the nutrients for our deep water culture (DWC) beds. I believe that aquaponics along with controlled environment agriculture can impact communities in a positive manner. If designed and managed correctly we can provide food and fish to many areas that are considered food deserts or that have unusable soil or growing conditions such drought stricken areas or very cold harsh conditions.”
Socials: Facebook @ Abey Torrez
To the right are images of the pumpkins and other crops growing at SFCC
Aquaponics is a small but growing club. This week Nemanja shared with us how he is a part of the Aquaponics community. It’s always great to learn about one another.
“ My name is Nemanja Živić, I am 27 years old and currently I am working as Technical Support Engineer for CHPs on Biogas in Serbia. During the Covid-19 quarantine period I finally made my first baby steps into aquaponics. For years I always read interesting news about aquaponics and I was always fascinated with it. During quarantine I realized I have enough time to make my micro ecosystem and test all the things I didn’t know. I Made my micro 10l system for less than 20€ with some of the things I already had in my house. This is the best way to step into aquaponics for people that are interested in it but never tried, just like me. You will maybe fail in the beginning but never stop trying. After all, like you can see in the pictures, all you need is a small aquarium, plastic grow bed, water pump and oxygen pump.
In Serbia there are not many people that have even heard about aquaponics right now. In the whole country you can probably count the number of active systems with fingers on both hands.
This is my first system and it has only one fish (koi) and now that he is getting bigger, this small aquarium is too small for him. I am already planning a new one that I will finish soon and it will not be simple in design. The goal is to have a big enough system that I could profit from. I would like to make this hobby into my future job.
As a renewable engineer I have to say aquaponics as it is right now has something that is overlooked by many. Currently I am also working on a study that can make the system way more efficient and cost effective. It is easy and simple to say it but I will need a lot of research to finish this study and a lot of experiments in the coming years. In this way aquaponics can shape our world being a renewable way of our food production and have a big impact on our world with all the benefits it already has.”
(Linkedin – nemanja)
The primary goals and/or vision of this association are as follows: To promote the benefits of aquaponic growing; To educate the general consumer and food safety officials about the inherent safety of aquaponically grown food; and To dispel myths and rumors about aquaponically grown food.
The vision for this organization is that it will also create educational materials, facilitate an aquaponic speaker’s bureau and act as a resource or liaison to the press. Eventually it could also possibly offer legal and insurance assistance and standards and certification for our rapidly growing commercial aquaponic industry.