More Aquaponics!

We’re Back with More Aquaponics!

You might have noticed (I hope some of you did) that I have been absent the past five days.  We have been putting up older posts to fill the gap (WordPress is a phenomenal tool).  I did intend to post some articles while I was gone, but the airline decided that for me after they thrashed my laptop on the flight out.

Aquaponics Association Meeting

I am now at home.  I attended the Aquaponics Association Conference in Frankfort, Kentucky. (https://aquaponicsassociation.org/).  I had the privilege of spending three days listening to and interaction with the foremost experts in aquaponic gardening and growing from around the world.  Twenty plus different speakers brought information on everything from STEM education with aquaponics to community action with aquaponics.  The speakers ranged from academics who are doing the latest research in aquaponics to small growers.  It was an exciting and challenging weekend.

Kentucky State University

The conference was hosted by Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Ky at their teaching and research farm.  This beautiful and idyllic setting in the rolling hills of central Kentucky provided a beautiful backdrop for the conference.  Also, we got to tour the farm and their test plots where they are doing extensive research in organic farming techniques, particularly in no-till farming practices and crop rotation schemes. 

More Aquaponics - KSU Farm Research Teaching Center
The Kentucky State University Farm Research Center where the Aquaponics Association conference was held.

Coupled with hearing from great speakers with exciting new information about aquaponics, we were treated to a tour of a large indoor commercial aquaponics operation in Lexington and the KSU aquaculture research center which has a brand new facility devoted entirely to aquaponics research and teaching, including laboratory facilities.  The facility is state of the art and houses operating aquaponics systems of all sizes and styles.

More Aquaponics
The patio area for the Kentucky State University Research Farm conference center.
KSU Aquaponics Lab
Looking down the KSU Aquaponics Laboratory Facility

As good as the presentations were and as fascinating as the tours, the most valuable thing for me was the chance to meet and talk to the people who are doing the research and, more importantly, the people who are running commercially viable aquaponics businesses.  I met and talked to people from India, Spain, France, Canada, and here in the US. 

My Impressions

Aquaponics is beginning to mature.  It is no longer the sole realm of hobby operators in backyards, garages and small hobby style greenhouses.  There are huge commercially successful aquaponics operations around the world.  It is a growing industry, even here in Texas.  We heard a keynote address about the Texas Prison Systems.  Over the next two years, 96 of the over 300 prisons in Texas will install commercial aquaponics system that will be used for training and to produce food for the system.  I hope, in some way, to be part of that project.

The biggest thrill for me was to be able to meet one of my guru’s in the aquaponics world.  Murray Hallam, the owner of Practical Aquaponics, was one of the presenters at the conference.  I have just completed Murray’s online certification course in Aquaponics so to be able to meet him in person was exciting.  To then have the opportunity to sit down with him, one on one, on two different occasions, and talk was beyond my expectations.  You can find out more about Practical Aquaponics here.

Aquaponics Association Conference - Murray Hallam
Murray Hallam and myself at the Aquaponics Association Conference in Frankfort, KY

Final Thoughts

My take-home from this conference came in two different realizations.  One, I realized how much I don’t know.  Two, I am convinced aquaponics is an answer to many of the problems the world faces in the area of food production. 

It was a great conference and I am looking forward to sharing with you much of what I saw and learned over the next few months.  Stay tuned!

For more information about aquaponics visit our website at West Texas Organic Growing.

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