Aquaponics USA is a big hit at the Self Reliance EXPO


At 5 AM on October 25th, we climbed into our Honda Pilot packed with two traveling fish tanks and 35 Tilapia in the back supported by two air pumps, two aerators, a back-up battery pack, inverters and a lot of prayer. We got on the Interstate 10 and headed East followed by our Installation Team in a Toyota Tacoma with a trailer full of supplies for our Fish & Veggie Road Show.

After stopping for breakfast, and hitting a couple of roadside rests, we arrived in Mesa, AZ around noon to begin the rigorous job of moving everything, via dollies, from our vehicles to our Exhibit space, which was directly in line with the main stage. The fish came into the Mesa Convention Center in nets supported by buckets one and two at a time.

The next day, Friday, October 26th, the EXPO opened at 11 AM. Below are a series of photos showing us putting the final touches on our Booth that morning. This was only the second time we had set up this Booth, so we were still figuring out the logistics; but this set up went twice as fast as our set up in Los Angeles at the KNOWPHEST.

Our close neighbors were Equip2Endure. They are a broad based survival website that features Survival Training, Survival Hunting, Survival Gear and much more. They were teaching people how to start fires without matches in their Exhibit. Equip2Endure is a member site and you can join for free. They have hundreds of YouTube Videos up and  saw all the exhibitors and customers coming over to see what we were selling and asked us if we would allow them to do a Video Interview of Aquaponics USA. Of course we said, “Yes”, and just last night that Video went into the YouTube stream. It was a real splash as now less than 24 hours later, it already has over 1,000 Views and counting! Just click on the Equip2Endure website; and you’ll find us on their Home Page, or if we’ve scrolled off their Home Page, just go over to our Aquaponics USA TV site to watch our Video. The editing, video, interview team from Equip2Endure really know what they’re doing; and they created a great promo piece for us. Thanks, Guys!

Between the KNOWPHEST and the Self Reliance EXPO we also added another component to our Food Forever™ Growing System Series, which are insulating skins made out of Double Bubble Foil Insulation. It gives our systems a high tech look and feel while adding warmth to both the Grow Beds and the Fish Tanks. Below is a photo of Fred, our Systems Builder and Installer, placing the new skins on our FFGS-20 Demo System. The next picture is of our completed Exhibit as it looked from the Main Stage. We had a perfect location; and since we were the only booth in the EXPO that used EZ-Ups, we were impossible to miss. We heard through the grapevine that there were over a thousand people at the EXPO, which really isn’t that big of a turnout; but we were so busy we hardly had time to eat. We gave out every System Flyer we printed, every Brochure and ended up hoarse from talking so much. We were definitely a big hit; and we went away wondering how we would deal with a 5,000 or 10,000 strong crowd, which, by the way, turned out in the Utah Self Reliance EXPO.

As I explained in my previous post, there’s a movement happening called the Prepper Movement; and it’s all about getting and being prepared for whatever disaster, natural or manmade, that may be coming in the future. There are literally millions of Americans actively involved in this movement. To date, over 4 million Americans self identify as Preppers. The Self Reliance Expo and the several other Expos listed in our previous post are proof positive that Preppers are here to stay and are offering interesting out of the ordinary, creative, off-the-grid products for their fellows in the marketplace. These products meet needs for being self reliant and independent in the areas where survival is the most important including Food, Energy, Shelter and Water.

This explains why Aquaponics USA was so intriguing to this clientele. We offer something in the realm of becoming more Food Independent that goes beyond stored food, which is what most vendors catering to Preppers are offering. We believe a combination of both stored food and food you grow yourself are important to insure food security in uncertain times.We offer Food Forever™ Growing Systems that are Survival Food Growing Systems, which with added Grow Lights,  can grow food in a basement, a garage, a spare room or an enclosed back porch. And, of course, what’s growing isn’t just veggies. It also includes protein in the form of fish. And once we get our Solar Systems hooked up to our Growing Systems, which won’t be too far in the future, Greenhouse growing will appeal all the more to this new, savy customer.

As we shared in a previous post, our first Fish & Veggie Road Show was in Los Angeles. The clientele and the venue of that Show was very different from the Self Reliance EXPO; but nevertheless, a comparison can be made. Most of the people who came into our Booth in LA did not have a clue as to what Aquaponics was; and we introduced them to the concept. Not so at the Self Reliance EXPO. There, very few of the people who came into our Booth did not already know what Aquaponics food growing technology was. Of course, many had never seen an operating system, so seeing ours was very exciting; and they appreciated the embellishments on their basic concepts that we had to offer.

What we discovered in Mesa, AZ is that Preppers are intelligent, well-informed and determined to not be victims of the next disaster, whatever it may be. One way or another, they’ve given up on the false, albeit comforting, belief that the government will be able to save them when TSHTF. They are putting their money behind their belief that they have to be able to save themselves and their families. Prepping is almost a religion. It has a fervor, drive and enthusiasm behind it that is contagious.

Check the Self Reliance EXPO website for their 2013 Show Schedule. The EXPO offers way more than a unique line up of Vendors. It also offers classes in subjects like “Suturing/Stapling Hands-On Lab”, “Preparing and Using Nature’s Medicine”, “Bread Baking” and “Soap Making Demystified” to name just a few. The EXPO also offers Guest Speakers who share information on everything from “How To Sprout Seeds” to the state of the U.S. Economy to how to be your own Doctor or Dentist when one isn’t available. Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy were two such featured speakers. Their website, Doom and Bloom™ Nation is full of life-saving information that we would all need in a national disaster.

The following photos create a collage of a few our fellow entrepreneurs who exhibited at the Self Reliance EXPO in Mesa, AZ. Under the photos or before the photos is the link to their websites should you care to learn more about them. Many of these Exhibitors did all the venues of these EXPOs, which concluded their 2012 Tour with the Mesa Show. So here comes the Line Up of some of the Self Reliance EXPO Exhibitors offering products in the first important survival category, FOOD, starting with yours truly, Aquaponics USA.

And here’s the link to our website at www.aquaponicsusa.com

Here are a few of the Food Storage Exhibitors.

And here’s the link to the Thrive website.

And here’s the link to the Grandma’s Country Foods and other important survival products.

And here’s the link to Survival Cave.

And here’s the link to Noah’s Pantry.

And here’s the link to Go Foods.

As we explained earlier, we were so busy we barely had time to eat, so believe me, we didn’t see much of this EXPO on this trip. We had every intention of rubbing shoulders with our fellow exhibitors and we did; but it all happened in our Booth as we explained what we were up to. Oliver did a quick run through the EXPO to shoot these photos; but we can’t tell you much about our fellow vendors. If you find that the time has come for you to start  storing food, check out these websites. We haven’t tried any of their products (although we plan to) and can’t give recommendations, this is just a place to start your exploration into becoming more Food Independent. By the way, if you Google “Food Independent”, you will get Aquaponics USA.

On to the next important survival topic, Water; and we only have one water purification system company for you to look at. This company is advertising on every Prepper website on the net; so it was no surprise it was exhibiting in Mesa. It’s the Berkey Water Purification System

Next comes Energy and an innovative company featuring compact-powerful, renewable-energy solar power generators that are built in the good old USA. This company is called ARK SOLAR SYSTEMS. Like so many of the entrepreneurs in this EXPO, it’s a family company that came up with this idea in order to solve a problem for itself–how to have a reliable energy source while camping. Again, we discovered this while chatting with them in our Booth rather than theirs. If you’re interested in a compact solar powered generator, check out their website.

There’s a second solar company we want to mention called GO Solar. It features a variety of portable solar power packs.

Now, on to Land and Shelter, two other very important survival necessities. Due to low lighting conditions the photo below is quite blurry; but you get the idea of how roomy a yurt can be. This company, Groovy Yurts, is building some of the most eye-catching, versatile and easy to assemble shelters on the planet. Made to resist extreme climates, this circular domed abode is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Easily dismantled, the yurt is portable and self-supporting. Check them out at Groovy Yurts.com.

Need some land to put your Groovy Yurt on? Check out Rivers Edge. One plus acre plots in Arizona on the Verde River and backed up to a National Forest. This land is in the cool Ponderosa Pines at 5,500 ft. We’re not sure how yurts do in the snow. Go to the Groovy Yurt website to find out.Here’s the opposite of a yurt for shelter. Instead of cloth, it’s made of steel and it goes underground instead of on top of it. If you had one of these at Rivers Edge, no one would know it. Take the virtual tour of the ATLAS on the ATLAS SURVIVAL SHELTERS Website. We actually took a few minutes to tour the one that sat outside the entrance to the Mesa Convention Center. It was very interesting. Below are a couple of photos of the exterior and the interior of an ATLAS.

This company was our immediate neighbor, the Homestead General Store, that offered everything from soup to nuts and more. You can actually see our tent tops on the left side of the picture below. We’re posting two pictures of the Homestead General Store because the hand grinding mills are quite literally works of art from a time that many believe is not gone.

Hope you enjoyed your virtual attendance at the recent Self Reliance EXPO in Mesa, Arizona. We plan to take you on a lot more of these Reliance EXPO Tours in 2013. If you want to know more about the Prepper Movement, be sure to read our previous post and look into joining the new website called PreppersPost where you’ll get lots of information about this Movement and remember, IT’S TIME TO GROW FOOD SO GET GROWING!

What’s a Prepper??? Hint: It isn’t a soda.


On the local front, sadly us Californians rejected the proposition that would label bodily destructive GMO’s. On the national front, a man in Orlando is fighting to keep his vegetable garden that is against city ordinance because it’s in his front yard. Ironically, the FEMA office on Staten Island closed due to weather on November 7th while, overall, more than 139,000 Staten Island households were affected by hurricane Sandy.There were 80,000 New York-area customers still lacking power Tuesday night, November 6th, more than a week after Sandy hit that coastal area according to Con Edison, New York City’s largest utility company.

Meanwhile way down south in Argentina, the power went out for an extended period of time due to the opposite weather conditions–it was too hot and high demand caused two high voltage lines to fail. Even the Congress building and presidential palace went dark.

What’s wrong with this broad stroke picture? Everything.

What’s coming that can correct this wrong course for our country and the world? A movement of huge proportions. It’s called the Prepper Movement.

And it’s taking the US, in particular, by storm.The Prepper Movement is a truly grassroots movement that is uniting people of all countries, ages, ethnic groups and religions into one ever growing mass of people who have come to realize they cannot depend on their Governments. They know that they can’t rely on government to protect the country’s food integrity from unscrupulous corporate greed or save them in a time of crisis. They have also come to believe they need to be able to feed themselves and fend for themselves when faced with an interruption to their modern way of life no matter what the cause. They understand our newly acquired civilized existence is too dependent on forces beyond their own autonomy and ingenuity.

Why am I saying it is newly acquired? Because homes in U.S. cities have only had electricity since 1930, and only 10% of the people in rural communities had it at that early date. Although Supermarkets started in the U.S. in the 20’s and 30’s, they didn’t become dominant until after World War II in the 1950’s. Why are supermarkets vulnerable? Because Supermarkets depend completely on a functioning trucking industry, which, in turn, depends completely on plenty of economical fuel; and that depends on a fully functioning electrical power grid.

Now, most of the world is dependent on outside sources for both food and energy. Those outside sources aren’t providing healthy, nutritious food or reliable energy. It’s a very vulnerable interlocking network that is subject to all kinds of natural or manmade disasters including solar flares or terrorist attacks on the grid. Ask the folks in New Jersey, New York and Virginia about how that inter-dependent network is working out right about now; as gas stations closed due to power outages causing lines that are five hours long in the few remaining open stations.

There are three major areas where Preppers (which is an abbreviation of the word Preparing) are becoming self sufficient. The most important factors for sustaining life are Food, Water and Energy, and that’s where Preppers are focusing their time, effort and money. Besides online networks, like the ones pictured and linked above, Preppers are flocking to EXPOS that are popping up across the U.S.

Our next Blog post will feature one of those venues, the Self Reliance EXPO. Here, upcoming entrepreneurs and savy customers networked together in this new marketplace that is launching out of the box and off the grid products. These products offer healthy alternatives, convenience, safety and peace of mind to the growing number of people who know the really big crash is still coming. This coming crash tsunami threatens the power grid, food security and food safety, which has already been violated by the emergence and full acceptance of GMO’s by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

But before we get specific, let’s go wide with a list of all the Prepper/Survivalist Expos out there including: Arizona Survivalist/Prepper, Get Prepared Expo, Prepare & Survive EXPO, The Home Safety Prep Tour, Kansas Prepper EXPO, Sustainable  Preparedness, The Great Utah Emergency Preparedness Expo, National Preppers & Survivalists EXPO, and the Self Reliance Expo.

There wouldn’t be a growing list of EXPO’s like the ones above if there weren’t a growing list of Preppers to attend the EXPO’s and growing interest in the subject of prepping. There also wouldn’t be two new TV series out on the national networks including National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers”,  a reality show focused on Preppers across the nation and the fictional NBC hit, “Revolution” about a U.S. without a power grid where rebels fight for the flag.

Every time there’s a national disaster like hurricane Sandy or another GMO crop becomes approved by the U.S. Food Czar and ex-Monsanto Lawyer, Michael Taylor, the Preppers population grows exponentially. Thousands will be added to the Prepper roles in the near future compliments of Sandy alone.

Check back with us soon for the post featuring the Self Reliance Expo that happened in late October in Mesa, AZ. We’ll introduce you to some of the up-coming businesses that are being launched by Preppers for Preppers, which, by the way, includes Aquaponics USA. These businesses won’t be the ones going bust in 2013. They will be the ones growing as this gigantic wave of American entrepreneurism coupled with the Prepper Movement comes to shore. See you again soon.

Packing for and Traveling to our 2nd Fish and Veggie Road Show in Mesa, Arizona!


This post is all about packing and traveling about five hours with Live Fish. We were heading for the Self Reliance EXPO in Mesa, AZ and were crossing the state line into Arizona so we didn’t take the veggies and had to purchase and plant veggies once we got to Arizona. In a way, this is a tutorial about how to travel with Live Fish. We learned a lot in our first Fish & Veggie Road Show to the KNOWPHEST in Los Angeles as we lost a couple of fish. This time all of our fish arrived safe and sound. Here’s what we did differently.

The first thing we did was we stopped feeding our fish a couple of days prior to transporting them. Unlike mammals, fish can easily handle not eating for a couple of days. The reason that’s important is that with empty stomachs, they won’t pollute their traveling water with their own waste and tox themselves out. Once they are at the Show, their waste will be converted to nitrates by the friendly bacteria in the biofilter that is the Grow Bed with plants in it.

The next thing we did differently is we took two traveling tanks instead of one. In our first Fish & Veggie Show, we put the big fish in with the fingerlings and two of the fingerlings didn’t make the trip. We don’t know what happened; but figured the safer way to protect the little ones was to not mix them together in one tank.

The next thing we did that was different is we added a Titanium Heater to their traveling tanks to get their water temperature up to the levels that they are used to and like. The first picture below shows Oliver hooking the Titanium Heaters to their two traveling tanks. The second picture shows the heater and the box it comes in. This is a really great little electric water heater that really does the job. We sell two of them, one is a 200 Watt Heater and the other is a 300 Watt Heater. They are both on our website Here. At the Show, the 300 Watt  Heater kept our 120 gallon fish tank at a cozy 76 degrees for our fish. The third picture shows the temperature rising as the Titanium Heaters heat up the water prior to our putting the fish in their traveling tanks.

Of course we also had aeration using our favorite 4″ Aerators that you can also find on our Accessories Page and using our Air Pumps that you can find on our Pumps Page.  Fish can’t survive without it. We bought inverters and had a backup battery pack that ran the heaters and the air pumps during the times that we stopped on the road to eat and take bathroom breaks. The photos above show the two air pumps sitting in front of the traveling fish tanks.

The important thing that makes these traveling tanks is they have lids on them. The lids are important to keep the water in the tanks and not on the bed of the Honda Pilot. However, driving behavior must be adjusted to keep the water in the traveling tanks even when they have lids. We ended up having to turn around and go home to get yet another back up inverter when we first took off at 4 AM and sloshed a lot of water into the bed of the Honda killing our original inverter. Traveling with fish is, indeed, tricky.

The final new thing we did to make traveling safer and more comfortable for the fish was we covered the traveling tanks with a blanket while the heaters went to work heating their water. Then we slept for a few hours before hitting the road. The total amount of time that the fish were in their traveling tanks was about 24 hours, which was a long time; but they did fine due to all of the extra precautions we took this time.

We were able to reduce the number of cars it took to carry everything needed for our Show down to two cars because we added a trailer, which the truck towed. Here’s the cartoon image of our Fish & Veggie Road Show followed by an actual picture of our Tacoma with its trailer.

Here’s a picture of what was packed in front of the traveling tanks in the very convenient bed of the Honda Pilot. We definitely jam packed both vehicles and the trailer. But once again, the result was impressive.

Watch for our next post which will be all about what happened once we got to the Self Reliance EXPO. It was such a scene. We so appreciate being able to take you on the  ride with us as we share how important Aquaponics is in this challenging 21st Century. See you again, soon.

Our Aquaponics USA Fish and Veggie Road Show!


Our Fish & Veggie Road ShowWe just did our first Fish & Veggie Road Show and what an experience that was. Getting our act together to go on the road was a way bigger job than we ever imagined it would be; but the result was impressive. We think we may be the first and only Aquaponics business that is doing shows and now we know why. It’s a lot of hard work. As a multi-media artist, I (Grace) did Arts & Craft Shows for many years selling a hand-crafted jewelry line, photography and even a line of resort wear. So I know what it’s like doing road shows; but I’ve never done a road show that was this challenging. Our set up took us one full day and a night; and our tear down took a full eight hours. EGAD! And “Yes”, we need to make it easier. But the experience was great. We introduced Aquaponics USA’s Food Forever™ Growing Systems to lots of amazed and curious Californians. Below are three photos of the 3 vehicles it took to get our set up to the Los Angeles Design Center. If we keep doing Shows, we’re going to need a big Truck because packing and unpacking these three vehicles was very time consuming.

It’s amazing how many people in California still haven’t even heard the word, Aquaponics; but our aim is to change that; and we started changing that this past weekend, October 12-14, 2012, at the first annual KNOWPHEST in Los Angeles. The KNOWPHEST was billed as the place to go to learn what you didn’t know you didn’t know; and Aquaponics USA fit perfectly into that unusual theme because most of the people who saw our Exhibit had never even heard the word, “Aquaponics”, before they entered our space. The KNOWPHEST featured an eclectic group of Exhibitors and Lecturers including the famous artist couple Alex Grey and Allyson Grey. Alex showed his mural-sized original works from the famed Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. These paintings were awe inspiring as I had only seen them in photos. You may recognize the image below entitled “Praying” as it has been featured in lots of venues.

And we prayed a lot as we traveled up the Interstate 10 to Los Angeles from the High Desert above Palm Springs. Mostly we were praying that our live fish and plants would make the trip and stay that way, alive, as this was our first experience of moving fish and plants in vehicles.

Among the various Exhibitors at the KNOWPHEST who were selling everything from  jewelry to portable saunas, Aquaponics USA was a real phenomenon; and we were thanked and congratulated over and over for being there and introducing the people of Los Angeles to the concept of sustainable food growing systems that can be set up in a backyard, garage, basement or school room. And, of course the stars of our Show were the fish. Below is a photo of our baby Tilapia happily swimming around in their fish tank that is part of our new Plug In & Grow Indoor System, the FFGS-C5. In the second photo below, you see a complete shot of this Compact Indoor Food Forever™ Growing System that comes with a Grow Light, Grow Bed, Fish Tank with heater and miniature automatic fish feeder. The third photo in this series is our Modular FFGS-20  Food Forever™ Growing System that housed our adult Tilapia.

It’s one thing to preach to the choir, which is the same as staying home and waiting for people to become aware of the importance of Aquaponics in whatever way that happens and then Googling the word and discovering us on Page 1. It’s an entirely different thing to go out to Shows and awaken people to the existence of Aquaponics and then educate them on the spot about how important it is to their food security and health. That’s what’s happening in these Shows; and that’s what makes it so exciting. So many people expressed their gratitude about being awakened to this life and environment sustaining way to grow food. They were really excited to discover Aquaponics and we were excited to have an Exhibit that could serve in this way. It was such a win/win experience that it made all the hard work worth while. Below are a series of shots of our Exhibit at the KNOWPHEST starting with our “Welcome” Sign. The second photo is of our new Certification Trademark. We’re creating a way to Certify vegetables and fish that are grown aquaponically; and we’re calling it “Aquaganic”.

We even had a Literature Table with five informative double-sided flyers besides our Brochure. One of the flyers entitled “Why Aquaponics? Why Now? has a full back page explanation of what Aquaponics is and why it’s so important in the 21st Century. On the small table behind the literature table is our flat-screen TV where we continuously ran DVD’s of our YouTube Videos.

This Show wanted to attract the Los Angeles Night Scene so we were open quite late at night . Here is a shot of our Exhibit at night.

We had to make a 2 1/2 hour drive to get to the KNOWPHEST (while keeping our fish well aerated using an inverter and in-tank aerators), which were in the back of the Honda Pilot.

Before going on to our next Show, we want to extend a special “Thank You” to Caleb Bartlett and Allen Sovory II, promoters of the KNOWPHEST, for inviting and encouraging us to do this Show. Without your encouragement and the KNOWPHEST venue, we never would have put this Exhibit together and discovered how fun and exciting it is to be the clarion callers for Aquaponics USA out there on the streets and in the Convention Halls of America. Thank You, guys, for putting on a great Show and being so accommodating and helpful.

Our next adventure to Mesa, AZ will be a little more challenging as we’ll be traveling for over six hours while keeping our fish and our plants alive. This Show is happening at the Mesa, AZ Convention Center on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 & 27. It’s called the Self Reliance Expo and is a first year Show in that location and one of a series being promoted under this title in various locations across the Nation. If you’re in Arizona, tell your friends to come out and see a phenomenon whose time has come–an Aquaponics USA Road Show.

See you at the Self Reliance Expo in Mesa, AZ and thank you for following our blog and visiting our virtual first Road Show. We’re so pleased to be able to share this adventure with you.

Aquaponics USA “Chef’s Special Living Lettuce” FOR SALE!


In our last post, we showed you all the lettuce we were growing in our Greenhouse. Here’s another view of how much lettuce we’re talking about.Grace with Cooler Full of Chef's Special Living Romaine Lettuce

Grace is holding up a Cooler full of lettuce; and this is the first Cooler full. So far we’ve delivered two of these Coolers full of lettuce all packaged up real fancy to none other than the best Health Food Store in the high desert. That’s right–Sue’s Health Food Store. Sue’s Health Foods has been selling healthy food since 1984 and is dedicated to their customer’s good health while offering service with heart. They’ve just started a facebook page where they’ll be posting all kinds of fun and exciting adventures around health.Sue's Health Foods Store Front

If you’re lucky enough to live in the high desert above Palm Springs in Morongo, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree or 29 Palms go on over to Sue’s Health Foods Store and pick up a head of delicious Living Counter Romaine, Butter Lettuce or Red Romaine. They’re in her Cooler next to the Bunny Love Organic Carrots.Chef's Special Living Romaine Lettuce in Sue's Cooler

As far as we know, Aquaponics USA is the only company offering Living Red Romaine Lettuce and Counter Romaine Lettuce. There’s even one head of Living Red Oak Lettuce in that cooler for all you Red Oak Lettuce lovers. There are several companies offering Living Butter Lettuce. Our Living Butter Lettuce is so beautiful it could be a Bridal Bouquet in a Greenie June Wedding. So what’s “Living Lettuce”? Living Lettuce is lettuce that is still attached to the roots, which means it’s about as fresh as it gets.

When we introduced Sue to the concept of Aquaponics, she was really taken by it. Seems Aquaponics affects people that way. They either get it or they don’t. When they get it, it makes a real impression. There are a lot of people “getting” Aquaponics these days. Once Sue tasted our Lettuce, the deal was sealed. Even bolting lettuce grown aquaponically (we call it “Aquaganic™”) still tastes good. But because she practices what she preaches and is really concerned with her customer’s health, she made a site visit to check out our growing environment and, of course, see the live fish that make it all possible.

Below is a picture of Sue standing behind the Grow Bed we featured in our last post, the one full of Red Romaine Lettuce. This is the lettuce you saw in the Cooler above and the lettuce we packaged up to send to her Health Foods Store.Sue of Sue's Health Foods Store behind Grow Bed #4 verticle

Now, you’ll recognize her when you see her in the store, which is often so say “Hi” and tell her how photogenic she is. And remember to hurry down to her store to pick up your head of Aquaponics USA Chef’s Special Living Lettuce.Chef's Special Living Lettuce Bouquet

Because we’re not high volume growers (far from it), our brand will not always be available at Sue’s Health Food Store, so get it while you can. You can’t miss our patriotic packaging and our Logo with the Chef and Live Tilapia on it.  Tell them we sent you.

See you at Sue’s Health Foods Store.

What’s Happening in the Aquaponics USA Greenhouse


It’s been a while since we’ve shared pictures and stories of what’s happening in our Greenhouse; and right about now, things are really starting to pop.  The picture below shows Grow Bed #4 full of Red Romaine Lettuce. In the background, you can see some basil drying and a blurred image of our packaging Logo.Red Romaine in Grow Bed #4 Greenhouse

Below are close ups of a couple of those heads of beautiful Red Romaine. They are really delicious and ready to harvest. They are sitting next to our Automatic Fish Feeders that feed our Tilapia four times a day.

Besides Red Romaine, we’re also growing another kind of Romaine Lettuce called Counter Romaine. It’s pictured in the photo below. Counter Romaine has been adapted especially for Greenhouse growing and is heat tolerant. Since we’re in the desert, we can always use heat tolerant veggies, so we thought we’d try it. It’s doing really well and tastes delicious. Even the stems are sweet. On the left side of the photo is some Butter Lettuce mixed in with the Counter Romaine. Our Butter Lettuce is also doing really well and growing like weeds in our Food Forever™ Growing Systems.Butter Lettuce, Counter Romain and Corn in Grow Bed #5 Greenhouse

Besides Lettuce, we’re also growing some corn; and you can see it in the back of Grow Bed #5 in the above picture. We didn’t intend to grow corn in our Greenhouse as we felt it would be too tall. But while we were waiting for our protective screening to be put around our outdoor garden, which is next to our Greenhouse, we temporarily placed the corn seedlings into this Grow Bed so they would survive. They’ve survived alright and are now growing up to the roof. I’ll show you more pictures of the corn in a future post. We’re curious as to how well it will do; and will probably just leave it in the Grow Bed even though our protective screening is almost up.

If you’re familiar with the high desert, you know there are a lot of critters here, which add to the charm of our magical desert world. When we first moved here (and before we were adopted by two feral cats), we befriended and fed the wild ones. The picture below is one of many that we’ve taken of the wild ones including grey squirrels, antelope squirrels and cotton tails. Lunch date Bunny and Squirrel

But once we got the cats and then started gardening, the wild ones became a bit of a nuisance, especially the grey squirrels. They pretty much destroyed our outdoor garden last year. Hence the new protective fence.

In Grow Bed #2 below, we have that famous group of Pepper Plants that just keep putting out Peppers season after season. They have pretty much over taken that Grow Bed.Peppers in Bed #2 Greenhouse

Except, as you can see below, some Basil managed to squeeze it’s way into that bed this spring.Basil in Bed #2 Greenhouse

Last season’s eggplant came back to life and is putting out lovely fruit. Speaking of Eggplant, I think I’ll make Eggplant Parmesan tonight.Egg Plant, Basil and Peppers in Bed #2 Greenhouse

In that case, I need to wind up this post and get picking and cooking. Thanks for visiting. We really appreciate your support. My next post is going to tell you where you can go to purchase our delicious aquaponically grown Lettuce that we call “Aquaganic™”. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the little high desert towns above Palm Springs, CA. you’ll recognize this store right away. We can only supply one store, so we chose the best. Bet you can’t guess which one it is?

Until then, Get Growing!

It’s a Complete Indoor System ready to PLUG-IN & GROW!


PLUG-IN & GROW Indoor Mini Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing SystemWe’re so excited about this newly designed Mini Indoor Plug-In & Grow Food Forever™ Aquaponics System, the FFGS-M5, that we can’t wait to announce it even though we’re not quite ready to sell it yet. What are we waiting for? We want to do a test run on it and actually see beautiful heads of butter lettuce and other leafy greens growing in it before we put it on the market even though we know this new system is going to work like a charm because we’ve already tested the Fluorescent Grow Light we’re using.FFGS-M5 fluorescent Here’s a picture of that T5 Fluorescent growing out lettuce in our Growroom.T5 Fluorescent Growing Lettuce in our Growroom

Of course, we’ve already tested our syphon; but our standard syphon in this new system acts like a Rapid Cycle Syphon which means it siphons about every 7 minutes instead of every 15 minutes. A Rapid-Cycle Grow Bed allows for a greater amount of dissolved oxygen to be present in the grow bed without the need of extra aerators and air pumps. This added dissolved oxygen helps with processing and conversion that creates plant nutrients. Here’s a picture of the DO (Dissolved Oxygen) count in this new Mini System’s Fish Tank.DO Meter Reading the level of Dissolved Oxygen in the Mini FFGS-M5 Fish Tank

We’ve also created a whole new growing system we are calling the Hydro-Foam Hybrid Growing System; and you’re seeing it here for the first time the day after it debuted on our website last night.FFGS-M5 Hydrofoam No one else is using this ultra efficient way to grow leafy greens. Hydro-Foam marries a Hydroton flood and drain system with a Raft system in the same Grow Bed. Traditional Raft Systems float polystyrene on top of a continuously flooded grow bed, often with plants in net pots placed in the raft. A traditional Hydroton deep media grow bed runs a flood and drain cycle through the media in which the plants are planted. The Hydro-Foam Hybrid floats a polystyrene board designed with optimally spaced holes and filled with net pots on top of the Hydroton, which is at precisely the right height to insure the water wets the roots of your plants. Hydro-Foam reduces evaporation of the water in the bed; and once your plants start growing leaves, the Hydro-Foam protects them from exposure to wicked up water that causes bottom leaves to become moldy. Here is a picture of a Hydro-Foam Hybrid Grow Bed growing lettuce in our Growroom Lab right now. We are using LED’s now in our Growroom Lab, which is why the color of the leaves appears to be purple. Hydro-Foam Hybrid Growing System growing LettuceAbsolutely everything is included in this PLUG-IN & GROW Mini Food Forever™ Aquaponics System. The Deep-Media, EZ Reach, Rapid Cycle Hybrid Grow Bed features over 5 sq. ft. of growing area and comes with it’s EZ-Clean Bell Syphon, a highly efficient Water-Delivery System, a Hydro-Foam Hybrid Growing System with Hydroton and all Bulkhead Fittings and Valves. The 30 Gallon Rectangular Translucent Covered Fish Tank is made of food grade polyethylene and is 22″ deep. It comes with pre-installed Bulkheads, a Submersible Pump and Plumbing, an Air Pump and Aerator, a Jet Back Aeration Sprayer, a digitally controlled 200 watt Heater and a Fluorescent Fish Tank Light. The included T5 Fluorescent Grow Light comes with a a Timer that can also run your Fluorescent Fish Tank Light. The Grow Bed sits above the Fish Tank and both sit on a reinforced multi-level Stand with a handy top self. The Accessories Kit that is also included has an API Fresh Water Test Kit, Starter Bacteria, Water Cleaning Solution, a Fish Net, 90 Days of Tech Support and an Assembly and System Start-up Manual.

We’ve added a Light Reflecting Shroud to the top of the system to keep the important growing light in while keeping it out of your eyes. This is a Complete Indoor Mini System, which has been designed for the interior of a home or schoolroom. The black and white neutral colors of the FFGS-M5 have been chosen to blend with other home appliances like stoves and refrigerators. To make the FFGS-M5 even more home decor friendly, we are even offering 13 different custom colors and designs for the trim around the Light Reflecting Shroud. You are seeing one of those 13 pattern and color choices below. This one is #1.FFGS-M5 Shroud Trim

If you’ve been thinking about trying Aquaponics; this is the perfect starter system with which to do it. There is absolutely no guesswork involved. When we make our Buy Button live on our website page, this system will be fully tested and ready to go to work growing lettuce, spinach, basil, cilantro and other leafy green vegetables right in your kitchen, dining room or “edible schoolroom”.

To get in on our Introductory Sale in which we will be offering the first six FFGS-M5 Systems for less than the listed retail price of $1495,   just email us at:

urbanfarmer@aquaponicsusa.com

These six FFGS-M5 Systems will be using the T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights that we used in our Growroom Lab for about three months. Start growing your own healthy, organic leafy greens right in your own home or schoolroom with the FFGS-M5; and thank you for following our Aquaponics USA Blog.

First in a Series called: It’s An “Edible Schoolroom”


It’s happening. Schoolrooms right along with Schoolyards are becoming edible. Here are some heart-warming chronological pictures of what’s happening with Aquaponics (called AquaBioPonics) at Davis Bilingual Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona where Aquaponics USA built, installed and tested one of it’s FFGS-40 Food Forever™ Growing Systems over the Christmas break.

When we last posted about this installation, there were no Grow Lights, no Fish and no Vegetables. Look what’s happening now.Davis Bilingual Elementary School students gather around Aquaponics USA Grow Beds

The above photo shows children gathered around Grow Beds #3 & #4 to see plants growing in the Hydroton. The Hydroton is the Grow Bed media that takes the place of dirt. It’s made from fired clay, and is produced by a German company named Okotau. It was originally designed for Hydroponics (hence the name Hydroton); but works great in Aquaponics systems. This photo also shows Florescent Grow Lights hanging over the Grow Beds. These lights are crucial to the growth of the plants. No light–no plant growth.

This next series of pictures shows the arrival of the fish that are also crucial to an Aquaponics System because the fish create the fish waste that is turned into valuable nutrients for the plants through a process known as the Nitrogen Cycle, which the Davis Bilingual Elementary school students are also learning about.Davis Bilingual Elementary School place their gold fish into their Aquaponics USA Food Forever™ Growing Systems

Right now Davis is using gold fish in their Aquaponics systems. The above picture shows the gold fish going into the system.Davis Bilingual Elementary students watch their new gold fish swim in their 320 gallon Aquaponics USA tank.

The above picture shows students watching their gold fish swim around in their 320 gallon fish tank.Blackboard shows the Nitrogen Cycle of an Aquaponics System

The teaching of Aquaponics begins with a renowned instructor, Dr. D’Silva, Consultant and Professor. Dr. D’Silva is CEO of Moura Enterprises and a worldwide reference in Integrated Sustainable, AquaBioPonics and AquafuelPonics Systems and Humanitarian programs. Right now he is being a Humanitarian and helping the Davis Elementary School Teaching Staff and students learn all about the Nitrogen Cycle, which runs these systems and how to cycle their Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing Systems, which he calls “AquaBioPonics”. Since Davis Elementary is a Bilingual school, you’ll notice that some of the words on the board are in Spanish. Below, Dr. D’Silva in the white shirt stands next to one of the Davis Bilingual Staff members.Dr. D'Silva stands next to a Davis Bilingual School Staff Member

As the learning continues, Dr. D’Silva instructs members of the Davis Bilingual Elementary School staff on how to use their Water Quality Kit that came with their Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing System. Below, two of the staff members hold up tubes containing yellow-colored water indicating they have measured the Ammonia level in the system. The card with the colored rectangles on it is used to determine what that Ammonia level is. If the Ammonia goes up too high in an Aquaponics System, the system becomes toxic to both the plants and the fish. The third staff member standing next to Dr. D’Silva is the Librarian for Davis Bilingual Elementary, Cheryl Schrader-Gerken. She graciously welcomed us into her Library when we installed this system over Christmas and has taken on this amazing “Edible Schoolroom” Project (in her case it’s an Edible Library) with much joy and enthusiasm.

Davis Bilingual Elementary Staff learn how to measure Water Quality

This final photo below shows an up-close look at how the Water Quality Kit that is included with a Food Forever™ Growing System works to help you keep your water quality at safe, healthy levels. The three tubes all contain the same water taken from the system. The fist tube tells you what your Ammonia levels are. The second tube tells you what your Nitrite levels are and the third tube tells you what your Nitrate levels are. To get lots of detailed information about Water Quality go to our Water Page and read all about it. You can also see all the fun and excitement that the students at Davis Bilingual Elementary School are having by visiting their facebook page at Gardening & AquaBioPonics at Davis Elementary.Testing the Water Quality using the Kit that's included with a Food Forever™ Growing System

We’ll be doing more posts on these “Edible Schoolrooms” in the near future as we return to see what’s happening at the other two schools where our Food Forever™ Growing Systems were installed. Those schools include Manzo Elementary and Drachman Montessori Elementary. So stay tuned.

And be sure to check out the two videos we recently posted to YouTube on our Aquaponics USA TV Channel where we show you the full installation of this very system at the Davis Bilingual Elementary School. It is Part 1 of a four-part series that shows these installations in the three Tucson Elementary Schools. Parts 1 & 2 are posted and Parts 3 & 4 are coming.

Until next time, GET GROWING!

The Continuing Case of the Mystery Vegetable? Actually, it’s turned into two Mystery Vegetables!


A few days ago, I wrote a post asking for help identifying a mystery vegetable that grew like a weed in one of our Greenhouse Grow Beds, tasted delicious in salads, worked great steamed and in stir fries. One thoughtful person answered our call for help; and just like I had already done, she identified this vegetable to be Turnip Greens. With that one piece of back up evidence, I felt pretty confident we had Turnip Greens in our Grow Bed; but now I’m thinking we were wrong.

Today, I went over to my local Home Depot to do a search in the seed section of their Garden Dept; and I was successful as a seed package came up with a picture on it that looks exactly like the vegetable in our Grow Bed. Now, even though Turnip Greens were quite foreign to me, I had at least heard of them before. This vegetable is a complete unknown to me; and I have never even heard its name. Our helper, Fred, said he’d planted cabbage; and it turns out he’s still right. It’s Chinese Cabbage; and it’s called Michihli. Here’s that seed package.Chinese Cabbage, Michihli

You can go back two posts to see Michihli growing in one of our Grow Beds. According to the package, it grows easily and loves cool weather, which explains why it grew so well in our Greenhouse when it was in winter mode and night temperatures were in the 30’s F outside sometimes while the Greenhouse stayed  around 60 degrees F. As of today, I’m feeling like Michihli is the mystery vegetable.

Now, I have to share another confession, the same thoughtful person who identified the mystery plant as Turnip Greens also told us in a comment that she didn’t think the Spinach on the other side of the same Grow Bed was actually Spinach. This vegetable was also planted by our helper, Fred, and he couldn’t remember the name of that plant either. I cooked some of that Spinach-like plant up; and I have to admit it doesn’t taste like Spinach because it’s much milder. So, now, we have another mystery plant on our hands; and the package that describes that plant didn’t come up today. Our helpful reader thought the un-Spinish side of the Grow Bed might be Broccoli before it actually grows the Broccoli stocks. But there is no sign of Broccoli stocks on this new mystery plant.

So once again we’re asking for help in identifying a plant that grew like crazy in cool temperatures and looks a lot like Spinach. The picture of that plant is one post back. I was feeling like a real dufus in regard to this Grow Bed that got away from us until I found this interesting Image.food-variety-tree

The numbers on this Giff Image are telling you how many different species of vegetables existed in each vegetable category in 1903 (the top thicker bars) and then in 1983 (the bottom skinny bars). When you look at the green colored Cabbage Family bar in 1903, you see it was the largest vegetable family in the sample list of ten crops with 544 different species of Cabbage in it. So when I first looked at this Image, I thought no wonder I don’t know all the species of Cabbage because there are so many.

But that’s actually not the case; and I’m back to being a dufus. Because this Image shockingly shows that by 1983, those 544 species of Cabbage became a mere 28 species. What’s happening to the diversity of our vegetables? One of the things that is happening (and it’s been happening at greater and greater speeds since the mid nineties) is there has been a consolidation of seed companies leading to a corporate domination of our food supply. And the one corporation that has been buying up more seed companies than all the others put together is non other than Monsanto. This pdf, “Seed Industry Structure 1996-2008″  shows eye-opening proof of that statement.

As you most likely already know, Monsanto is one of the main corporations behind the proliferation of GMO’s, which is about genetically modifying seeds and then placing a patent on those seeds followed by a pay-to-play business model. Farmers who use Monsanto’s seeds are forbidden to harvest the seeds they already purchased from Monsanto and must re-purchase new seeds every season.

It appears that in buying up as many seed companies as they can, Monsanto is trying to create a monopoly in which eventually only their patented GMO seeds are available on the seed market. Before they pull the plug on all the natural seeds they now control, Monsanto can pretend to be the good guys who are also interested in marketing natural non-GMO seeds. I’m not buying it; and I’m not buying any seeds from a Monsanto controlled company either.

The seed packet above of the Chinese Cabbage, Michihli, is by a company called FERRY-MORSE; and as I trace the ownership, I find FERRY-MORSE is owned by a French company called Limagrain. FERRY-MORSE does not appear in the already mentioned “Seed Industry Structure Map”; but there is a place where there is a crossover between Limagrain and Monsanto. That’s enough to stop me from buying another package of FERRY-MORSE seeds. I guess you could say I’m personally boycotting any seed company connected to Monsanto.

We are presently buying our seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Paramount Seeds and Humble Seed. All three of these companies are, or originated from, family owned US based businesses that emphasize quality, nutrition, health and above all, non-GMO natural seeds. We are actually featuring and selling Humble Seed right on our Aquaponics USA website. Just go to our “Aquaponics and Gardening SEEDS” page to check out these great seeds packaged in long-term unique packaging that maintains the seeds life force.

Hopefully, someone will come forward and help us identify the mystery Grow Bed as both veggies in that bed are still in question. We’ve definitely learned our lesson about the importance of identifying our vegetables. It’s always good to know what you’re eating and from where it’s originating.

Hope this post has been helpful and informative. Until next time, GET GROWING!

Want to see the other side of yesterday’s mystery Grow Bed?


It looks like the mystery Veggie from yesterday is solved, thanks to Usona Asher (hope you don’t mind my giving you credit here, Usona). So far Usona is the only person who has responded to our call for help to identify a vegetable that was unfamiliar to us; and she agrees with my basically wild guess based on pictures from the internet that the mystery veggie is none other than Turnip Greens.

So now all I have to do is get back on the internet, connect to an heirloom seed supplier and order some Turnip Greens post haste as we’re about to start a major seed sprouting project over here. Think I’ll order some Bok Choy along with the Turnip Greens.

This time we’re going to sprout our seeds the tried and true (albeit more time consuming) way, which means I’ll be planting the seeds into a Seed Starting Kit that consists of a black seedling tray with a multi pargro rockwool cube pack with 98 one and one half inch cubes in it and topping the planted tray off with a protective, humidifying 3″ dome cover. This Seed Starting Kit is offered on our website with two different dome sizes.

I’ll be doing a post to show this seedling sprouting process in the near future so stay tuned. Now, on to what this post is all about. I want you to understand that yesterday I only showed you one side of the 11 sq. ft. Grow Bed that is housing the now identified Turnip Greens. As you can see by looking at yesterday’s post, there are a lot of Turnip Greens in that Grow Bed. But what’s really amazing is this:Greenhouse Spinach on the other side of the Grow Bed with the Turnip Greens

This is Spinach, which was planted at the same time as the Turnip Greens on the other side of the same Grow Bed. This Spinach is also delicious and seems to be milder than store bought spinach so it’s looking like aquaponically grown Turnip Greens and Spinach are both milder than their soil cultivated counterparts; and do they ever grow fast and thick in our Food Forever™ Growing Systems.

Here’s some interesting information about Spinach from the website I introduced you to yesterday, “the world’s healthiest foods“. A new category of health-supportive nutrients has been found in Spinach called “glycoglycerolipids”. Recent studies show that glycoglycerolipids (they sure can come up with some convoluted words to describe nutrition) from Spinach can help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage, especially damage related to the big baddy called inflammation.

Here’s another reason why Popeye ate so much Spinach. Out of all the cruciferous vegetables (see yesterday’s post for more information on cruciferous veggies), Spinach is the only one that showed evidence of significant protection against aggressive prostate cancer defined as cancer in stage 3 or 4. It seems Spinach contains certain unique cancer fighting carotenoids called (here comes another one of those impossible to spell or remember words) “epoxyxanthophylls” (spell-check doesn’t even know how to spell it); nevertheless, it’s a really good guy.

So take Popeye’s advice and “eat your Spinach”.

Just to make sure you get the picture of how much vegetable growth is possible in one 11 sq. ft. Grow Bed, this picture is worth a thousand words. It shows both sides of the Grow Bed we’re discussing side by side. Now, do you see what’s so remarkable about growing vegetables in a Food Forever™ Growing System? The veggies just love the living fertilizer that they are getting compliments of happy Tilapia swimming in tanks nearby. Grow Bed with Turnip Leaves and Spinach

Until next time, GET GROWING!