Come and Sit at the FOOD REVOLUTION Table!


The Food Revolution Table final sat

This Revolution is being waged by a group of incredible Revolutionaries who are biting down on the greatest threat to the well being of our country that has ever surfaced. They are gritting their teeth and going into the fray with everything they’ve got because they see no other way to keep our once great nation and our tough, individualistic point of view alive and well.

We’ve just declared April to be FOOD REVOLUTION Month in honor of the FOOD REVOLUTION Summit that goes from April 25- May 3, 2015.

We don’t like being the bearer of bad news; but the truth is WE ARE AT WAR! It’s a war for our right to eat healthy, nutritious food that is not laden with pesticides, petrochemicals and GMO’s. It’s a war for our health, our lives and the health and lives of our children and grandchildren. And the sad truth is, WE ARE LOSING; and this loss is measured in lost lives.

According to an article on the Mercola.com website, “One in Five American Deaths [are] Now Associated with Obesity”. The article goes on to say that:
Obesity-related deaths include those from type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, dementia, and depression because nearly all have metabolic dysfunction as a common underlying factor
The only effective way to reverse these trends is to make changes in your diet and lifestyle; drugs are definitely not the answer
(Note: This is one statistic taken from Part 2 of the Series on Obesity in America, which is coming in May)

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AWorld Food Revolution 8x10

March is National Nutrition Month! So Let’s Talk About How the USDA is providing Nutrition to our population.


March Newsletter Cover 2

March is our National Nutrition Month; but, unfortunately, most of us don’t know it. We have to confess that until we started writing this Blog post, we didn’t realize it either; and we’re in the nutritious food business.

Because it’s National Nutrition Month, we’re once again post-poning our Series on “Obesity in America” to celebrate and inform our readers about all of the Food related Programs that we are running in the U.S. including who these programs serve and the costs of those services.

But before we go there, we want to point out our original cartoons by our Marketing Director, Grace Sylke who is loving her new Pixton.com software. If you want to see them bigger or share them, go to our Pinterest Page.

Here is one of the Best National Programs we’ve got going; and it needs your Support.

FARM to SCHOOL

farm-to-school-logo

“Farm to School is a program in the United States through which schools buy and feature locally produced, farm-fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, meat, and beans on their menus. Schools also incorporate nutrition-based curriculum and provide students with experiential learning opportunities such as farm visits, gardening, and recycling programs. As a result of Farm to School, students have access to fresh, local foods, and farmers have access to new markets through school sales. Farmers are also able to participate in programs designed to educate kids about local food and agriculture.”
(Quote taken from Wikipedia)

This program started in 1996, and was fueled by “the desire to support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms and improve student health by reducing childhood obesity”. (Wikipedia) The plan was based on a triple win situation; and it was spearheaded with pilot projects in California through the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School System and The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, which was created by the famous food activist, Alice Waters. (To learn more about Alice Waters, go to our Food Revolution Part 2 Series in our May 2014 Newsletter featuring the Revolutionaries)

This program is now almost 20 years old, and it’s still going strong. Below, are some statistics that describe how effective this program was in the 2011-2012 school year based on a Census taken in 2013. A second Census is being conducted this year.

FNS Main Story Infographic

In 2014, the USDA issued approximately $5 million in Farm to School Grants to help school districts across the country further develop their farm to school programming.

Support Farm to School

In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed. It’s a Federal Statute that was signed into law by President Obama as part of the reauthorization of funding for child nutrition in the original Child Nutrition Act passed in 1966. The Farm to School Program is a Grant Program under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. To learn more about the original act enacted in 1966, click the above link. During the signing of the original act, then president, Johnson, remarked that “good food is essential to good learning.”

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act funds child nutrition programs and free lunch programs in schools for 5 years and continues through 2015. In addition, the bill sets new nutrition standards for schools, and allocates $4.5 billion for their implementation. More on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act below.

The Farm to School Program is allocated a mere $5 million of the nearly $36 billion (that’s a “B” for billion) dollar child nutrition five year funding budget. They have partnered with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to establish stronger Farm to School priorities in the 2015 reauthorization of the original Child Nutrition Act, and they are pushing for an additional $100 million in funding over the next decade.

If there were ever a program that deserves more funding, it’s this one because it’s so inclusive of both children, farmers and local communities. There are two bills representing this program. Click on the Bills to follow their progress. Both Bills were referred to Committee on February 25th, 2015.

S. 569 and H.R. 1061

Please communicate with your Senators and Congressional Representative to help get them passed.

Here’s another incredible National Program that warrants your support.

FEEDING AMERICA

Feeding America Logo

We first learned about FEEDING AMERICA when we went to Tucson, AZ in late 2011 to install three of our Aquaponics USA Food Forever Growing Systems in three elementary schools there.

We did an Interview with the Lead on that project, Zotero Citilacoatl who was the Youth Farm Project Manager for the Community Food Resource Center of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. We were new in the field of food and agriculture, so we had no idea that the Southern Arizona Community Food Bank was being supported by FEEDING AMERICA until we did that interview.

In many ways, we are very beholden to FEEDING AMERICA because it was that organization that funded the Grant that purchased those first three Food Forever School Growing Systems that we sold. We are now selling most of our Growing Systems to schools all over the U.S. To learn more about our School Growing Systems, go to our webpage that describes our School Packages and Pricing structure.

FEEDNG AMERICA leads our nation in the fight against hunger through it’s nationwide network of Food Banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community-based agencies.

Food Bank

FEEDING AMERICA has had a long history and a different name. It all started with John van Hengel.

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John lived from February 21,1923 until October 5, 2005; and after he took a vow of poverty as a devout Roman Catholic and started working at Immaculate Heart Church in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 60’s, he began to solicit unwanted food for the poor from grocery stores, local gardens and nearby produce farms. These efforts led to the creation of the first Food Bank in the world, which was located in Phoenix, Arizona and called the St. Mary’s Food Bank in 1967. “In addition he worked for many years as a consultant to U.S. cities starting their own food banks. He also traveled the world teaching other countries how to set up food banks which are now in operation throughout Europe and in many other countries, including Israel, Australia and Mexico.” (Quote taken from the Find A Gravewebsite)

In 1975, St. Mary’s was given a federal grant to assist in developing Food Banks across the nation. This organization became America’s Second Harvest with Mr. van Hengel in charge. America’s Second Harvest merged with Foodchain, another food distribution charity.

Then in May of 2007, the American Idol TV Program named America’s Second Harvest as the recipient of the Idol Gives Back Charity Program and the company was put on the map. They changed their name to FEEDING AMERICA in 2008. Since then, several high profile people and companies have adopted FEEDING AMERICA including Bob Dylan in 2009 with an announcement by Columbia Records that all U.S. royalties from his Christmas in the Heart album would go to FEEDING AMERICA in perpetuity.

Today, Tony Robbins, the well known motivational speaker, is supporting a 100 Million Meals Challenge, and he’s inviting us all to help match his gift of 50 million meals to FEEDING AMERICA so, together, we can provide 100 million meals for the 49 million Americans who struggle with hunger. When combined with Tony’s gift, every $1 you give helps secure and distribute 20 meals through the FEEDING AMERICA network of food banks.

If you’re being called to contribute, just go to FEEDING AMERICA and join Tony’s 100 Million Meals Challenge.

What’s happening with Nutrition in the USDA?

USDA

Our USDA is supporting a number of beneficial Nutritional Programs beyond the Farm to School Program. Some of these programs are serviced based on age and ethnicity. Others like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as Food Stamps, service a broad swath of our nation’s population. So let’s start with one of the children’s programs:

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) was authorized by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The pilot program began in 4 states and 1 Indian Tribal Organization (Zuni, New Mexico).

The purpose of the pilot was to determine the best practices for increasing fruit (both fresh and dried) and fresh vegetable consumption in schools.

As a result of the Program’s popularity, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (more on WIC below) added 4 more states (Pennsylvania, Mississippi, North Carolina, Washington), 10 schools in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, and 8 schools in Arizona’s Tribal Council (3 schools in the Gila River Pima Community and 5 schools in the Tohono O’odham Community).

The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006, Public Law 109-97, appropriated money to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to include: Utah, Wisconsin, New Mexico (25 schools), Texas, Connecticut, and Idaho. The Farm Bill amended the National School Lunch Act by eliminating section 18(f) and adding section 19, the FFVP and provided significant changes from the previous program.

The Program is now Nation-wide in selected schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.” (Quote taken from USDA webpage on the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program )

Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

Food Distribution to Indian Rez

This is an idillic representation of an Indian Reservation with ceremonial teepees set up to honor the food. There are 310 Native American Reservations in the U.S. and typically, many of America’s poorest people reside in them. When we speak about 3rd World and Developing Countries, we are also speaking about these Sovereign Nations, which constitute 3rd World Countries within our borders. Thank goodness, there’s a program designed to pick up those Native Americans who do not have access to the larger, all inclusive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program commonly known as (SNAP).

“Low-income American Indian and non-Indian households that reside on a reservation and households living in approved areas near a reservation or in Oklahoma that contain at least one person who is a member of a Federally-recognized tribe, are eligible to participate in FDPIR.

Households are certified based on income standards set by the Federal government and must be recertified at least every 12 months. Elderly and disabled households may be certified for up to 24 months. Households may not participate in FDPIR and SNAP in the same month.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the USDA, administers FDPIR at the Federal level. The program is administered locally by either Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) or an agency of a State government. Currently, there are approximately 276 tribes receiving benefits under FDPIR through 100 ITOs and 5 State agencies.” (Quote taken from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Nutrition Program Fact Sheet)

The Meals on Wheels Program

Meals On Wheels #2

Without the Meals On Wheels Program many of our Senior Citizens would starve. “Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through a network of more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. While the diversity of each program’s services and operations may vary based on the needs and resources of their communities, they are all committed to supporting their senior neighbors to live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes.

Meals On Wheels galvanizes the resources of local community organizations, businesses, donors, sponsors and more than two million volunteers – bolstered by supplemental funding from the Older Americans Act – into a national safety net for our seniors. Meals on Wheels ensures that seniors have access to adequate nutrition even when family support, mobility and resources are lacking.

For seniors who are mobile and attending Senior Centers and other gathering places, Meals On Wheels also delivers to many of those community gathering places.

This amazing service for our Seniors not only drops off daily nutritious meals, it offers seniors the opportunity to visit with a friendly, caring person who is also doing a safety check to mitigate against the risks of medical emergencies, falls and other accidents.

Meals On Wheels is partially supported by the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965, which was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults and was passed as part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiative.” (Quote taken from Meals On Wheels America)

Within the last two years, there has been a movement in Congress spearheaded by Senator Bernie Sanders to Reauthorize the OAA. Two Bills were created. Senate Bill S.1562: Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2014 was not enacted in 2014 and the House of Representatives Bill, H.R. 4122, by the same name was referred to Committee on Feb. 28, 2014. This was the last action on the Bill.

Let’s show our support for Reauthorizing these two Bills and getting them passed in 2015 as our elder Boomers remain the largest segment of our population and will need more Meals On Wheels.

To follow these Bills, go to GovTrack.us.

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

Senior Farmers' Mkt. Nutrition Program

This is an interesting USDA Program focused on Seniors. It’s the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

“The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) awards grants to States, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.

The SFMNP is administered by State agencies such as the State Department of Agriculture or the Agency on Aging.

The purposes of the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program are to:

(1) Provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs from farmers’ markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors,
(2) Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs, and
(3) Develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.” (Quote from USDA Overview of the Program)

Like Farm to School, this program benefits both the recipient of the vouchers as well as the sellers of the fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs. It’s another win/win program that supports everyone involved.

USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

snap

No line up of USDA Food Assistance Programs would be complete without listing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program now known as SNAP and formerly known as Food Stamps.

“SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity.” (Quote from the USDA website on SNAP )

As of the last count, which was October 2014, there were 46,674,364 Americans on SNAP, which constitutes 14.6 percent of the 318,857,056 people in our popu-lation. Households on food stamps got an average benefit of $261.44 during the month, and total benefits for the month cost taxpayers nearly $6 billion. That’s $6 billion per month, which would be $72 billion per year. (Statistics from an on-line publicly supported news website, CNS NEWS )

“Close to 70 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.

After unemployment insurance, SNAP is the most responsive federal program providing additional assistance during economic downturns. It also is an important nutritional support for low-wage working families, low-income seniors, and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes.

The federal government pays the full cost of SNAP benefits and splits the cost of administering the program with the states, which operate the program.” (Quote taken from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Being the best known and the largest food assistance program out there, often places SNAP in the crossfires of criticism; and many believe it is being over used and under managed allowing for abuse and fraud. Nevertheless, this program has been and continues to be a god-send to many Americans in need of food assistance.

All About the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act

This Act was passed in 2010 as part of the reauthorization of funding for child nutrition (see the original Child Nutrition Act). It’s focal point is improving child nutrition; and it serves to set policy for the USDA’s core child nutrition programs including the:

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
School Breakfast Program (SBP)
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Farm to School Grant Program
(Quote from USDA website School Meals, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act)

Except for the WIC Program and the Farm to School Grant Program, we are not going into detail regarding each of these programs. For more information, click on the above Links to see what each of these programs entails.

In March of 2010, “the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that implementing this bill would have discretionary costs of $35.9 billion over the 2011-2015 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.” Most of these costs are for the reauthorization of WIC, which received an appropriation of $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2010 and would, therefore, need at the very least 5 times that for the designated 5 year period of 2011-2015 period. (Quote taken from the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate dated March 24, 2010)

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act has nothing to do with the SNAP Program and is a separate expenditure that is focused on children except in the case of Adult Care Facilities where Adults are being serviced.

That means that between the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act and the SNAP Program, the USDA is spending nearly $80 billion annually to provide nutrition for people in need.

The Women Infants and Children Program (WIC)

Women Infants and Children

“In 1974, WIC was established as a permanent program to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children up to the age of 5 who are at nutritional risk.

This mission is carried out by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education (including breastfeeding promotion and support), and referrals to health and other social services.

WIC benefits are not limited only to food. Participants have access to a number of resources, including health screening, nutrition and breastfeeding counseling, immunization screening and referral, substance abuse referral and more.” (Quote taken from USDA website page on the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program)

WIC recipients become eligible for this program based on their annual income and must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines as of the revised guidelines effective from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.(Information gleaned from the USDA website page on the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program)

There was a rather shocking group of statistics put out by the USDA in 2010 as part of their State-Level Estimates of Infants and Pre-School-Age Children at or Below 185 Percent of Poverty. These stats compare 2009 to 2010 and show that almost every state had rising numbers of children in this category. It appears that the recession that was triggered by the pop of the housing bubble in 2008 among other things has plunged more households at or below 185 percent of poverty.

“WIC is not an entitlement program as Congress does not set aside funds to allow every eligible individual to participate in the program. WIC is a Federal Grant Program for which Congress authorizes a specific amount of funds each year for the program. Based on the 2010 figure, WIC annual cost is around $7 billion; and it is the most costly program in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Program Group.

WIC is:
1. Administered at the Federal level by FNS
2. Administered by 90 WIC state agencies, through approximately 47,000 authorized retailers.
3. WIC operates through 1,900 local agencies in 10,000 clinic sites, in 50 State health departments, 34 Indian Tribal Organizations, the District of Columbia, and five territories (Northern Mariana, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands)”
(Quote taken from USDA website page Wic at a Glance)

Currently, WIC serves a staggering 53% of all infants born in the United States. This means that over half of the children born in the U.S. need Nutritional support by the government; and this is another example of how fragile our economy is post the 2008 crash.

In Conclusion:

Dinosaur with Hard Hat

In conclusion, we have to say that as we wrote this month’s Newsletter, we really learned a lot. We had no idea about how many different Nutrition Programs are being funded and how much those programs cost.

We’ve seen comparisons regarding the percentage Americans spend on food out of their annual incomes compared to other countries; and those figures show that we spend so much less.

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But now we’re wondering if these statistics are taking into account how much the U.S. Government, via it’s tax payers, is spending on Nutrition.

Maybe if we took the nearly $80 billion that is being spent annually by the USDA and divided it up among all of the taxpayers and then did the comparison again, we’d get a higher percentage number spent on Food in the U.S. We’re pretty sure those billions aren’t reflected in the above graph.

On the other hand, we spent $799.8 billion on our Defense Budget in fiscal year 2014. There’s another mind blowing number for you. We’re actually spending almost 10 times more on Defense than we’re spending on Food for the needy.

Bottom line, we have to feed our people in need; and we need to defend all of us so relax and enjoy this last day of Nutrition Month.

Thank You for following our Blog. We hope you enjoyed reading this one as much as we enjoyed doing the research and bringing you this information.

P.S. Remember to tell your friends and family who want to learn more about our Food System or who are interested in Aquaponics to check out our Blog. If you’d like to see this Blog Post as a monthly Newsletter, go to our March 2015 Newsletter, Number 15.

Sustainably,

Aquaponics USA/World

Inside our Fishroom and Growroom


February 2015 Newsletter
Number 14
Table of Contents (first 7 are Sidebars)
A Word From Our Editor, Grace Sylke
Don’t miss our Pinterest Wall
Read our January 2015 Newsletter
Read our December 2014 Newsletter
The New To Grow
Visit our Aquaponics USA/World TV Channel
Happy Valentines Day, Yesterday!
All About Planting Seeds
Visiting the Tilapia Nursery
The 80º Vertical System Two Weeks Later

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’ve once again delayed Part 2 of our new Series on“Obesity in America”to bring you this update about what’s been happening in our Fishroom and Growroom. You’re even getting a tutorial on how to start your own seeds from scratch.

Be Sure To Check Out Our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall
Pinterest keeps growing like the weeds that are NOT in our Aquaponics Grow Beds. You can share your favorite images on a Wall you create. We recently created a Wall of Lettuce. Walls are Walls. We love sharing our Lettuce and Pinterest Walls.

It’s all about our ever changing Greenhouse and our newly installed 80º Vertical Food Forever™ Farm Growing System.

Get Access to all of our 2014 Newsletters from our December 2014 Newsletter, which is Part 1 of the Series, “Obesity In America”
All of our 2014 Newsletters are Linked Up in our December 2014 Newsletter. We don’t only talk about Aquaponics. We talk about important issues relating to our Food System like the “Food Revolution, Parts 1-4″, “The Organic Industry In The U.S. Parts 1-3″ and other important Food System topics.

Watch For the new Food Documentary,The Need To GROW
This documentary, which is still in production is all about The Need To Grow healthy, local food and the need to change how we regard agribusiness turning it into “an ecological system that includes all of humankind, all the animals, the rivers, the oceans, and the microbes–rather than an industry artificially cut-off from nature.”
Quote take from The Need To Grow website.
Oh, and We’re In It.Click on the Trailer from the Home Page.

Go To Our

Aquaponics USA/ Aquaponics World TV Channel

Today we have 2,037 Subscribers and 343,801 Views. You’ll enjoy seeing what we’ve been doing since we started Aquaponics USA in 2009. It’s amazing how fast this field is growing. Watch for our up-coming Video of our new 80º Vertical System in our Greenhouse. We’ll show you how easy it is to harvest this new system.
Coming in early April.

Yesterday. Hope you Made it a Good One!
Valentines Day comes around every year. To some it’s a really special un-Holiday. To others it’s a day of remembering when it was special and you were with the one you loved. How about making it a “Love Everyone & Everything Day”. Now that’s special! Heck, let’s do that Everyday!
And don’t forget your fish.

This Paper is a must read for anyone interested in Food & Health. It’s a Daily so you can start your day taking in some of the most important information about these two important topics all sorted and gathered right out of the web for you.

Our Monthly Special
This cylindrical 4″ Airstone has a 2″ Diameter and is the best Air Stone we have found yet. It really pumps out the air; and we are now using it in all of our Fish Tanks.
For February through March 15, we’re offering this Air Stone with a 10% Discount exclusively to our Newsletter Subscribers. Just give us a call prior to ordering so we can lock in your Discount.
760-671-3053
Inside our Fishroom & Growroom
 Where Things Are Moving Along Swimmingly

Dear Subscriber:
We’ve once again post-poned our Series on “Obesity in America” to focus on what’s happening with our Aquaponics Micro Food Forever™ Farm over here in the High Desert of California. This is a small Demonstration Farm built so we could do R&D on our system designs, learn what works and what doesn’t work before we put these sustainable, organic Farms into the marketplace.
Our January Newsletter, which you can read here, was all about our Greenhouse and the cutting edge new 80º Vertical System we recently installed within it. So we decided to make this Newsletter about the rest of our Micro Food Forever™ Farm, which are the enclosed areas that include our Fishroom and Growroom.
Food Forever™ Farms can grow vegetables and food fish in Greenhouses or Warehouses so we are demonstrating Aquaponics food growing technology in both of those environments.

Here’s Our Latest Evolution in Seed Germination

We were having a heck of a time getting our seeds to germinate past a certain size. They would sprout, grow and then when they got to be about one inch high, they would start to croak. We put them in the Greenhouse under natural Light. We put them in the Growroom under fluorescents and then LED’s; but the same thing kept happening. It was a real mystery.
We were able to save most of our seedlings; but we were being forced to plant them into the Growroom or Greenhouse Systems while they were very small causing them to take up precious grow out space for way longer than necessary.
Above, you see our solution and it’s working like a charm. This is a Shallow Flood & Drain Grow Bed full of seedlings. We’re calling it our Seed  Incubation Table (SIT™); and are having fun with the acronym because it’s all about putting them in the Bed and then comes the “Sit and Wait” part of the process. We quite literally don’t have to do another thing as the seedlings are being automatically watered with the system water, which eliminates daily watering.
This new system even allowed us to leave our sprouted seedlings in the SIT™ for longer than they needed to be there while we finished building our new 80º Vertical System.
While we’re talking about seeds, let’s go through a little lesson on how to plant them. You need a few things to germinate seeds starting with a Seed Starter Kit, which we sell on our Aquaponics USA website.
So the next question is what do you do with the Kit? You take the Seed Tray and the Seed Planting Cube with 98 Seed sites and soak them in your bath tub or in a tray that is deep enough to cover them with water.
But this is not ordinary water. This water has to have a pH of 5.5. Now we need to go further into the chemistry weeds on this subject because we need to explain what the heck is pH?

 

The “H” in pH stands for Hydrogen and the “p” stands for the power of that Hydrogen–the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. That Hydrogen concentration is very important for living things because Hydrogen ions are positively charged and can, therefore, alter the charge environment of other molecules in a solution by putting a force on the molecule causing it to change its normal shape. For a protein molecule this is crucial because the shape of a protein is related to its function. A low pH count corresponds to a high hydrogen ion concentration and a high pH count corresponds to a low hydrogen ion concentration. A substance that when added increases the concentration of hydrogen ions (lowers the pH) is called an acid; and a substance that decreases the concentration of hydrogen ions (raises the pH) is called a base. There are also substances that enable solutions to resist pH changes when an acid or base is added. These substances are called buffers. Buffers help organisms maintain a relatively constant pH.  Pure water is considered neutral with a pH of 7. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are said to be basic or alkaline.
Tilapia prefer a pH range of 7-8, which is on the alkaline side of the scale. But most Aquaponic farmers keep their pH levels between 6.8 and 7.0, which is a compromise for the fish and the plants as the plants prefer a more acidic environment. Drastic shifts in either direction can be lethal to both the fish and the plants. So watching pH levels is very important in aquaponics.

So that means you also need to have a pH Meter, which it just happens we also sell on our site.
You start by calibrating your meter according to the instructions on the box. Then you measure what the pH is of your water as it comes out of your faucets. Your goal is to soak your Seed Cube in a pH environment of 5.5, which means you need to start your seeds in an acidic environment.
If your water is alkaline, meaning it has a natural pH of 7 or above, you have to make it acidic; and you do this by adding good old Distilled White Vinegar.
You carefully add the vinegar while watching your pH Meter until it goes to 5.5 and stays there. Then you place your seed tray with the seed cube into the water and let it soak for about a half hour.
Once your tray has soaked up the 5.5 pH water, you take it to the location where you’re going to plant your seeds into it; and perform a simple final act before doing that. You take a pen or pencil and open the holes in the cube so you can easily place your seeds into them.
I have my Humble Seed packages ready to be planted into the Seed Cube. We sell these great seeds on our website. Humble Seed’s premium herb, fruit, and vegetable seeds are packaged in re-sealable Mylar® bags then themed and bundled in FDA food-safe containers.
Once you get your seeds planted into the Seed Cube, you need to label them so you know what’s what when you plant them into your Grow Beds. We use large popsicle sticks that you can get in the Craft Deptartment of Walmart. We cut them so they don’t obstruct the humidifying dome when it’s placed onto the tray. We used a different Brand of Seeds here because it’s easy to see them in their seed sites. The company that sells these seeds is called Parmount Seeds; and they specialize in seeds for large Greenhouse operations.
The final step of seed planting is finding the perfect location for your seeds to sprout. You can actually leave them indoors in the dark for a couple of days before you place them in the sun or under Grow Lights. We’ve tried a lot of different places and lighting to start and grow our seeds ending up with the new SIT™ solution that is working so well for us.
But if you don’t have an aquaponics set up that warrants it’s own Flood & Drain Table, you can place them on a shelf in your Greenhouse, in an empty Grow Bed, on a table under a Grow Light or even on a window seat that gets lots of sunlight.
In this photo, we’re sprouting our seeds using Seed Kits with 6″ Humidifying Domes placed inside an empty Deep Media Bed in our Greenhouse. At that time, we were demonstrating 60º Vertical Growing instead of the 80º Vertical Growing we’re now demonstrating. Later, we moved that Grow Bed over to the other side of the Greenhouse where it’s growing 3 incredible Tomato Plants today and built a sprouting shelf where it sits.
In this photo we’re sprouting our very first batch of seeds to plant in the five Deep Media Grow Beds we originally installed in our Greenhouse. These seedling trays started with 3 inch tall Humidifying Domes and went to 6 inch Domes. A few days before planting, we simply removed the Domes because the seedlings got too tall for them.
And in this photo we’re using an LED Grow Light and a portable table to sprout our seeds. Believe me, we’ve tried it all; and finally landed on what we described above as our SIT™ system.
Notice the spray bottle under the table on the left. If you don’t have a self watering SIT™ set up for your seeds, you’ll need to hand spray them using system water a couple of times a day until you plant them.

So Let’s Go Into Our Fishroom where the Valentine’s Mood is flourishing.

In this room, we have five 120 gallon Fish Tanks with about 200 Tilapia including the fingerlings. Fingerlings are fast and skiddish so photographing them is a bit of a challenge. We would like to actually get them out of this tank and place them in a our new Fingerling Aquarium, which will sit on the wall next to the one above them; but that, too, is a major challenge as it would involve stressing every fish in the tank to capture them. Oliver often says he believes fingerlings have “Transporter Technology” as they seem to be able to traverse the tank in zero time. We do our best to not stress our fish as stressed fish easily become subject to disease and premature death.
Below is a photo of our installed Fingerling Aquarium, however these fish have grown past finger size and would more appropriately be called hand size.
This Aquarium is bolted to the wall at one end of the Fishroom; and we plan to add one or two more as we get more fry. You can see that the system water is running right through this aquarium as we learned a sad lesson when we tried to raise a couple hundred fingerlings in their own separate system with a small Grow Bed that wasn’t sufficient for their water filtration needs.
The two knobs you see at the top right are attaching theAutomatic Fish Feeder to the aquarium; and it looks like these guys have just been fed as they’re all gathered at the drop location.
In the photo below, we were actually able to get a shot of the fingerlings before they transported off camera.
We actually managed to sneek up on five of them. To give you an idea of how tiny they are, in the foreground is the tail of an adult Tilapia in their tank. These five aren’t even the size of a finger as their name indicates. If/when we take them out of this tank, we can’t put them in the Aquarium pictured above because the young Tilapia are protein lovers and carnivores and these little guys would be devoured. The large Tilapia, their progenitors, in this tank aren’t so interested in a new protein source so they leave them alone. They live on algae and Fingerling Crumble, which we sell on our Aquaponics USA website.

Back to our Greenhouse for a Quick Peek 
at what happened in the 2 Weeks since we sent out our January Newsletter.

The 3 kinds of Lettuce we planted into our new 80º Vertical System has grown out and is almost ready for harvest. What a sight it is to see. This is a 16 foot long wall of lettuce so thick you can no longer see the ducts that it’s growing in.
And there’s a Chef down in Palm Springs who can’t wait to get his hands on this pesticide free, organic lettuce. His name is Scott and he owns New Leaf Catering so if you’re in the area and have an event coming up, be sure to visit his website.

We Have a Great Daily Newspaper. It’s the . . .

If you want to keep up on what’s happening in the Food & Health World, just Subscribe to the Aquaponics USA Food & Health News. It’s a Daily Paper full of important articles, recipes and the latest scientific research on both Food and Health.

Consumer Alert!

A new company has just joined the dark side with Monsanto & Friends to get a GMO Apple approved by the Federal Government. The FDA has yet to weigh in; but it’s looking like a slam dunk. This is the Okanagan Company; and they are under the misguided opinion that we need an apple that doesn’t brown or bruise when it’s cut open.
What we need are healthy, wholesome Organic Apples and not more Franken Food by ego maniacs who think they can create nutritious food better than Mother Nature. Go to Politico to read the article announcing this sad day of birthing the poison apple for innocent, unaware consumers who aren’t allowed to know those apples are GMO because there is no mandatory labeling.
We got so disturbed by this diabolical announcement, we had to create three images to spread the word. All of these images are on our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall so PLEASE have at them and spread this Consumer Alert far and wide.
These poison apples are not on the market yet. Maybe if we scream loudly enough, Okanagan will realize they took a wrong turn when they came to the fork in the road; and they followed the fork that leads to their destruction.
Thank you so much for following our Newsletters. We hope you had a happy, romantic and fun-filled Valentines Day.
If you’re a Pinterest Fan, you can find several of these photos on our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall. So have fun sharing them. And if you’re just discovering our Newsletters, you can get Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters by clicking over to our December 2014 Newsletter. You can also read our January 2015 Newsletter here.
And don’t forget to Forward this Newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family who care about our Food System and how we’re growing our food.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World
Get your 10% Discount on any of our Food Forever™ Growing systems from Aquaponics USA!
This Offer is good until April 1st, 2015. 

 

Image

Aquaponics World Keeps Changing Everything


January 2015 Newsletter
Aquaponics USA/World             
Lucky Number 13
Table of Contents

 

Our 60º Vertical Duffy Duct System for Greenhouses

 

A 60º Vertical Wall growing Red Oak Leaf Lettuce

 

We did it again. Tore everything (except the Deep Media Beds) out of the Greenhouse

 

Back to the drawing board to build 7 ft. 80º Vertical Ducts

 

It’s a Trough alright; but not for a Raft System

 

The Drawing of the new 80º Vertical System

 

The Drawing Program that made it all possible–Artboard

 

The finished 80º Vertical Duffy Duct System

 

Moving Lettuce from Stage one Grow Out to Stage Two Grow Out

 

The 80º Vertical Duffy Duct System planted

 

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’ve delayed Part 2 of our new Series on“Obesity in America” to bring you this informative Newsletter about what’s been happening in our Greenhouse. Actually, it’s a brief history of that ever changing Greenhouse.

Don’t miss our Aquaponics World
Pinterest is growing in leaps and bounds. It’s a fun way to share your favorite images on the web. We’ve got some great ones to share.

It has Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters. We don’t only talk about Aquaponics. We talk about important issues relating to our Food System like the “Food Revolution, Parts 1-4″, “The Organic Industry in the U.S, Parts 1-3″ and other important Food System topics.

Go To Our
We have some really popular and informative YouTube Videos up on our TV Channel; and we’ll be doing a new one on our 80º Vertical System real soon.
     Aquaponics World, LLC
    Just Keeps Changing Everything

Dear Subscriber:
If you’ve been following our progress over the years since we first came onto the Aquaponics scene in early 2009, you already know we’re innovators. Our retired aerospace engineer turned Aquaponics Systems Designer, Oliver Duffy, just keeps improving his designs never being satisfied to settle for almost great and certainly never following the pack.
We started our Aquaponics journey as backyard Deep Media system designers, which we are still doing through our Aquaponics USA company that sells Deep Media Home and School Systems. In those days our Greenhouse looked like this with five Deep Media Beds.
Then we started exploring commercial aquaponics and talking about the possibility of designing Vertical Aquaponics systems on a large scale to sell vegetables for profit. Quite frankly, we were laughed at by some pretty heavy hitters in the field in those early years of commercial aquaponics.
Suddenly, everything changed and anyone who was a real contender in the field started designing commercial systems that no longer grew leafy greens in Deep Media Systems. It was the time of the emergence of Deep Water Culture Beds often referred to as Raft Systems. Raft Systems have become the standard for commercial aquaponics; and it seems the pack has simply settled on them as the answer.
Raft systems were not new technology as they came onto the scene in the 70’s with the now famous Dr. James Rakocy over at UVI (University of the Virgin Islands); but until around 2011, for the aquaponics companies that formed in the field outside of University settings, Deep Media was all the rage.
Now, it’s the ubiquitous Horizontal Raft System that is showing up everywhere in commercial systems that are growing leafy greens. Below, this Raft System, showing only the troughs, was built for the 2013 Greenhouse Expo in Bahrain. The plants will be held in polystyrene rafts floating over the troughs. The polystyrene has holes drilled in it to hold the plants. There’s nothing wrong with these Horizontal Raft Systems as they’re made out of wood and pond liner; and are, therefore, relatively inexpensive to build; and they grow beautiful leafy greens. But their downside is they are all “Horizontal” and take up a massive amount of Greenhouse or Warehouse space to put out their crops.
  
In the aquaponics field, space is precious so designing systems with the ability to put out more plants in less space is highly desirable.

So Oliver designed Vertical NFT Ducts to grow Leafy Greens. We call them Duffy Ducts™ in honor of his last name. 

In February of 2014, we tore the five Deep Media Beds, pictured above, out of our Greenhouse and installed this space saving 60º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System. We made our ducts out of vinyl fence posts; but soon discovered these slick, thick fence posts were way too expensive to enable us to build Food Forever™ Farms, which would require thousands of them. This isn’t news as we’veBloggedYouTubed and Newslettered about our first Vertical duct system on a few occasions. For the purposes of this Newsletter, we wanted to recap the history that’s been going on in our Greenhouse since 2009.
The above system isn’t only saving precious space. It’s saving one of the most important natural resources on our planet today–WATER! The little bit of water that’s trickling down these ducts is way less than what you see filling the troughs in the Raft System above.
The only way to accomplish this feat in an aquaponics system is to have ultra clean, clear water in the system; and that is no easy task. Actually, that’s where the rubber hits the road in aquaponics system design. And that leads right to our proprietary technology that is in a Patent Pending process called our Solids Separation BioConversion System (SSBS). Our SSBS is a state of the art water conversion invention that makes Vertical Aquaponics NFT Growing Systems possible.
For those of you who don’t know, NFT stands for Nutrient Film Technique; and these systems have been around for a long time as they’ve been borrowed (pretty much like everything else) from Hydroponics technology. But rarely, if ever, do you see NFT systems placed in a Vertical configuration unless Horizontal NFT’s are stacked. The system below is a Horizontal NFT system; but you can see how the troughs could be staked one above the other on railings to turn them into a layered vertical system.

That’s not what we’re doing. We’re actually turning our Duffy Duct™ System Vertically at a 60º angle to full Vertical and growing what looks like walls of leafy greens.

Here’s a Wall of Red Oak Leaf Lettuce that was growing in our Greenhouse last year.

But by this time, we had already discovered our big price problem and had torn out all of the vinyl fence posts that had grown 3 crops of perfectly beautiful lettuce for us. We replaced the vinyl fence posts with vinyl downspouts, which you can barely see in this picture. We left the support structure in place only replacing the ducts.
Here’s a picture of our vinyl fence posts in the Bone Yard along with some of the Deep Media Beds we tore out of the Greenhouse in February of 2014.
If you’re thinking this can get to be an expensive proposition, you’re right; but we’re doing R&D on the perfect Food Forever™ Farm system and that means these Farms not only have to grow leafy greens using less space and water, they also have to be affordable for our clients so the vinyl fence posts had to go. This first adjustment to the design happened around July of 2014.
The new downspouts grew beautiful crops of lettuce right into December. In fact, we had so much lettuce we had to sell it so we contacted a couple of free lance chefs in Palm Springs, Chef Giovanni of Freelance Gourmet and Scott of New Leaf Cateringand took a car load to their facilities so they could use it to make Holiday Party Salads. Below is a picture of Oliver helping to package and box lettuce in our kitchen.

But we weren’t done yet. We had one more almost complete tear out to do this month.

And this time we once again tore out everything in the Greenhouse except our two Deep Media Beds in the back that are putting out the biggest and most delicious tomatoes we have ever grown. Below is a photo of Grace trimming those tomato plants.
We finally figured out how to properly trim these tomato plants so they continually produce massive amounts of indeterminate tomatoes right through winter.
Another reason our tomatoes are doing so well this winter is we also insulated the North side of our East/West facing Greenhouse. This side does not get sun; and it was allowing a lot of heat that we were generating with a Blue Flame heater to escape the Greenhouse.
Last February, when we tore everything out of our Greenhouse for the first time (this is getting to be a habit), we covered the Greenhouse with a light diffusing Greenhouse plastic so now the sunlight coming in is diffused and goes everywhere. This silver insulation actually bounces light back into the Greenhouse and increases the overall light.
The fish tank you see in the background is temporarily being used as a sump for the flooding and draining that’s happening in the two Deep Media Beds. It does not have fish in it and it will be removed once our new duct system is complete.

So now what are we doing in that ever evolving Greenhouse?

Here’s a big hint. We’re building more Vertical Duffy Ducts™ using downspouts; but this time, they’re going to be 80º to full Vertical and taller; and they’re going to be in one straight line all facing the South side of our Greenhouse where they will get the best light. With this new design, we’ll be able to grow 240 heads of luscious lettuce; and we’ll be demonstrating to our indoor clients the new 80º to full Vertical capabilities of this system.
It just so happens that because our Greenhouse faces East/West we
can use this new 80º configuration of our Duffy Duct™ System in a single wall.
Right now as I write this Newsletter, Oliver and our System Technician, Keil Plotczyk, are completing the hooking up of the hoses onto the top of this new 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System and we’ll be planting into it soon. We’ll also be able to show you a picture of the new system before this Newsletter goes out.
Of course that means we just added to our Bone Yard; and below, you see the shorter downspouts that grew several crops of beautiful luscious lettuce from August through December of 2014.
These downspouts are actually white; but look blue as they are sitting inside a green screen room that attaches to the North side of our Greenhouse.
If anyone is interested in purchasing our used vinyl fence posts or downspouts, please give us a call at 760-671-3053 because our Bone Yard is filling up.

So what happened next? No, we didn’t join the pack and build a Trough for a Raft System! 

We did build a trough alright; and we used pond liner for the first time. This is the trough for catching the water that’s going to be passing through our 80º Vertical NFT Duffy Duct™ System; and I just went out to the Greenhouse to see it all complete. WOW! It’s breath taking.
It’s too late to take pictures today so this Newsletter is being delayed a day so you can see it all planted and growing lettuce.

Here is our 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System Design as it was meticulously measured out and tweaked by our System Designer especially for our own Greenhouse.
The brown at the bottom is the front side of the trough you saw pictured above. This system has a single Wall of 24 Ducts all facing the South Wall of our Greenhouse.
There are no fish tanks in the Greenhouse as we moved all of our fish into the Fishroom when we finished building it early last year. Our goal is to create a demonstration Micro Food Forever™ Farm with all of the bells and whistles of a full-sized Farm.
This new design demonstrates what’s possible in an enclosed warehouse as that is where we can use this 80º Duffy Duct™ System most efficiently. The only reason we’re able to put it into our Greenhouse is because our Greenhouse is long, narrow and the ducts are all facing the South Wall where the sun shines in.
When we place the 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System into a warehouse with Grow Lights, the system design changes dramatically and is proprietary; but the essence of the design is being shared here.

The Drawing Program Oliver used to create this design is called Artboard.

And he’s feeling it made the design of our new Greenhouse 80º Vertical configuration possible because it allowed him to easily move things around to make them fit exactly how they had to fit into the challenging space restricted requirements.

And Here It Is–Our 80 degree Vertical Duffy Duct™ System!

This system had to be precisely calculated to fit in our Greenhouse, be easily planted and harvested (that’s a proprietary feature we’re not showing) and allow enough space for plant grow out and Tours in our narrow 8 ft. wide Greenhouse. This is what Oliver, our System Designer, came up with.

The Next Step? Transferring the Lettuce into the new Stage Two Full Grow Out Vertical Duffy Duct™ System.

Here’s Grace moving a tray of Butter Lettuce that has been growing in the Growroom under LED’s. The seeds were planted into Seedling Trays on Nov. 21st. Then the Seedlings were moved into the Growroom’s First Stage of Grow Out on Dec. 23rd. On the 25th of Jan., this photo was taken as this Butter Lettuce went into the Greenhouse.

We left these plants in Stage One Grow Out longer than we normally would have because we were building the new Stage Two Grow Out Duct System in the Greenhouse.

The New 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ Stage Two Full Grow Out System Planted!

This Lettuce Wall contains three different kinds of lettuce including Butter, Red Oak Leaf and Romaine. In about two weeks, it will be ready to harvest. As for the tomato plants, they just won’t quit putting out tomatoes.
We’ve come a long way since we built this Greenhouse in late 2008; and we’ve learned a lot. As we said earlier, we’re innovators and this is truly a state of the art innovation in Aquaponic Vertical Growing.
Thanks for reading our first Newsletter for 2015. If you’re a Pinterest Fan, you can find several of these photos on ourAquaponics World Pinterest Wall. So have fun sharing them. And if you’re just discovering our Newsletters, you can get Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters by clicking over to our December 2014 Newsletter.
And don’t forget to Forward this Newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family who care about our Food System and how we’re growing our food.
We trust your New Year is getting off to a great start!

 

Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World
Get your 10% Discount on any of our Food Forever™
Growing Systems from Aquaponics USA!
This Offer is good until March 1st, 2015

Obesity In America (Reprinted from our December 2014 Newsletter)


 

Aquaponics USA/World December 2014 Newsletter
#12
Table of Contents
Links to all 12 of the 2014 Newsletters
One out of Every Five are Dying!
What’s causing Obesity?
Where is Sugar hiding?
The Alarm was rung 30 years ago.
Big Corporations are pushing Sugar
What’s coming in 2015, Parts 2 & 3

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
It’s been a real education for me to write these Newsletters especially as I ventured out into what’s happening to our Food System and started doing Newsletter Series on important topics like the Food Revolution, theOrganic Industry in the U.S. and Obesity in America. I only hope you’ve also found them educational. If you missed one, they are all Linked up here. As we move into 2015, we plan to look even deeper into the most important topic on our planet–our FOOD! Thank You for being our audience. Without YOU, there’s no one to write for.
Quick Links: 
Obesity in America! Part 1

 

Dear Subscriber:

We purposely chose to use cartoon images to illustrate this subject not because we believe it’s a joke; but because the seriousness of it needed to be toned down so the information could be digested and not rejected. Pictures of actual people (our loved ones) would be too real and too heart-breaking to look at.
 
This year’s end, Part 1 of a Series entitled “Obesity In America”, is an exploration into the number one health challenge facing our nation and the world today-Obesity.
And one of the most horrifying statistics is this:
the U.S. is at the top of the List of the 10 Most Obese Countries in the World. We usually take great pride in being at the top of Worldwide Lists; but toping this particular List is an embarrassing and heart-breaking travesty. Here’s that infamous line up:

Top 10 Most Obese Countries:

1. United States
2. China
3. India
4. Russia
5. Brazil
6. Mexico
7. Egypt
8. Germany
9. Pakistan
10. Indonesia

This Series is an exploration into how and why this has happened to the once strong, fit and hard working people of the U.S. and what we can do about it.
In the cartoon depiction above, the little man holding onto his side of the bench for dear life wears a country tag around his neck that says “Nepal”, which is a country that has one of the lowest numbers of obese people in the world. When you compare the GDP of the U.S. to that of Nepal, the obvious conclusion is that Nepal is a very poor country and the U.S. is a very rich one, which is part of the cause of this disparity between obese people and thinner people. But the question we need to ask ourselves is this: “Just because we’re one of the world’s richest countries (China’s GDP just surpassed the U.S.), does that mean we have to be the world’s most obese people?” The Pictograph below from the above article by U.S. News & World Report published in late May of 2014 tells us just how bad it’s gotten in the U.S. since 2010.
Over one fourth of our children, over one third of our women and almost one third of our men are now considered to be Obese. This is devastating!
And, as you can see from the infamous List, we’re not alone. As China, the #2 Country on the List, gets richer and spawns a true middle class, they’re waistlines expand right along with ours. Obesity appears to be the scourge of developed nations in the 21st Century.
According to an article published in Fortune in late November of 2014 entitled “Fat – the $2 trillion burden on the world’s economy”, “taking together the costs of healthcare, of lost productivity and other spending needed to mitigate its impact, consulting firm McKinsey reckons the annual cost of obesity fat now tops $2 trillion, or 2.8% of global economic output. That compares with an estimate of $2.1 trillion for war and terrorism, and for smoking, and is way ahead of alcoholism ($1.4 trillion), illiteracy ($1.3 trillion) and even climate change ($1.0 trillion). Twice as many people worldwide live in countries where more die from being too fat than from being undernourished. The most frequent causes of death include heart disease and type-2 diabetes. McKinsey estimates that almost half the world’s adult population could be obese or overweight by 2030 if current trends continue.”

We digress and ask this: What Did You Miss in 2014?

Before we get our teeth deeper into the Obesity Subject, we want to make sure you didn’t miss any of the other 11 Newsletters we published this year. So here is a convenient List with Links to every one of them. Pay particular Attention to the 4 Part Series “FOOD REVOLUTION” and the 3 Part Series “Organic Industry In the U.S.”:
January Newsletter: http://conta.cc/K08S4i
February Newsletter: http://conta.cc/NydSzm
March Newsletter: http://conta.cc/1gYWudR
April Newsletter: http://conta.cc/1ilECdW
(This is Part 1 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
May Newsletter: http://conta.cc/1gnZDdL
(This is Part 2 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
June Newsletter: http://conta.cc/1ln5vj6
(This is Part 3 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
 July Newsletter:  http://conta.cc/1AvI16S
(This is Part 4 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
August Newsletter: http://conta.cc/1vXqDnQ
September Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/on2fr38
(This is Part 1 in a 3 Part “Organic Industry in US” Series)
October Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/p6tsbu5
(This is Part 2 in a 3 Part Organic Industry in US Series)
November Newsletter: http://conta.cc/14UsFgR
(This is Part 3 in a 3 Part “Organic Industry in US” Series)
Now back to our main subject, Obesity in America.

Nearly 1 of 5 Deaths in the U.S. is Associated 
with Obesity!

We are losing our friends and family members to a silent epidemic that is killing us by the thousands. A new report reveals staggering statistics about the extent to which the obesity epidemic is robbing Americans of their health and longevity. Columbia University and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined the real impact of obesity on death rates.The study found that nearly one in five US deaths is associated with obesity, which is more than three times higher than previous estimates.

 

The effect varies somewhat by your gender, race and age. The younger you are, the greater obesity’s influence on your mortality. And contrary to a previous study, obesity is not protective if you’re elderly. The Columbia study found the following percentage of deaths associated with high BMI (body mass index) of 25 or above (overweight or obesity):

  • Black women: 26.8 percent
  • White women: 21.7 percent
  • White men: 15.6 percent
  • Black men: 5 percent [we believe due to a smaller number of black men compared to black women, white women and white men. There are approximately 3 black women to every 1 black man]

The authors wrote:

“We believe that it is imperative for the US public and those who construct policy for that public to recognize that population health and more than a century of steady gains in life expectancy are being jeopardized by the obesity epidemic. Indeed, evidence has already implicated high rates of obesity as a significant contributor to the United States relatively low life expectancy among high-income countries.”


What’s causing Obesity?

Everyone knows one of the main culprits behind our obesity epidemic is too much Sugar. When it comes to Sugar, we are all Addicts. And, our sugar addiction is getting stronger by the year as that’s the very nature of addiction-addicts crave more and more of the addictive substance. 

 
Here are more startling facts and images about our sugar consumption from “Nursing Your Sweet Tooth” an info-graphic created by Online Nursing Programs. You can see this info-graphic in its entirety in the Forbes article entitled “How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating?”, which was published in late August of 2012. Our images are original art using the Online Nursing Program statistics, which cover 2012. We added some numbers to bring you up to date in 2014, and it isn’t pretty.

 
This is unbelievable. It’s even more shocking when you see how our sugar consumption has risen over the years. It has gone from 20 Lbs. each annually in 1820 to 150-170 Lbs. each annually in 2014. Taking the middle 2014 number of 160 Lbs. means that we’ve each increased our annual sugar consumption by 140 Lbs.
If you’d like to share these jaw dropping statistics with friends and relatives, go to our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall where they’ve been posted for sharing.
When we talk about sugar in this Part 1 of the Series, we are using it as “the generalized name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. They are carbohydrates, composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose.” (Quote taken from Wikipedia’s Sugar Page) We’ll get into defining the various sources of sugar in Parts 2 & 3.

Where is SUGAR hiding in our food environment?

The answer to this question is EVERY WHERE! But here are some specifics regarding the percent of sugar intake for each sugary category whether it be sugar in the form of glucose, fructose or galactose.
1. Soft drinks account for 33%
2. Candy accounts for 16.1%
3. Cakes, Cookies, Pies account for 12.9%
3. Fruit Drinks account for 9.7%
4. Dairy desserts and Milk account for 8.6%
5. Other Grains account for 5.8%
(Statistics taken from Forbes article entitled “How Much Sugar Are American Eating”, which was published in late August of 2012)

Are we all suffering from Sugar Blues?

One of the first alarm bells that was rung about this national addiction was the book by William Dufty called “Sugar Blues”. That book was written in 1986, which was almost 30 years ago. “Sugar Blues” caused quite a stir in its day; but it wasn’t enough to change our behavior or cure our national addiction.
Several authors continue to write these tell-all books about the harmful effects of sugar on the human body-effects so harmful it’s as if we’re all committing Sugar Suicide. This one was published as recently as 2013. Go ahead and click over to Amazon and dare to look inside these books. Still the national addiction rages on. Why?

Big Corporations pushing (quite literally) their drug of choice while even using “druggie” terminology.

We’re all still addicted to sugar because some of the world’s largest corporations are producing these sugary sins and brain washing us from childhood to want them. This is not an excuse for not taking our sugar addiction into our own hands, but it is an explanation as to why it’s so hard to break this very profitable habit. This billboard is advertising “Diet” Coke; but “Diet” Coke is actually worse than “Classic” Coke because it replaces sugar with one of the world’s worst additives, aspertame (that’s a topic for another Part of this Newsletter Series on Obesity in America). Look for it in 2015.
This billborad is equating Coke with “happiness”. Professional Advertisers have gone to school to learn how to motivate the consumer. They equate sugar with fun, joy, happiness, energy, taste and success just to name a few of their favorite buzz words and images. This billboard is saying that Coke tastes “Delicious” and costs only cents all in one word. Of course, the Coca Cola corporation is just one of the many large corporate sugar pushers in our food environment.

How is Fast Food contributing to Obesity in America?

A discussion of Obesity in America wouldn’t be complete without talking about our Fast Food Culture; but not this month. We’re saving that topic for Part 2 of Obesity in America coming in January.
And then there’s the other big contributor to our Obesity problem, high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the forms of sugar that is so deadly. That one also brings in the controversial subject of GMO’s in our diet and how they may be contributing to Obesity.
See You Next Year for Parts 2 & 3 of this Series on Obesity in America.
Thank You for joining our Subscribers List and following the first year of our Monthly Newsletters. We did it! We hope you’ve learned more about Aquaponics, our two companies and our Food System. You’ve probably discovered by now that we’re on a mission to improve that system with Aquaponics.
Have a joyful and healthy Holiday Season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the staff at Aquaponics USA & Aquaponics World.
P.S: Remember to Forward this email to friends and family who are ready to learn and change the way we grow our food and who are ready to take more responsibility for what they are putting into their bodies.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/Aquaponics World
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USDA Organic MEXICO???


AQUAPONICS USA/WORLD

NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER

#11
Table of Contents
What is the connection between Organic Food and Immigration
This isn’t a hit piece!
Jacobs Farm, Del Cabo has an answer to our immigration problem
Meet Larry Jacobs
Eat more Organic Food
Sue’s Health Foods Store has our Culinary Basil
Watch “The Need To Grow Trailer”
Coming in December, “The U.S. Obesity Crisis!”

Our Editor, Grace Sylke
Once again we’re getting this Newsletter out in the last half of the month; but we believe you’ll find the timing to be quite perfect. Thank You for being one of our readers.
Quick Links:
Secondary Title:
How to Solve our Immigration Issues?
Actual Title:
USDA Organic, MEXICO???
The Organic Industry in the U.S. (Uh, not really) Part 3
 
To view the other two Newsletters in this Series go to:
 
Newsletter #9:
 
Newsletter #10: What is USDA Organic? The Organic Industry in the U.S. Part 2
 
Dear Subscriber:
The timing couldn’t have worked out better if we’d planned it as this third Part of our 3-Part Series on the USDA Organic Industry is all about USDA Certified Organic food from Mexico. Why is the timing auspicious? Because today, November 20, 2014, a date that will go down in the history books, our President will be announcing his sweeping reform of our U.S. Immigration Laws by Executive Order (Uh, No, Not quite. It’s a MEMO instead. Did they say, Memo?). Whatever form it takes, many of the people who will be affected are at the time of this writing, 3PM Pacific Standard Time, illegal immigrants from Mexico sanz Memo.
We are not choosing sides about this hot debate in this Newsletter and gladly remain neutral about this controversial decision by our left leaning President that many believe will ignite a political firestorm coming from the right. What’s important from our perspective is the fact that contrary to the beliefs of many Americans, Mexico is a top exporter to the U.S. of USDA Certified Organic produce and meats. Who would have thought that to be the case? It’s certainly news to us. And the Link up between USDA Organic food from Mexico and immigration is profound and will be explained below. Just keep reading.
Like most of us, we knew a lot of vegetables were coming from Mexico (we weren’t so up on the meat part); but what we didn’t know is that it was adorned by the coveted USDA Certified Label, which as we explained in Part 2 of this Series is a worldwide Label.

Mexico has recently been ranked the #6 most Obese Country out of the top 10. Guess which country is #1. Watch for our December Newsletter about “Obesity in America”. 

According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural ServiceGAIN Report written in early 2011, “Mexico is now considered the second [that was in 2011] more obese country in the world and the Mexican government has

made it a priority to reverse this through education campaigns and new food nutrition laws targeting school children.” (Quote taken from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report dated on the last day of 2011)

But things have changed since early 2011 and now according to an article in the Health Section of US News and World Report, Mexico has dropped down to number 6 on the Top Ten List under Brazil, Russia, India, China and the U.S. So the local population is starting to eat healthier; and it looks like the government’s campaign is working. Still 80% of the USDA Certified Organic Food grown is Mexico is grown for export and most of it is coming to the U.S.

Actually, a look at the big cross trading picture is quite interesting because “since NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was implemented in 1994, total

U.S. exports to Mexico have increased 375 percent, while Mexican exports to the United States have grown 559 percent.” WOW! (Quote taken from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report, dated the last day of 2013)

 

Pictured below is a small family organic farm in Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s one of many of these small to medium sized family farms that have made Mexico “a top 20 producer of organic foods worldwide”. (Quote taken from the 2011 Gain Report) “Mexico is estimated to have more than 110,000 organic farmers, considered the greatest number in any country of the world. More than 90 percent farm on less than 9 acres and sell their products collectively. On the other end of the spectrum are large, private producers who farm 250 to 5,000 acres.” (Quote taken from PCC Natural Markets article entitled “Questions about Mexican organics?”dated January 2011)

“Mexico is the main producer and largest exporter of organic coffee and the third largest producer of organic honey. Other organic crops grown in Mexico include corn, cacao, avocados, sesame seeds, cactus paddles, vanilla beans, milk, and dairy products. Over the last decade, several efforts had been made by the Mexican government and private sector to promote organic farming. Dozens of outdoor markets (tianguis) and farmer’s markets for organic products have been set up in different regions of Mexico including Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Chiapas where more than 500 small producers gather to sell their products. Market analysts expect this trend to continue growing in the future. Even though organic production represents less that 1% of all agricultural production on surface planted in Mexico, it generates around 10% of the gross domestic product in the agricultural sector with revenues of approximately 300 million USD a year.” (Quote taken from the 2011 Gain Report).

U.S. APHIS Inspectors inspecting broccoli

What’s important to understand is this isn’t a hit piece. It’s a validation of the fact that USDA Certified Organic food from Mexico is subject to the same regulations to which the USDA Certified Organic food from the U.S. is subject. It’s also subject to the same challenges and problems.”For a food to be sold as certified organic in the United States – whether grown in the United States, in Mexico, or anywhere else in the world – it must meet all the requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program. It must be produced without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or irradiation.

 

“Perhaps most important, it must be certified by a USDA-accredited agency. Certification includes inspection of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping of what inputs were applied to the land, and, if there’s cause for concern, soil and water testing. Currently, at least 15 organic certification agencies operate in Mexico.” That’s the good news.

(Quote taken from PCC Natural Markets article entitled “Questions about Mexican organics?” dated January 2011)

 

The bad news; and there is some. All of the USDA Certified Food from Mexico is subject to inspection. Having the USDA Organic label doesn’t magically get organic operator produce across the U.S. border because other agencies have to be satisfied; and as we described in Part 2 of this series sometimes “Treatments” are required. Treatments are actions that can be ordered by the regulating agency called APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). APHIS can order that the shipment be Fumigated, Cold Treated, Hot Treated, Irradiated or even Destroyed. Sometimes, if the producer is under a NARP Agreement (North American Research Partnership), these “treatments” happen before the shipment leaves the foreign country from which it is being shipped and paperwork attesting to that fact is presented. If you want to learn more about these “Treatments”, go to Part 2. Apparently, the USDA Certified Organic vegetables from Mexico have a special NARP Agreement in place so the Organic vegetables do not have to be “irradiated”, which would violate the definition of “organic” according to USDA Certification requirements.
Given all the regulations, it’s quite amazing that producers from Mexico actually have been able to jump through all the hoops to import their produce into the U.S. “As demand for organic food in the United States expands, Mexico’s certified organic acreage has been growing at a rate of 32 percent per year. A 2009 study found an annual organic production value of more than $370 million with 80 percent destined for export.”(Quote taken from PCC Natural Markets article entitled “Questions about Mexican organics?” published in early 2011)
Mexico’s advantage is, of course, their tropical weather, which allows fruits and vegetables to be grown year round there.

Jacobs Farm, Del Cabo

This is a story of just one successful producer of organic produce from Mexico, Jacobs Farm, Del Cabo. It’s a 400 plus member strong Organic Farming Cooperative. “Del Cabo’s claim to fame is its flavorful cherry tomatoes and basil, both featured at PCC. All the farms are certified organic by Oregon Tilth [an accredited USDA Certifying Agency] and tested for food safety byPrimus [Labs]”, a California food safety company. PCC Natural Markets are the (Whole Foods equivalent) for Seattle, Washington. (Quote taken from PCC Natural Marketsarticle entitled “Questions about Mexican organics?” published in early 2011)
The average Del Cabo farmer makes around $30,000 per year and has a health insurance policy through the company for themselves and their family although we can’t say how or if Obamacare has affected that particular perk.
Here’s how this all links us to what’s happening today, Thursday, November 20, 2014, when the President announces his sweeping Immigration reforms via Executive Order turned “Memo” in the final hours. “By importing food from Mexican growers who receive a living wage, such as those who sell products recognized as “fair trade,” we’re empowering farmers to remain in their own communities rather than leave home seeking employment. In the United States, at every link in the agricultural chain – from farm to processor to restaurant backend – labor often comes from Mexico. The USDA reports that more than half the hired workers employed by U.S. produce growers are believed to be unauthorized immigrants.
 
Del Cabo offers its members economic sustenance at home.
 

This is a picture of the Espinoza family that has been members of Del Cabo for three generations.
The increase in certified organic acreage in Mexico also means a safer environment free of persistent, toxic chemicals for workers, families and children living nearby, as well as a roster of organic seeds relevant to their climate.” (Quote taken from PCC Natural Markets article entitled “Questions about Mexican organics?” published in early 2011)  This is more of the good news resulting from our importing USDA Organic food from Mexico. We get more organics and Mexican families thrive at home.

Meet Larry Jacobs 

 
Larry Jocobs was born in Los Angeles County and owned and managed a tree nursery when he got very sick from using traditional pesticides. That incident was the birth of Jacobs Farm, which is now the largest organic culinary herb producer in the United States. Larry and his wife, Sandra Belin, “went on to found theDel Cabo Cooperative in Mexico, which continues to assist indigenous farmers in growing and selling their produce at a price that creates a sustainable livelihood for their families.” (Quote taken from “Deep Roots On-Line Magazine” article entitled “Farming Change Agent Larry Jacobs Shares Vision on Sustainable and Organic Ag, Part 1, dated some time in 2013)
A huge Mexican farmers organic cooperative created by an American farmer and entrepreneur. What a perfect match. Larry has also started organic farmer cooperatives in other Latin countries like South America and Peru. Here’s the upside from Larry’s perspective:

“In Baja, California we have measured that since we started in 1985, and most families that previously earn between two and three thousand dollars a year, now earn in the high twenties.

 

The average is $30,000 a year and some families make much more than that. So it’s a tenfold increase in their income. Young men that were working in the U.S. illegally, are returning to their family farms, because they can make just as much money working with their fathers and the rest of their families in their communities. And they could work here [at home] without ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] documentation.” (Quote taken from “Deep Roots On-Line Magazine” article entitled “Farming Change Agent Larry Jacobs Shares Vision on Sustainable and Organic Ag, Part 1, dated some time in 2013)

Our conclusion? We just eat more  Organic Food and help solve our Immigration issues!
Here’s a photo of our aquaponically grown Red and Green Oak Leaf Lettuce, which is the most organic lettuce you can get.
It doesn’t even have to be Organic Food imported from Mexico, South America or Peru because the more we eat organics, the more we’ll need; and it will automatically increase the imports from those countries. WA LA! Side Note: We understand it really isn’t that simple; but we truly believe this is a direction that could offer some relief for our broken Immigration system.

This Day is full of Synchronicity!

Why? Because I’m about to go out into this Growroom and harvest some of our Culinary Basil to package it up and take over to Sue’s Health Foods, our local Yucca Valley Health Food Store. Where’s the synchronicity you ask?
Today, I just discovered Larry Jacobs (above) who happens to be the largest culinary herb producer in the U.S. We’re thinking we could learn a thing or two from Larry.
At any rate, because we’re in a very challenging environment, we’re growing our zerO brand Culinary Basil inside an aquaponics growroom where we can control our temperature and keep everything a balmy 75 degrees just like Mexico. We’re able to grow several different kinds of Culinary Basil including Sweet Basil, which is in the large center container and the container on the right; and we’re also growing Greek Basil, which is in the container on the left. Today, we’re delivering Sweet Basil so if you live in the High Desert near Yucca Valley, head on over to Sue’s to get yours and help us give Larry a little competition.

We finally made it into the Trailer! But don’t blink or you’ll miss us.

Go check out the Trailer for this great documentary that’s still in production. We’re in it! You’ll see our Tomatoes growing inside our Greenhouse and the outside of our Greenhouse early in the Trailer. Later in the Trailer, there’s a quick shot of Grace in our Growroom that we just showed you growing Basil. Grace was thrilled when she realized she came right after one of her heroes, the GMO Activist, Jeffrey Smith.

Coming in December. The U.S. Obesity Crisis! Just in time for Christmas. Don’t miss it. 

This crisis is a national disaster putting us at the top of the most obese country’s top 10 List. It’s killing thousands of us and getting worse; and it’s happening right along side the healthy food movement. What’s powering it? How can it be stopped? These are some of the issues we’ll be looking at in December.
Thank you for your loyal support of this Newsletter. We can’t believe we only have one more Newsletter to go to complete our first year of continuous Monthly Newsletters. It’s been touch and go a few times, but we’ve done it; and we couldn’t have (wouldn’t have) done it without YOU, our incredible Subscribers.THANK YOU and have a healthy, happy, organic Thanksgiving Celebration with your friends and family.
(And don’t forget to forward this email to those friends and family members who are interested in our food system)
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World
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Offer ends December 31st at Midnight! 
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What Is USDA Organic?


Aquaponics USA/World
October 2014 Newsletter
Number 10
Table of Contents 
The USDA Organic Label is Worldwide? 
What hoops (Treatments) do imported foods have to have?
Irradiated Food is . . . You decide.
What’s the National List?
Coming in November–Part 3

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
It’s always such a surprise when I get into a Series like this one because I learn as much as I share. We’re waking up together; and it’s so great to have you with us on this crazy ride through our food system.
Quick Links
The Organic Industry in the U.S (uh, not really)          Part 2
 
Dear Subscriber:

Some of the things we’ll be sharing in this Part 2 of our Report on the Organic Industry will surprise you. In some ways we’ll be sharing the dark side of the USDA Certified Label. In other ways, depending on how you view it, we’ll be sharing the bright side.
You’re invited to make up your own mind.

Did you know our USDA Organic Label is Worldwide?
 

Many, if not most of us Americans, naively believe that our USDA Organic Label is an exclusive U.S. only Certification. We have to admit, we we’re among them; but that is not so.
“The U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) streamlined the certification process for international as well as domestic trade when it was implemented in 2002. Organic farmers and handlers anywhere in the world are permitted to export organic products to the United States if they meet NOP standards, along with other regulatory standards, and are certified by a public or private organic certification body with USDA accreditation.
“In 2007, USDA-accredited groups certified 27,000 producers and handlers worldwide to the U.S. Organic Standard, with approximately 16,000 in the United States and 11,000 in over 100 foreign countries. Farmers and handlers certified to NOP standards are most numerous in Canada, Italy, Turkey, China and Mexico, which together accounted for half the total foreign organic farmers/handlers in 2007.” (Taken from the USDA “Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry” Report dated June 2009.)
For an updated and very extensive list of Certified USDA Organic operations worldwide go Here. Clicking through the first 20 of the 2,711 pages (with 10 on a page) is an eye-opening experience of realization that USDA Organic is, indeed, a worldwide designation; and most of these operations and handlers are importing their products to the U.S.
This list was updated in 2013 and surprisingly, there are still only a few more than 27,000 Certified Organic operations. We find this both puzzling and enlightening because it means that the proportions of operations and handlers reported in 2007 remain about the same, which is to say that 41% of the holders of USDA certification are from foreign countries. EGAD!
It seems we didn’t only export our manufacturing to foreign countries, we exported our USDA Organic Standards so foreign operators could import food into our agricultural sector and land it in what we established in Part 1 as the fastest growing food market, which is expected to increase by 14% annually. It’s looking like we need to place “Made in America” labels next to our USDA Labels these days.

(All quotes in this section taken from the USDA “Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry” Report dated June 2009.)

What happens to Foreign Imported Food before it’s allowed in the U.S.?

If we really wanted to tell this story in its entirety, it would take all of next years Newsletters in a Series. Don’t worry, we’re not going there. But we are going to give you a bird’s eye view of what Foreign Imported Food has to go through to gain entry and thank goodness these regulations are in place.
“Since fruits and vegetables are particularly susceptible to phytosanitary [meaning issues that have to do with plant disease and plant pests] problems, their imports are often subject to a large number of regulatory requirements.” Having the USDA Organic label doesn’t magically get organic operator produce across the U.S. border because other agencies have to be satisfied.
“For example, fruit and vegetable imports are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for pest risk, USDA’s Agricultural Market-ing Service regulates for quality standards and marketing claims and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates for adulteration with pesticides and human pathogens.” Then there’s the National Agricultural Release Program (NARP). It is “a special import program that mandates fewer physical inspections for shipments in pathways designated as low risk by APHIS.” Under the NARP Program, “APHIS allows agricultural inspections and treatments to occur at the country of disembarkation by creating producer-financed, pre-clearance programs.”
The interesting word here that covers an entire gamut of things that could happen to imported fruits and vegetables prior to entry is the word, “TREATMENTS”.
Treatments are actions that can be ordered by the regulating agency called APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). APHIS can order that the shipment be Fumigated, Cold Treated, Hot Treated, Irradiated or even Destroyed. Sometimes, if the producer is under NARP, these “treatments” happen before the shipment leaves the foreign country from which it is being shipped and paperwork attesting to that fact is presented.
So what is Fumigation? “Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides-or fumigants-to suffocate or poison the pests within. [Did we say pesticides or fumigants?] It is used to control pests in buildings (structural fumigation), soil, grain, and produce, and is also used during processing of goods to be imported or exported to prevent transfer of exotic organisms.” Does that mean that the USDA Organic avocados from Mexico have been fumigated? If a questionable pest has been identified on the plant, it appears that might have happened. Who knows? I’m not aware of ever seeing a label that says, “This fruit/vegetable was Fumigated before it entered the U.S.”
What is Cold Treatment? Cold Treatment is the storage of the fruit or plant in an approved cold storage facility with minimum degrees and numbers of days in cold storage depending on the fruit or vegetable being treated. For example, oranges from Costa Rica require 34 degrees for a minimum of 20 days before entry into the U.S. This treatment procedure is aimed at killing fruit flies. So if an imported USDA Organic crop is to undergo Cold Treatment on the U.S. side of the border, it gets to your local grocery store 20 days later than it would have without the treatment. That’s almost 3 weeks, which makes the “Locally Grown” Label we discussed in Part 1 look even better.
What is Hot Treatment?”Hot water dips or heated air can be used for direct control of postharvest insects. In mangoes, an effective treatment is 46.4 C for 65 to 90 minutes, depending on size (Sommer & Arpaia in Kader, 1992). Fruit should not be handled immediately after heat treatment. Whenever heat is used with fresh produce, cool water showers or forced cold air should be provided to help return the fruits to their optimum temperature as soon as possible after completion of the treatment.”(Taken from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Corporate Document Repository)

What is Irradiation? We’ve discussed Irradiation before in our April/FOOD REVOLUTION Part 1  Newsletter. But it’s so important, we need to discuss it again below:

Aren’t we all eager to eat the food that has passed through the RAD SOURCE? 


 

“Food irradiation is the process of exposing foodstuffs to a source of energy capable of stripping electrons from individual atoms in the targeted material (ionizing radiation).”

“The radiation can be emitted by a radioactive substance or generated electrically.” (Definition from Wikipedia)

“This treatment is used to preserve food, reduce the risk of food borne illness, prevent the spread of invasive pests, delay or eliminate sprouting or ripening, increase juice yield and improve re-hydration. It is permitted by over 50 countries, with 500,000 metric tons of foodstuffs annually processed worldwide.” (Definition from Wikipedia)

“Two things are needed for the irradiation process:

  1. a source of radiant energy, and
  2. a way to confine that energy.

For food irradiation, the sources are radioisotopes (radioactive materials) and machines that produce high-energy beams. Specially constructed containers or compartments are used to confine the beams so personnel won’t be exposed.” But it’s fine to eat what went through this machine???

“Since 1986, all irradiated products must carry the international symbol called a radura, which resembles a stylized flower.”


Now that’s interesting because we’re NOT aware of having seen a Radura anywhere or perhaps we have seen them and simply regarded them as a benign new label in the sea of labels. Accompanying the radura are supposed to be these words:

“Treated with irradiation or Treated by irradiation”

“FDA requires that both the logo and statement appear on packaged foods, bulk containers of unpackaged foods, on placards at the point of purchase (for fresh produce), and on invoices for irradiated ingredients and products sold to food processors.” Really?

“Irradiation cannot be used with all foods. It causes undesirable flavor changes in dairy products, for example, and it causes tissue softening in some fruits, such as peaches and nectarines.” Yeah, peaches and nectarines are safe from irradiation! (All quotes in this section taken from a pro irradiation Food Safety Report by Iowa State Extension)

If 500,000 metric tons of irradiated food are in the market worldwide, it seems we’d all be well informed about how to avoid this particular food “treatment” menace by looking for the ubiquitous label. At least irradiated food products are supposed to be labeled unlike the non-labeled GMO’s.

We’re staging a Radura Watch on our Aquaponics USA Facebook page in November. Please join us, photograph your hits and post them on our/your page.

“A major concern is that irradiation might cause chemical changes that are harmful to the consumer. In particular the argument is that there is a lack of long-term studies, and therefore the safety of irradiated food is not scientifically proven in spite of the fact that hundreds of animal feeding studies of irradiated food, including multigenerational studies, have been performed since 1950.” (Quote taken from Wikipedia)

Animal studies aren’t human studies unless one sees us as cattle.
Follow Food Irradiation Watch for continuing information about this kind of treatment of imported food in the U.S.

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Here’s the part where our minds are about to be blown, including your’s truly because we’re about to go
LOOK at the NATIONAL LIST! We’ve talked about the National List. We’ve Linked to the National List; but we haven’t actually examined the National List.
Today is that day.
What is the National List? It’s the List of ALL the allowed and prohibited substances, methods and ingredients in Certified USDA Organic products. Below is the List of the ALLOWED items:
Read it and WEEP!
§205.601  Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.

(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.

(1) Alcohols.

(i) Ethanol.

(ii) Isopropanol

(2) Chlorine materials-For pre-harvest use, residual chlorine levels in the water in direct crop contact or as water from cleaning irrigation systems applied to soil must not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, except that chlorine products may be used in edible sprout production according to EPA label directions.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

(3) Copper sulfate-for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(4) Hydrogen peroxide.

(5) Ozone gas-for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.

(6) Peracetic acid-for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(a) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.

(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #-15630-89-4)-Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.

(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.

(1) Herbicides, soap-based-for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.

(2) Mulches.

(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).

(c) As compost feedstocks-Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(d) As animal repellents-Soaps, ammonium-for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.

(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).

(1) Ammonium carbonate-for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.

(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)-the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(3) Boric acid-structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.

(4) Copper sulfate-for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(5) Elemental sulfur.

(6) Lime sulfur-including calcium polysulfide.

(7) Oils, horticultural-narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Soaps, insecticidal.

(9) Sticky traps/barriers.

(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s-42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)-in accordance with approved labeling.

(f) As insect management. Pheromones.

(g) As rodenticides. Vitamin D3.

(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045-86-0).

(i) As plant disease control.

(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)-the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(2) Coppers, fixed-copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.

(3) Copper sulfate-Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.

(4) Hydrated lime.

(5) Hydrogen peroxide.

(6) Lime sulfur.

(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Peracetic acid-for use to control fire blight bacteria. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(i) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(9) Potassium bicarbonate.

(10) Elemental sulfur.

(11) Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014.

(12) Tetracycline, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014.

(j) As plant or soil amendments.

(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)-Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.

(2) Elemental sulfur.

(3) Humic acids-naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.

(4) Lignin sulfonate-chelating agent, dust suppressant.

(5) Magnesium sulfate-allowed with a documented soil deficiency.

(6) Micronutrients-not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.

(i) Soluble boron products.

(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.

(7) Liquid fish products-can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.

(8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.

(9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782-99-2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.

(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas-for regulation of pineapple flowering.

(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling.

(1) Lignin sulfonate.

(2) Sodium silicate-for tree fruit and fiber processing.

(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

(1) EPA List 4-Inerts of Minimal Concern.

(2) EPA List 3-Inerts of unknown toxicity-for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647-01-0)-for delinting cotton seed for planting.

(o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #’s 64742-42-3, 8009-03-08, and 8002-74-2)-for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colors.

§205.603   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production.

In accordance with restrictions specified in this section the following synthetic substances may be used in organic livestock production:

(a) As disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical treatments as applicable.

(1) Alcohols.

(i) Ethanol-disinfectant and sanitizer only, prohibited as a feed additive.

(ii) Isopropanol-disinfectant only.

(2) Aspirin-approved for health care use to reduce inflammation.

(3) Atropine (CAS #-51-55-8)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and

(ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 56 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 12 days after administering to dairy animals.

(4) Biologics-Vaccines.

(5) Butorphanol (CAS #-42408-82-2)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and

(ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 42 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 8 days after administering to dairy animals.

(6) Chlorhexidine-Allowed for surgical procedures conducted by a veterinarian. Allowed for use as a teat dip when alternative germicidal agents and/or physical barriers have lost their effectiveness.

(7) Chlorine materials-disinfecting and sanitizing facilities and equipment. Residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

(8) Electrolytes-without antibiotics.

(9) Flunixin (CAS #-38677-85-9)-in accordance with approved labeling; except that for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires a withdrawal period of at least two-times that required by the FDA.

(10) Furosemide (CAS #-54-31-9)-in accordance with approved labeling; except that for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires a withdrawal period of at least two-times that required that required by the FDA.

(11) Glucose.

(12) Glycerine-Allowed as a livestock teat dip, must be produced through the hydrolysis of fats or oils.

(13) Hydrogen peroxide.

(14) Iodine.

(15) Magnesium hydroxide (CAS #-1309-42-8)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian.

(16) Magnesium sulfate.

(17) Oxytocin-use in postparturition therapeutic applications.

(18) Parasiticides-Prohibited in slaughter stock, allowed in emergency treatment for dairy and breeder stock when organic system plan-approved preventive management does not prevent infestation. Milk or milk products from a treated animal cannot be labeled as provided for in subpart D of this part for 90 days following treatment. In breeder stock, treatment cannot occur during the last third of gestation if the progeny will be sold as organic and must not be used during the lactation period for breeding stock.

(i) Fenbendazole (CAS #43210-67-9)-only for use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian.

(ii) Ivermectin (CAS #70288-86-7).

(iii) Moxidectin (CAS #113507-06-5)-for control of internal parasites only.

(19) Peroxyacetic/peracetic acid (CAS #-79-21-0)-for sanitizing facility and processing equipment.

(20) Phosphoric acid-allowed as an equipment cleaner, Provided, That, no direct contact with organically managed livestock or land occurs.

(21) Poloxalene (CAS #-9003-11-6)-for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires that poloxalene only be used for the emergency treatment of bloat.

(22) Tolazoline (CAS #-59-98-3)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;

(ii) Use only to reverse the effects of sedation and analgesia caused by Xylazine; and

(iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.

(23) Xylazine (CAS #-7361-61-7)-federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;

(ii) The existence of an emergency; and

(iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.

(b) As topical treatment, external parasiticide or local anesthetic as applicable.

(1) Copper sulfate.

(2) Formic acid (CAS # 64-18-6)-for use as a pesticide solely within honeybee hives.

(3) Iodine.

(4) Lidocaine-as a local anesthetic. Use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.

(5) Lime, hydrated-as an external pest control, not permitted to cauterize physical alterations or deodorize animal wastes.

(6) Mineral oil-for topical use and as a lubricant.

(7) Procaine-as a local anesthetic, use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.

(8) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s-42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)-in accordance with approved labeling.

(c) As feed supplements-None.

(d) As feed additives.

(1) DL-Methionine, DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog, and DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog calcium (CAS #’s 59-51-8, 583-91-5, 4857-44-7, and 922-50-9)-for use only in organic poultry production at the following maximum levels of synthetic methionine per ton of feed: Laying and broiler chickens-2 pounds; turkeys and all other poultry-3 pounds.

(2) Trace minerals, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.

(3) Vitamins, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.

(e) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

(1) EPA List 4-Inerts of Minimal Concern.

(2) [Reserved]

(f) Excipients, only for use in the manufacture of drugs used to treat organic livestock when the excipient is: Identified by the FDA as Generally Recognized As Safe; Approved by the FDA as a food additive; or Included in the FDA review and approval of a New Animal Drug Application or New Drug Application.

§205.605   Nonagricultural (nonorganic) substances allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).”

The following nonagricultural substances may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” only in accordance with any restrictions specified in this section.

(a) Nonsynthetics allowed:

Acids (Alginic; Citric-produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrate substances; and Lactic).

Agar-agar.

Animal enzymes-(Rennet-animals derived; Catalase-bovine liver; Animal lipase; Pancreatin; Pepsin; and Trypsin).

Attapulgite-as a processing aid in the handling of plant and animal oils.

Bentonite.

Calcium carbonate.

Calcium chloride.

Calcium sulfate-mined.

Carrageenan.

Dairy cultures.

Diatomaceous earth-food filtering aid only.

Egg white lysozyme (CAS # 9001-63-2)

Enzymes-must be derived from edible, nontoxic plants, nonpathogenic fungi, or nonpathogenic bacteria.

Flavors, nonsynthetic sources only and must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.

Gellan gum (CAS # 71010-52-1)-high-acyl form only.

Glucono delta-lactone-production by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited.

Kaolin.

L-Malic acid (CAS # 97-67-6).

Magnesium sulfate, nonsynthetic sources only.

Microorganisms-any food grade bacteria, fungi, and other microorganism.

Nitrogen-oil-free grades.

Oxygen-oil-free grades.

Perlite-for use only as a filter aid in food processing.

Potassium chloride.

Potassium iodide.

Sodium bicarbonate.

Sodium carbonate.

Tartaric acid-made from grape wine.

Waxes-nonsynthetic (Carnauba wax; and Wood resin).

Yeast-When used as food or a fermentation agent in products labeled as “organic,” yeast must be organic if its end use is for human consumption; nonorganic yeast may be used when organic yeast is not commercially available. Growth on petrochemical substrate and sulfite waste liquor is prohibited. For smoked yeast, nonsynthetic smoke flavoring process must be documented.

(b) Synthetics allowed:

Acidified sodium chlorite-Secondary direct antimicrobial food treatment and indirect food contact surface sanitizing. Acidified with citric acid only.

Activated charcoal (CAS #s 7440-44-0; 64365-11-3)-only from vegetative sources; for use only as a filtering aid.

Alginates.

Ammonium bicarbonate-for use only as a leavening agent.

Ammonium carbonate-for use only as a leavening agent.

Ascorbic acid.

Calcium citrate.

Calcium hydroxide.

Calcium phosphates (monobasic, dibasic, and tribasic).

Carbon dioxide.

Cellulose-for use in regenerative casings, as an anti-caking agent (non-chlorine bleached) and filtering aid.

Chlorine materials-disinfecting and sanitizing food contact surfaces, Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act (Calcium hypochlorite; Chlorine dioxide; and Sodium hypochlorite).

Cyclohexylamine (CAS # 108-91-8)-for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.

Diethylaminoethanol (CAS # 100-37-8)-for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.

Ethylene-allowed for postharvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus.

Ferrous sulfate-for iron enrichment or fortification of foods when required by regulation or recommended (independent organization).

Glycerides (mono and di)-for use only in drum drying of food.

Glycerin-produced by hydrolysis of fats and oils.

Hydrogen peroxide.

Magnesium carbonate-for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

Magnesium chloride-derived from sea water.

Magnesium stearate-for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

Nutrient vitamins and minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Quality Guidelines For Foods.

Octadecylamine (CAS # 124-30-1)-for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.

Ozone.

Peracetic acid/Peroxyacetic acid (CAS # 79-21-0)-for use in wash and/or rinse water according to FDA limitations. For use as a sanitizer on food contact surfaces.

Phosphoric acid-cleaning of food-contact surfaces and equipment only.

Potassium acid tartrate.

Potassium carbonate.

Potassium citrate.

Potassium hydroxide-prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches.

Potassium phosphate-for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specific ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

Silicon dioxide-Permitted as a defoamer. Allowed for other uses when organic rice hulls are not commercially available.

Sodium acid pyrophosphate (CAS # 7758-16-9)-for use only as a leavening agent.

Sodium citrate.

Sodium hydroxide-prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables.

Sodium phosphates-for use only in dairy foods.

Sulfur dioxide-for use only in wine labeled “made with organic grapes,” Provided, That, total sulfite concentration does not exceed 100 ppm.

Tetrasodium pyrophosphate (CAS # 7722-88-5)-for use only in meat analog products.

Tocopherols-derived from vegetable oil when rosemary extracts are not a suitable alternative.

Xanthan gum.

§205.606   Nonorganically produced agricultural products allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic.”

Only the following nonorganically produced agricultural products may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic,” only in accordance with any restrictions specified in this section, and only when the product is not commercially available in organic form.

(a) Casings, from processed intestines.

(b) Celery powder.

(c) Chia (Salvia hispanica L.).

(d) Colors derived from agricultural products-Must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.

(1) Beet juice extract color (pigment CAS #7659-95-2).

(2) Beta-carotene extract color-derived from carrots or algae (pigment CAS# 7235-40-7).

(3) Black currant juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(4) Black/Purple carrot juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(5) Blueberry juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(6) Carrot juice color (pigment CAS #1393-63-1).

(7) Cherry juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(8) Chokeberry-Aronia juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(9) Elderberry juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(10) Grape juice color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(11) Grape skin extract color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(12) Paprika color (CAS #68917-78-2)-dried, and oil extracted.

(13) Pumpkin juice color (pigment CAS #127-40-2).

(14) Purple potato juice (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(15) Red cabbage extract color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(16) Red radish extract color (pigment CAS #’s: 528-58-5, 528-53-0, 643-84-5, 134-01-0, 1429-30-7, and 134-04-3).

(17) Saffron extract color (pigment CAS #1393-63-1).

(18) Turmeric extract color (CAS #458-37-7).

(e) Dillweed oil (CAS # 8006-75-5).

(f) Fish oil (Fatty acid CAS #’s: 10417-94-4, and 25167-62-8)-stabilized with organic ingredients or only with ingredients on the National List, §§205.605 and 205.606.

(g) Fortified cooking wines.

(1) Marsala.

(2) Sherry.

(h) Fructooligosaccharides (CAS # 308066-66-2).

(i) Galangal, frozen.

(j) Gelatin (CAS # 9000-70-8).

(k) Gums-water extracted only (Arabic; Guar; Locust bean; and Carob bean).

(l) Hops (Humulus lupulus) until January 1, 2013.

(m) Inulin-oligofructose enriched (CAS # 9005-80-5).

(n) Kelp-for use only as a thickener and dietary supplement.

(o) Konjac flour (CAS # 37220-17-0).

(p) Lecithin-de-oiled.

(q) Lemongrass-frozen.

(r) Orange pulp, dried.

(s) Orange shellac-unbleached (CAS # 9000-59-3).

(t) Pectin (non-amidated forms only).

(u) Peppers (Chipotle chile).

(v) Seaweed, Pacific kombu.

(w) Starches.

(1) Cornstarch (native).

(2) Rice starch, unmodified (CAS # 977000-08-0)-for use in organic handling until June 21, 2009.

(3) Sweet potato starch-for bean thread production only.

(x) Tragacanth gum (CAS #-9000-65-1).

(y) Turkish bay leaves.

(z) Wakame seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida).

(aa) Whey protein concentrate.

To see the National List for yourself, just click the words. Don’t despair. Anyone can petition to amend the National List. If you’ve found a substance that is of particular concern, just follow the step by step process below and see where it gets you.
§205.607   Amending the National List.

(a) Any person may petition the National Organic Standard Board for the purpose of having a substance evaluated by the Board for recommendation to the Secretary for inclusion on or deletion from the National List in accordance with the Act.

(b) A person petitioning for amendment of the National List should request a copy of the petition procedures from the USDA at the address in §205.607(c).

(c) A petition to amend the National List must be submitted to: Program Manager, USDA/AMS/TMP/NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 4008-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250.

Is it any wonder, we’re saying that “Aquaganic™” fruits and vegetables have a real chance of being accepted by the “power shoppers” once they realize what the USDA Label really is and isn’t? This data was current up to September 17, 2014; but, unfortunately, because the NOSB (National Organic Standards Board) has been co-opted by Big Food, the result of which has been many substances added to this National List with more substances being added, more often, there have, most likely, been several new substances added since the current posted date of September 17th, 2014. The great fear is that GMO’s will be allowed; and that will kill the USDA Certified Organic Label completely.

Don’t miss: 
The Organic Industry in the U.S. Part 3
Coming in November: USDA Organic MEXICO
MEXICO imports USDA Organic produce to the U.S. What are the rules? What is the outcome? 

This is an amazing story. Be sure to read our November Newsletter.

What is The Dirty Dozen Plus?

In spite of all the negative press we’ve been giving USDA Organic Food, it’s still superior to pesticide laden and GMO Food. Here’s an eye opening List from the Environmental Working Group that shares some very disturbing news about some of our favorite fruits and vegetables when it comes to their pesticide residue contents.
The fruits and vegetables that retain the most pesticides are actually on a well-known List called “The Dirty Dozen”; and you’re not going to like what you see.
THE DIRTY DOZEN listed by most pesticide residues:
1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Nectarines (Imported)
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas (Imported)
12. Potatoes
It is highly recommended that you buy Organic or NCO (Non-Certified Organic) when it comes to these twelve fruits and vegetables. In terms of the image above, there are only three fruits and vegetables that are further down on the List. They are carrots at #22, Oranges at #31 and Bananas at #32 out of a total of 51 placements on the List.
To get more information about the dangers of eating pesticide laden food, go to the Environmental Working Group site.
Thank you for following our Second Series about The Organic Industry in the U.S. Please check back for Part 3 of this Series, USDA Organic MEXICO.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World

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It’s not a bug, it’s Basil specific Downy Mildew!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’ve got any Sweet Basil plants that look like this, you’re not dealing with a bug. You’re dealing with a new blight on basil called Downy Mildew. And, unfortunately, we’ve got it.

Downy Mildew isn’t knew in gardens; and it’s been affecting cucumbers, squash and other vegetables for years. That Downy Mildew puts a white powdery cover over the leaves of the infected plant.

This Downy Mildew is a mildew of another ilk. It doesn’t turn the Basil leaves white. It first turns them yellow, then brown and then they are dead; and, unfortunately, it’s a rather new scourge in the U.S. having shown up in Florida in 2007 for the first time. What’s its origin? Uganda, no less where it was first reported in 1933. So it looks like it took 81 years to become endemic around the world. The good news is it did take that long to become a worldwide problem.

“Basil growers may recall with frustration a similar situation years ago with another new disease: Fusarium wilt. In just a few years, as the cause of this wilt was being identified, the pathogen became endemic most likely as the result of marketing of contaminated seed. It also is possible that spread of the basil downy mildew pathogen occurred through marketing of infected, basil leaves that were asymptomatic during shipment. Basil in the US has become the leading culinary herb and is available year round.”(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

And it grows like weeds in aquaponics and hydroponics systems in both horizontal raft growing troughs and vertical growing systems, so identifying Downy Mildew early is important because it can take out an entire crop.

“Basil downy mildew is caused by the pathogen Peronospora belbahrii. This pathogen thrives in warm, humid conditions. It can move into the garden in infected seed or transplants or as airborne spores.”(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

“Plants infected with basil downy mildew first display yellowing of lower leaves. Upon close examination, gardeners will notice that the yellowing appears to occur in sections restricted by major veins. This causes a blocky or angular yellow sections on the leaf.

yellow leaf from downy mildew

If the lower surface of the leaf is examined, dark colored spores can be seen as a dirty looking fuzz that grows directly below the yellow sections of the leaf. A small magnifying glass may be useful in viewing these spores. As the disease progresses, infected sections of the leaf turn dark brown to black and leaves may fall off. “(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

basil leaf back with downy M spores

We just tore an entire Deep Media Bed out of our Greenhouse that had both Sweet Basil and Cinnamon Basil growing in them; and both plants were infected. Sweet Basil is much more susceptible to Downy Mildew but the Spice varieties will also get it.

“The first step in preparing for basil downy mildew is learning the symptoms. Observing spores on the underside of leaves is key to diagnosis.  There are other causes of leaf yellowing in basil. Spores are produced during the dark night period, therefore early morning is the best time to inspect basil for downy mildew. Leaves with yellowing resembling downy mildew but lacking spores can be placed upside down on wet paper towel in a closed plastic bag in dark for a day to encourage the pathogen if present to produce spores.”(Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

“Using seed not infested with the basil downy mildew pathogen, selecting a less susceptible variety, and applying fungicides are the primary management practices for downy mildew. Minimizing leaf wetness and reducing humidity to obtain conditions unfavorable for disease development may suppress downy mildew, especially in greenhouses.” (Quote taken from Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online at: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html)

Our mistake (again) was getting in a hurry to put seedlings into our Grow Beds and purchasing them from the Home Depot Garden Dept. instead of planting the seeds ourselves. One other time we did this, we ended up with a massive infestation of aphids in our Greenhouse. Hopefully, this time we learned our lesson.

Farmers need to regularly inspect their crops for signs of this scourge as once it’s gotten a foothold, it’s impossible to eradicate.

Thanks for following our Blog. We still consider ourselves gardening beginners around here and are sharing what we’re learning as we go. Sorry to have to share bad news about a relatively new plant disease like Basil Downy Mildew.

Sustainably,

Aquaponics USA/World Blog

The Organic Industry in the U.S.


Aquaponics USA/World
September 2014 Newsletter
Number 9
Table of Contents
How do we define Organic in the U.S.?
Not Long Ago, everyone ate Organic Food
The new “O” Marketplace
Meet SPINS and IRi
See the Trailer for “The Need To Grow”
See the Trailer for “Fed Up”

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’re not sure how many parts this Series is going to be as the Organic Food Industry is getting bigger everyday. We hope you find this topic to be as interesting as we’re finding it to be and thank you for following our Newsletters.
Quick Links:
Excerpts from a Report on: 
The Organic Industry in the U.S.
                              Part 1
To view a larger image of the headline image, just click
HERE. The above image was taken from a 2012 Press Release by the Organic Trade Association so the numbers are conservative compared to today.
Dear Subscriber:
We are writing an extensive Report on the Organic Industry in the U.S., which we will be offering free to our potential Aquaponics World Food Forever™ Farm clients and from which we are publishing excerpts in both our September and October Newsletters.
This is a very informative Report covering all aspects of the Organic Food Market in terms of it’s growth, regulations, imports and emerging issues facing the U.S. Organic Industry.
This is the 2nd Newsletter Series we’ve published, the first being a four-month Series on the FOOD REVOLUTION. If you wish to view that Series, go to our July Newsletter, which contains Links to this four-part Series that started in April.

How Do We Define Organic Food in the U.S?

The National U.S. Organic Program is overseen by a Board called the National Organic Standards Board. This Board’s integrity is coming into question these days due to the sad fact that it has been taken over by the Big Food Companies like Coca Cola who have clandestinely entered the fast growing Organic Market by buying up most of the original Mom and Pop family organic companies that appeared on the Organic scene prior to or at the turn of the century.
The FOOD REVOLUTION Series goes into this fact in depth if you wish to follow that thread.
But back to our subject. How does the U.S. define “Organic”?
“The following definition of ‘organic production’ was adopted into the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Regulation at 7 CFR 205:

Organic production. A production system that is managed in accordance with the Act and regulations in this part to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

‘Organic’ is a labeling term that refers to agricultural products produced in accordance with Organic Foods Production Act and the NOP Regulations. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole. Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water.

Organic food handlers, processors, and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.” (Taken from the Organic Trade Association website athttp://www.ota.com/definition/nosb.html)

The above aquaponically grown tomatoes don’t qualify as USDA Certified Organic even though they are about as “Organic” as you can get. Why are they disqualified?
It has to do with the last line of the definition of “Organic”–
“The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.” These tomatoes are not grown in SOIL!
They’re growing in an expanded clay media. That’s actually the good news because according to an article published in The Telegraph as far back as February of 2010, “An estimated 75 billion tons of soil is lost annually with more than 80% of the world’s farming land ‘moderately or severely eroded’.” So just since that article was published, our world has LOST 300 billion tons of soil.(Taken from an article published in  The Telegraph and put On-Line at:
Food grown in Aquaponics Systems is actually the most Organic Food you can eat as long as the Aquaponic farmer isn’t using GMO seeds because there’s no need for Pesticides or Petro-Chemicals to grow the plants. The fish fertilize them naturally while acting as the canary in the coal mine. They can’t handle toxins or additives other than chelated iron and potassium now and then.
Don’t tell the USDA! They might wake up and take a 2nd look at the enormous benefits of growing food in Aquaponics Systems, never mind the fact that Aquaponically grown food uses 90% less water! More on that in Part 3.

There was a time when everyone ate Organic Food because it was the only food grown.

It wasn’t that long ago when all the food everyone ate was “Organic”. It didn’t need a certification label because everyone knew it was nutritious, natural food with no
petro-chemicals, pesticides or GMO’s. It was just plain FOOD.
Of course the post World War II agricultural revolution put an end to that when the use of chemical pesticides became the norm and the behemoth Chemical Companies came on the food production scene.
Now, for those of us who wish to return to just plain, naturally grown food, an entire industry complete with Certification has blossomed; and inspite of the fact that this new industry is being co-opted by Big Food, USDA Certified Organic Food is still far superior to GMO, pesticide and chemical laden Food.
The following statistics demonstrate just how big this purer food movement has become. It’s also important you understand that this movement has also broadened to include food labeled “Natural”, “Locally Grown” and NCO (Non-Certified Organic) right alongside food labeled “USDA Organic”.
Our goal over here at Aquponics USA/World is to bring our in-house Certification Label, “Aquaganic”, that describes food grown in Aquaponics Systems as “Beyond Organic” right into the middle of this fast-growing market.

The new O Marketplace. How big is it?

For the purposes of this discussion, we’re calling this the newO Marketplace because it includes more than just USDA Certified Organic Food. It’s a growing Market with new designators coming into it. We believe that as the USDA Certified Organic Label gets more and more compromised as the “National List”, which is a list of allowed non-organic ingredients, grows along with consumer awareness, these other designators will come to the forefront.
The “NCO” Label stands for Non-Certified Organic; and anyone who shops at Farmer’s Markets are familiar with it. Small farmers marketing their products through Farmer’s Markets are using this label instead of trying to jump through all the hoops required by the USDA to get that certification; and there are a lot of them. “According to recent (not really as this Report came out in 2009) census of agriculture results, approximately 136,000 farmers reported selling agricultural products directly to consumers, while only about 20,000 farmers reported producing [USDA] Organic products.”(Quote taken from the USDA Report entitled “Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry”)
In the last five years, we know these numbers have increased considerably; but the number of farmers using the NCO designation is still much larger than the number of farmers using the USDA Certification; and due to the “Locally Grown” movement discussed below, their numbers are growing.
The “Locally Grown” designator is finding itself on lots of labels. It’s all about where the food is grown instead of how the food is grown; and there’s a huge movement to buy locally grown food, which is often equated with “the belief that local production is environmentally responsible, even though local labels are not typically associated with production standards.” (Quote taken from the USDA Report entitled“Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry”)
Then there’s the “Natural” designator; and even though there are no regulations that cover the “Natural” label, consumers gravitate to it in hopes that “Natural” food is more healthy and nutritious than food not labeled “Natural”. In fact, in 2009, during the economic downslide in the U.S., food labeled “Natural” outsold food labeled USDA Organic.

“‘Increasingly to consumers, the term natural means organic’, said A. Elizabeth Sloan, president of Sloan Trends, Inc., Escondido, Calif. ‘Partly as a result of this confusion’, she said, ‘the appeal of organic foods is no longer growing. If you look at what’s going on right now, natural foods are outselling organic four to one,’ she said. ‘When you ask people to define natural and define organic, you get exactly the same thing. In 2009, organic equals natural. That wasn’t the case in the past.'”(Quote taken from an article in Food Business News in March of 2009 entitled “A Natural Mess”.
And finally, the “Aquaganic™”designator. Right now there are no “Aquaganic™” products on the market; but it won’t be long before there are; and it looks like they’ll be debuting right in the middle of two of the biggest metropolises in the U.S., Los Angeles and Houston. More about that in a later Newsletter.
The “Aquaganic™” Certification is the answer to the USDA’s problem with SOILLESS food production. This produce will be touted as “Beyond Organic” because there is no National List (more on that nightmare in Part 2) and there are no Big Food companies co-opting Aquaponic farming YET. It’s the purest, healthiest food on the market; and it’s coming down the track like a bullet train to a market near you soon. Watch for it.
AUSA Aquaganic Label 4x5
Now that we’ve set the stage for the new O Market let’s talk about how big it really is! Hold on to your hats.
A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of a whopping 14% is expected for the U.S. Organic Food Market from 2013 through 2018 according to the new “United States Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2018″ Report; and it’s the Western States that are driving that growth, which is due to growing domestic production and increasing awareness. (Stats taken from the on-line website calledFood Navigator)

Meet SPINS and IRi and their
mind-blowing data about the new O Market Share
SPINS is a leading provider of retail consumer insights, analytics and consulting for the Natural, Organic and Specialty Products Industry.
IRI Market Measurement provides CPG (consumer packaged goods) and retail executives with the highest-quality and most comprehensive market tracking information and insights available via easy-to-use technology-enabled access and visualization tools.
Recently, these two companies teamed up to do a Report on the Natural/Organic Food Market; and here’s what they discovered.
The Natural/Organic Retail Sales reached $81.3 billion in 2012, which was up 13.5% from 2011 and which almost reached the 14% expected increase reported by the U.S. Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities Report quoted above. But there’s another important statistic to figure into these results, which boosts the potential for the Natural/Organic Food Market even more; and that is the following:
“There are two small ‘power shopper’ groups that together comprise only 18% of consumers; but they account for almost 50% of all sales of Natural/Organic products, which means that 82% of U.S. consumers haven’t reached their buying potential in the fast-growing CPG segment.” These so-called “power shoppers” have been dubbed the “true believers” and “enlightened environmentalists” and they make up 46% of all Natural/Organic product sales.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, produce and dairy are still the top two Organic Food categories accounting for 43 and 15 percent of total organic sales in 2012, which means that produce, which accounts for almost half of all organic sales at 43% is the number one category attracting the “power shoppers”; and it is produce that Aquaponics Food Forever™ Farms grow in “Aquaganic™ “abundance.

Don’t forget to check out the Trailer for 
The Need To Grow“. It’s on the Home Page (top).
 
It’s a new food documentary that actually shares the solutions instead of the problems connected to our corporate co-opted food system; and look for our smiling faces as we share what we’re doing in this regard at Aquaponics USA and Aquaponics World.

Here’s another food documentary in Pre-Order Production.

We’re not in this one; but it looks like it’s well worth watching. Check out the Trailer on YouTube below.
FED UP - Official Trailer
FED UP – Official Trailer

Coming in October!

Don’t miss this eye opening Report on how USDA Certified Organic Products come from foreign companies to stores near you wearing one of the world’s most coveted labels.
Have wonderful final days of Summer and thank you so much for following our Newsletters. We’ll officially be entering Fall on September 22nd.
And be sure to Forward this email to friends and family who are interested in how our Food System works by clicking on the Blue Forward Link below.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World
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August Newsletter: It’s All About Grow Lights!


August Newsletter: It’s All About the Grow Lights!

August Newsletter #7
Table of Contents
A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
It’s All About Grow Lighs
A Grow Light Showroom, I mean Growroom
Fluorescent T5’s
600 Watt Halide
Induction Lights
Older LED’s
New LED’s
“The Need To Grow”, a food documentary in production
Aquaponics USA/World TV
Rosamond High Gets A Food Forevr Growing System
The Aquaponics USA Teacher Training Manual
The Aquaponics USA Resources & Curriculum Ideas Manual

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’re once again getting this Newsletter out just prior to the end of the designated month; but the good news is we have a Monthly Newsletter that’s been well received and is growing in popularity thanks to everyone of YOU, our Subscribers.
We recently completed a four month Newsletter Series about the FOOD REVOLUTION from April-July, (if you haven’t seen that series, it’s quite a story; and all you need to do is click the above Link. Then read April-June before you read July as it’s a series.)
We are now back to sharing our experiences doing R&D in our Greenhouse and Growroom. This August Newsletter is all about the Grow Lights in our Growroom; and September is going to be about our Vertical Duffy Duct System in the Greenhouse.
It’s an ongoing adventure in R&D over here when you have an aerospace engineer designing the system. Speaking of R&D, you’re not going to believe what’s in the pipeline for our Indoor Food Forever™ Farms. It’s a game changer; but we won’t be sharing those plans for a while.
Suffice it to say, this new Aquaponics Technology has even caught us by surprise.
Quick Links:
What’s been happening at Aquaponics USA and Aquaponics World while we wrote about the Food Revolution in the past 4 months?  A LOT!
If you missed the 4 part (one each month) FOOD REVOLUTION Series, you can read them all by clicking on our July Newsletter:
This Newsletter is All About GROW LIGHTS!
Dear Subscriber:
We’ve been very busy over here at Aquaponics USA and Aquaponics World since we debuted our Micro Food Forever™ Farm in late February; and we’ve learned a lot.
This Newsletter is all about what’s happened and what we learned so sit tight and buckle up for a ride on our roller coaster of running two Aquaponics companies.

It’s All About Grow Lights 

Everything we’re doing over here is all about Research Development. Actually, for innovative Aquaponics System Designers, R&D is necessary and on-going. However, some Aquaponics System Designers have gotten stuck in the same system designs. That’s not what’s happening here. We’re about as fluid as the water running through our systems.
Right now, our biggest R&D project is around finding and testing the best, most economical and energy efficient Grow Lights, which is why the photo below shows a Growroom with four different kinds of Grow Lights running in it.
We’re going to give you the skinny on every one of them right here in this Newsletter so keep reading.
The other major R&D project is about designing and running a Vertical Duffy Duct™ System. Next month, we’ll explain why after just twelve weeks, we tore out everything we had just put up in the Greenhouse and replaced them with something else. All that work! All that money! And out it came after growing the first two crops! EGAD!
When I (Grace) freak out over things like taking out everything and replacing it with something else, Oliver, our retired aerospace engineer turned Aquaponics Systems Designer, calmly explains it like this: “Grace, that’s what R&D is. You do the Research by testing things. If things don’t work the way you want them to work or cost out the way you hoped, you tear them out and find something that works better or costs out more efficiently.” He’s used to doing R&D work. Kiel, our Systems Technician, and I go into shock for a couple of days.
Kiel doesn’t know it yet; but our proprietary Solids Separation BioConversion System is about to go through a big tweak soon, too. We can’t tell you about that part of the Food Forever™ Farm System because it’s in the Patenting Process.

Our Growroom with 4 Different Types of Lights.(The Fluorescent T5’s are not shown, as we tested and removed them.)

Visiting our Growroom is like walking into a Grow Light Showroom because that’s exactly what it is right now.
In the foreground, and colored red, are four LED fixtures. Behind them is a 600 Watt Halide Grow Light. Behind the Halide are six LED Bars. Behind the LED Bars are four Induction Lights.
Below, are the intimate details of what we’ve discovered doing the R&D on these different kinds of Grow Lights. We’re going to tell you what they cost, how well they work, what kind of power they take and how much heat they aim towards the plants. We’ll also discuss what we’ve found to be the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of Grow Light including the already removed Fluorescents.

Fluorescent T5’s (not shown above)
These are T5 Fluorescents. During the first two years of running our Growroom we used these Fluorescents for grow-out; and they worked great. They are great for growing leafy greens and need to be kept close to the top of the canopy. They have even light distribution and draw about 400 Watts each for a total of 800 Watts for a 4 x 4 foot (16 square feet) area. They cannot be used for flowing plants like tomatoes as they do not have enough red light and cannot be set up high above the plant. The heat from the lights is transfered to the plants because of the low positioning of the light above the plants. These 8 tube lights sell for $249 each, or $498 for two to cover 16 square feet.

Halide
This is a 600 Watt Halide bulb in a Dominator XXXL reflector. It has a 60 Watt 8 inch fan attached. The Lumatek ballast (not shown; but you can see it in our recently released YouTube Video at Aquaponics USA TV) is adjustable from 400 to 600 plus Watts. Overall, this light uses about 500 Watts in the 400 Watt setting to 720 Watts in the 600 Watt setting due to ballast efficiency and fan power. The light from the reflector covers a 4 x 4 foot area (16 square feet) evenly. The Halide bulb is tuned for leafy greens but can be replaced with a High Pressure Sodium (HPS) to grow flowing plants and either bulb can be up to 1000 Watts with the appropriate ballast. The above pictured 600 Watt light and ballast sells for about $520. Surprisingly, this halide puts out very little heat to the plant, as the bulb does not emit any appreciable amount of infrared.

Induction Grow Lights
Induction Grow Lights are similar to fluorescents inasmuch as they are a glass tube with phosphors painted on the inside. When electrically activated, the phosphors emit light of different colors (wavelengths) depending on the phosphor chemistry.

The main difference is that fluorescents have electrodes inserted in the end of the tubes and induction lights do not. Induction lights are made in a continuous loop, have a coil wrapped around them in two places and the energy is magnetically delivered to the light’s interior. This method of energy insertion is much more efficient than using electrodes that deteriorate over time thereby limiting the fluorescent’s life to only a few thousand hours. Induction lights last for 70,000 hours at full brightness and 100,000 hours to 70% of full brightness. They cover the full spectrum and, therefore, can be used to grow a wide variety of plants.

These Inda-Gro induction lights will cover a 4 x 4 foot area (16 square feet) but the light distribution is not equal, with much more light directly under the light than out near the side edges of the 4 x 4 foot area. When using multiple Induction lights, we have found that setting them 3 feet apart gives a good distribution of light down a row of lights.They put out more heat than expected, especially right below the light. Each light draws 420 Watts of electricity and requires extra Red LEDs to improve flowering plant fruiting, like tomatoes. They sell for about $795 each.

Older LED’s
We purchased these LED’s several years ago. They were designed for growing cannabis and it was what was available at the time. Each circle has 16 red, 4 blue and one green LED. They work well for sprouting and growing flowering plants due to the amount of red light. But, they do not work well for growing out leafy greens (or the vegetative stage of all plants) due to the lack of blue light.

Each one of these fixtures draw 150 Watts and 4 of them together draw 600 Watts to cover a 4 x 4 foot (16 square foot) area and have even light distribution. Most of the heat generated by the lights is convected upwards from the back of the fixture. At the time we purchased these they were selling for about $1,200 each, so they were quite expensive.

New LEDs
These six LED Grow Bars are custom designed to grow leafy greens. They contain four different colors (wavelengths) of LEDs to meet the requirements of both chlorophyll “A” of 430nm (Indigo) and 662nm (Red), and chlorophyll “B” of 453nm (Blue) and 642nm (Red-Orange). They have equal numbers of the different color LEDs with a total of 24 LEDs per bar.

Each bar has it’s own power supply that draws 40 watts with a total of all six bars at 240 Watts to cover a 4 x 4 foot area (16 square feet). We have one bar over each duct at 8 inch separation. They have 120 degree lenses on the individual LEDs and require a 5 inch height above the canopy (shown at 12 inch height) in order for all the colors to converge and supply each plant with a full spectrum of available light.

These bars do get quite warm to hot, but that heat is far enough away from the plants, and of such small overall quantity, that it is not a factor due to the overall low power requirement. Also, due to their small form factor, they can be used in a greenhouse as supplemental lighting without interference to the natural sunlight, especially if the greenhouse uses a diffused light covering. In addition, these lights allow for lots of air movement. We do not have a price set for these lights as these were custom ordered. We are still testing these lights but they look very promising.

THE NEED TO GROW,
Is a new documentary in production about how we’re changing our Food System. It’s going to be an Award Winner so watch for it.

Produced by Ryan Wirick and Rob Herring, it features some of the most important people in the Food Movement including Jeffrey Smith and Verdana Shiva.
And we’re in it, too, so you’ll be hearing a lot about this film from us. We’re so excited about it we can hardly keep our new Logo Baseball Caps on straight.
We did manage to keep them on when the film crew converged on our Demonstration Micro Food Forever™ Farm on Sunday, August 17, 2014 to film our contribution to “The Need To Grow”. Hours later, as the crew packed up, we looked at each other and said, “It looks like they filmed everything but the kitchen sink and the cats.” It was a fun and exciting day.
“In 2014, Ryan Wirick founded Earth Conscious Films with the intention of creating motion pictures that not only inform and entertain, but also empower people with the tools needed to solve the most pressing issues facing our species and the planet.” (from “The Need To Grow” website)
His first Earth Conscious Film is “The Need To Grow”, which addresses the solutions to a corporately controlled food system. The DVD cover quotes Buckminster Fuller saying: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”. This film is all about these new models.
“Rob Herring is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU where he received the Drama Award for Film and TV. He had a successful career in theater, including two StageSceneLA Awards (one for Best Actor) and an Ovation Award nomination. He recently Co-Directed/Produced his first feature film, a romantic comedy entitled “Nothing In Los Angeles“, which has been selected for numerous festivals around the country and already received two Best Picture honors.” (from “The Need To Grow” website)

When it hits theaters, this incredible film is going to be a show-stoping, Award-winning achievement in documentary filmmaking. It’s a MUST SEE Achievement!

Aquaponics USA/World TV

If you prefer to see a Video describing these Grow Lights, we just created one, which we’ve uploaded to our You Tube Chanel. Just click on Aquaponics USA/World TV.

This Aquaponics USA Food Forever™ Growing System, FFGS-20, was installed at Rosamond High in Rosamond, CA in late July, 2014 (We added the colorful and informative Wall Posters)

On July 31st, the Aquaponics USA crew drove a couple of hours west to another part of the California High-Desert called Antelope Valley. There, Kiel, our Systems Technician, and Oliver, our Systems Designer, installed this system; and we also conducted a Training for Mr. Ben Gilliam, the Teacher who has this system in his Eco-Science classroom and other staff of Rosamond High including the Assistant Principal, Mrs. Debi Keys.
Mrs. Keys referred to the system as “her baby” as she spent eight months working on the California Grant that made it possible to bring the first of several Aquaponics USA Systems into the Southern Kern Unified School District as part of their new Eco-Science Program. Seeing this first FFGS-20 System being installed was a dream come true for both Mrs. Keys and her District Superintendent, Mr. Jeffrey Weinstein, who has been supporting her all the way.

Our new Teacher Training Manual that comes with every Aquaponics USA School System.

This is a new Teacher Training Manual we created especially for Rosamond High late last month. We plan to share it with all Teachers who can use it to first train themselves and then to train their students on how to operate their Food Forever™ Growing Systems.

Teachers Also Receive This Resources & Curriculum Ideas Manual
There still aren’t many actual Text Books associated exclusively with specific grade levels that are teaching Aquaponics in the classroom; but it won’t be long before there are.
Until then, we’ve created this Resources & Curriculum Ideas Manual that covers all grade levels and offers some helpful suggestions for teaching Aquaponics.

Get Your Discounted and Bundled School Price Sheet here where we offer unlimited Tech Support to Teachers

An Aquaponics system can be used to demonstrate various principles taught in technology, plant life cycles and their structure, how to make effective use of recycled materials, low-tech/high-yield gardening, ecological issues, biology, chemistry, physics and sustainable farming. A system can be used to demonstrate in real time how the nitrogen cycle works, the parts of a seed, its germination and the growth rate of seedlings. The subjects are endless. Several Culinary Arts students are learning to grow the food they’re being taught to prepare while supplying their school cafeteria with healthy fish and organic vegetables. This takes the “Farm to School” programs that have been popping up all over the nation to another level.

 

We have a parked website, The Edible Schoolroom, which we would love to build out to feature all of the schools in the Aquaponics USA School Program.

We look forward to working with US Schools.

 

Thank you for Forwarding our Newsletter to your Friends, Family and Social Media Associates and making it a popular and sought out Resource among people who are interested in the Food Movement, Aquaponics and Alternative Sustainable Agriculture.
We so appreciate YOU, our Subscribers because without you, we are wasting our time.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/Aquaponics World

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Aquaponics USA/ Aquaponics World, LLC | 56925 Yucca Trail #303 | Yucca Valley | CA | 92284