Aren’t Coincidences Wonderful?


Here’s a really fun story to share about the location of our new Arizona Home and Greenhouse. Most people think of Arizona as dessert, but we’re not in the dessert. Actually, we left the dessert of Yucca Valley, California to come here.

We’re on a Plateau in the White Mountains of Arizona at over 6,000 ft. in elevation on a piece of land that is covered with Juniper Trees. Eight miles East of us is the beautiful little town of Show Low, Arizona, which is only a few hundred feet higher, but that few hundred feet make all the difference as Show Low is covered with Ponderosa Pine Trees. Certain species of trees require certain elevations.

Now I want to point you to the Brown Outcroppings in the picture above. Those are the Big Volcanic Boulders that are popping out of the greenery. There are a lot of these Boulders, but buried in the greenery are thousands of Little Volcanic Rocks that cover our land. It would be difficult to cultivate the land without using some heavy duty earth and rock moving machines. Right now we’re not considering venturing beyond our Greenhouse.

If you would like to get an exterior Tour of our Greenhouse Click over to our AquaponicsUSA YouTube Channel and watch our new Video after a LOOOOOONG Break with Oliver Introducing Our Arizona Greenhouse.

But here is why we named this Post “Aren’t Coincidences Wonderful?” Our land is covered with Volcanic Boulders and Rocks because 1,000 years ago, what is now the Sunset Crater in the image below was an erupting Volcano that sent the Volcanic Boulders and Rocks over to our property in a dramatic explosion of Mother Nature’s tendency to vent. Our Property is actually sitting in a Volcanic Field.

Enjoy Your Saturday,

Sustainably,

Grace

What’s Happening Today at Aquaponics USA?


‘There are 3 Seed Trays of Seedlings in the Greenhouse that need daily watering. We don’t need to water our Aquaponics Crops that are in the System because the System takes care of that, but when you’re germinating Seeds you need to water everyday.

Below are 3 Standard Seed Trays that have been growing Seedlings for about 2 weeks. We cut holes in our Humidifying Lids to allow more air flow into the Trays as it’s getting quite hot here in our Arizona Summer.

Below is what I call my Seed Tracker Sheet. As I plant the Seeds into the Seed Plugs, I fill in the Sheet with the Code Letters that tell me which Seeds are located where in the Seed Tray. For example BLC means Butter Lettuce Charles and RR means Romaine Red.

As an aside, here’s a little Cat Diversion. We can always depend on Magic for that.

Oh, and then there’s the Bee. He flew by me on the porch yesterday so now I have a clear glass jar waiting for that to happen again. My plan is to capture him and put him into the Greenhouse. I’ll let you know when that’s been accomplished. Did I just hear a Buzzing Sound?

Thank You for following us. We Write and Post to you and for you.

Sustainably,
Grace

We’re Also Doing More Blog Posts!


Our Arizona Greenhouse and our STEM Teaching & Food Growing System Orders have had us so busy we didn’t have time to talk about it. But what is the point if we don’t share what we’re doing with our Followers, so besides Videos, we’ll be sharing more Blog and Social Posts, too.

Check back to see what we’re up to now. You’re going to be amazed. The circled words in this announcement are the most important words of all starting with our “Followers”. Without you, we’re up here at 6,000 ft. in the White Mountains of Arizona without a rudder (not exactly connecting my metaphors), but you know what I mean.

Thank You for Following Us. We’ll be sharing our newest Seedlings later this week. Newly germinated Seedlings are like little Plant Children, adorable and in need of daily care. They can’t wait to show themselves off.

Sustainably,

Grace

We’re Making Videos Again!


After an almost 7 year absence from the Video Scene, we’ve returned. We’ll be making a lot of Teaching Videos about everything from germinating seeds to harvesting plants to preserving food.

You can find us on:

Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/AquaponicsUSA

Rumble at: https://rumble.com/c/c-937803

Bitchute at: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/O55Be6SLhrJO/

Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/aquaponicsusa

We even purchased a GoPro Camera to make the highest quality Videos possible. The first six new Videos have not used the GoPro, but the next one about Trimming Tomato Plants will be using it. Our Production Company is called “Food Independent Productions”, and we are looking forward to making some great Aquaponics Demonstration/Teaching Videos for Teachers and Aquaponics Farmers.

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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

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.

 

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

We’ve got our own Black Soldier Flies!


Black Soldier Fly #1Here they are, one of the most incredible creatures on the planet–Black Soldier Flies–and they’re flying around in our enclosed growroom. Notice their lovely purple and blue iridescent wings. Because we live in the high desert of Southern California, Black Soldier Flies are not native to our environment so for the first several months of owning and trying to operate our new BioPod™, we failed to produce Black Soldier Fly Grubs. I realize for those of you who are not in the know, I need to start at the beginning so this blog post makes sense. Here goes.

Information spreads in an interesting way; and about a year and a half ago, information about a certain kind of fly–a Black Soldier Fly– was flying (pun intended) around in the lexicon among aquaponics enthusiasts. It was purported that this fly could produce offspring, their larvae, known as grubs, that are very high in protein and that this larvae could be fed to poultry, reptiles and fish (hence the interest among us aquaponics buffs). Now this fly it was said has no mouth and, therefore, does not eat. All it wants to do is mate and make more grubs so it’s not interested in getting into the house or foraging for food in your kitchen. Hopefully, the two below have decided they’re in love or at least ready to talk about doing the wild thing as perhaps indicated by antennae apart vs. antennae together so they can make grubs together.Blk. Soldier Fly #5

If you’re wondering why these beneficial insects are called Black Soldier Flies, the image below may help us figure it out. It appears they have body armor as indicated by the black shield over their backs.Blk. Soldier Fly #6

But this fly needed technology to become the boon to mankind it has the potential of being. So a piece of equipment (that does not require power of any kind) came along that assists this incredible protein producing insect to make more protein using . . . (wait for it) YOUR HOUSEHOLD WASTE!

Egad! That’s almost too good to be true. All you need to do is gather your food waste, place it into the machine and Wha Lah! Soldier flies climb into the bin where the food is placed, not to eat the food because, remember, they have no mouths, but to lay their eggs, which will hatch into larvae called grubs. And guess what these grubs do. These grubs do nothing but eat. They eat your household waste and become chubby morsels of protein for your chickens, reptiles and fish. This machine is designed in such a way as to encourage the grubs to self migrate right into the harvesting bin. This machine is called a BioPod™.A USA BIOPOD

Just click the link to go to our website page that further explains this phenomenon and watch an amazing video of grubs devouring two large fish. You can also purchase a BioPod™ on our page designated especially for it.

As a grub farmer, all you have to do is keep the feeding bin supplied with moisture and food waste, harvest the grubs from the collection bin and make sure several grubs mature into adult black soldier flies so the process remains self sustainable.A World Grubbs on hand If you live in an environment where Black Soldier Flies are a natural insect in the eco system, you can keep your BioPod™ in a cool place outdoors. We need to keep our Black Soldier Flies contained in our growroom as there is no one to mate with outside; and the colony would die out quickly. We’re working on getting our neighbors to start raising Black Soldier Flies in hopes of creating a desert colony; but for now we’re on our own.

We’ll do another blog post on the BioPod™  and all the stages that the grubs go through before becoming adult Black Soldier Flies for those of you who are beginners at this so you don’t make the same mistakes we did. One of the biggest mistakes we made was we cooked our first batch of grubs because we left them outside in the BioPod™ without enough moisture before realizing we needed to bring them indoors. The other mistake we almost made is we saw these black (should have been a clue) crusty looking things where the fat, beige grubs were supposed to be and almost threw them out. This was the stage where the grubs were turning into Black Soldier Flies.

If Black Soldier Flies are not natural to your environment, you need to order a little box of newly hatched grubs from the BioPod™ manufacturer. If you’re interested in doing that, just give us a call at 760-671-3053 and we’ll set you up. Four years ago if someone had told me I’d be selling Black Soldier Fly Grubs, I would have recommended they get psychiatric care.  Funny how the twists and turns take you down unexpected alleys on the pathway of life. On the aquaponics path, there seem to be lots of wonderful surprises. Black Soldier Flies are one of them.

Thanks for following our Blog. Stay tuned. More surprises coming.

The Growroom is really living up to its name now!!!


We’ve been operating a Growroom we built by closing in a typical ranch style home back porch about a year and six months ago. Because we sell our Food Forever™ Growing Systems to people who place them in Greenhouses, basements, garages or spare rooms, we wanted to be able to demonstrate aquaponic food growing technology in an indoor environment as well as in our Greenhouse.

We also wanted to do a comparison between the two growing environments; and we’re coming up with some interesting conclusions. One of those conclusions is that right now, January 19, 2013, our Growroom is putting out more veggies than our Greenhouse. We’re in the high-desert of Southern California, and we’ve been dealing with some bitter cold for the last week. It’s actually gotten down to the mid 20’s at night and stayed in the high 30’s during the day; and for Californians, that’s really cold. Nevertheless, our Growroom has stayed a  balmy 77 degrees F; and our fish tank water is up around 80 degrees F. And here’s what’s happening in that wonderfully controlled environment.

We have walls of Basil growing and beds full of Butter Lettuce.

An 11 sq. ft. Grow Bed full of butter lettuce flanked by Basil.

An 11 sq. ft. Grow Bed full of butter lettuce flanked by Basil.

The Basil is growing so tall, we have to keep moving the lights up higher and higher.

Chinese Cabbage, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce and lots of Basil

Chinese Cabbage, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce and lots of Basil

We finally figured out the right amount of light needed to grow incredible amounts of veggies. We’re using Fluorescent Fixtures, which are great for growing leafy greens; but they won’t grow flowering vegetables like cucumbers. These T5 Grow Tubes are on only eight hours a day and are really doing the job. We’re selling these lights on our website in two sizes. There are eight Grow Tubes in each light; and it takes two of the larger sized lights (FF-8B) to cover one of our 11 sq. ft. Grow Beds. When we were trying to do this with one of the small lights, FF-8A, we were getting stunted growth and brown spots on our leaves. Now we are getting huge, beautiful leaves, no spots and virtually no pests in this Growroom. To check out these great Grow Lights, go here.

An up close look at some of the most beautiful and delicious Butter Lettuce possible.

An up close look at some of the most beautiful and delicious Butter Lettuce possible.

This is a Grow Bed full of Rex Butter Lettuce. It’s delicious, hardy and prolific. This lettuce went from seedlings to full heads in about one month and it was the coldest month we’ve experienced in California in a long time with outside temperatures around 25 degrees F at night.

This Growroom has two entry doors. Below is the room from the North facing door. There are two fish tanks in this room. The one in the foreground of this photo is our 120 gallon tank; and it’s holding about 25 tilapia. In the foreground is our automatic fish feeder. When someone asked us who was taking care of the fish, both Oliver and I looked at each other and said, “No one’s taking care of the fish.” Then we both thought for a moment and corrected ourselves to say: “The fish feeders are taking care of the fish.” If you think raising fish is difficult, think again. They pretty much take care of themselves and only need to be fed.

Coming in the South facing door, you see our 320 Gallon Fish Tank in the foreground.

Coming in the North facing door, you see our 120 Gallon Fish Tank in the foreground.

Below is a photo of our South facing door. When you enter from this side of the room, you see our 320 gallon fish tank that has around 35 Tilapia in it. Some of these guys we’ve had since we started doing aquaponics and they’re huge. We’re letting them grow to see how large they’ll actually get. Everything’s R&D around here as we started from scratch not knowing anything about aquaponics until we discovered it in 2008. We’ll share some photos of these guys in our next Blog post.

Entering the Growroom from the South facing door. Here is our 320 gallon fish tank

Entering the Growroom from the South facing door. Here is our 320 gallon fish tank

We’ve explained in the past how we keep our Growroom a balmy 77 degrees F in the dead of winter; but for those of you who missed that important tid bit of info here it is again. We use a standard home hot water heater in that room. It’s rigged with a stainless steel pipe that comes out of it and wraps twice around the bottom of the 320 gallon fish tank. The hot water heater heats the water to whatever temperature we want. A couple of days ago, we upped the temperature from 76 degrees to 80 degrees to heat up the room a little bit more because it’s all that hot water that’s keeping the room warm. There’s nothing else in the Growroom except a small air conditioner for summer.

Hope your Holiday Season was joyous and you’re getting off to a great start in 2013. We’re about to start harvesting that Butter Lettuce and will be selling it over at Sue’s Health Food Store in Yucca Valley, CA, our local go to place for everything that’s good for us. Our next Blog post will be about the harvesting, packaging and delivery of the veggies we’ve talked about here.

We’re growing more than we can eat ourselves right now, which is the good news; but we’re not really growing enough to make money on the food sales. We wanted to make that clear so we don’t send out the wrong information here. Right now, selling our veggies is practice for moving into a viable commercial operation down the road. An economically viable commercial aquaponics operation requires a much larger set up than our little R&D set up. Our focus right now is selling systems. We grow food for ourselves and to demonstrate how well our systems work. When we grow more than we can eat, we’ve arranged to take our excess over to our local Health Food Store because that’s the right thing to do; and I get to exercise my marketing brain with packaging, point of sale signs, vendor/owner relationships etc. It’s all practice.

Thanks for visiting our Blog. We really appreciate your participation in this exciting new way to grow food. We love sharing and are so blessed to be able to do that with you here. We’re keeping the same motto for 2013 as 2012.

IT’S TIME TO GET GROWING!

Once you get the bug (pun intended) Gardening becomes a way of life!


Through The Eyes of Grace Photography, Title: Desert Dreaming

I’ve lived in the desert for over six years now; and I’ve yet to get used to what happens when the seasons change from fall to winter as it appears to happen over night and unexpectedly. One weekend we’re in our pool playing pool volleyball and the next weekend is winter. Last year we got caught with our volleyball court still under the pool cover and our swimming suits hanging on the fence. Then, poof, summer was over.

This year we did a little better personally and had voluntarily abandoned the pool ; but we were still trying to hang on to our outdoor garden and failed as four cool days and frosty nights in a row hit us like an arctic winter. We desperately tried to tarp this little outdoor oasis that sits beside our Aquaponics USA Greenhouse; but it wasn’t able to keep the freeze out. We pretty much lost everything although there are some tomato plants still hanging on to life. They are the ones that were closest to the cement blocks that make up the riser we built to raise up the greenhouse. The heat from the blue flame heater inside the greenhouse must have passed through the wall enough to keep these plants alive.

The photos below are what frost bite looks like on cherry tomatoes, squash and corn. It’s a sad sight. 

Still I got a sweet harvest from this outdoor garden today as you can see by the photos below. You wouldn’t believe how incredible these cherry tomatoes taste (although, they’re not quite as sweet as the ones that are growing in our Food Forever™ Growing System).

The squash had a ways to go so they are pretty small; but I’m sure they’ll taste really great. The radishes hadn’t been in the ground long and I was surprised to see how big some of them were as we harvested them prematurely as well. They actually survived the frost better than the squash and didn’t have frost burn at all. It seems that the plants that were closer to the ground did the best. 

You may be wondering how we’re gardening outdoors at all since we do live smack dab in the middle of the Mojave Desert as you can see from the lead-in photo. The truth is we didn’t think we were going to be able to grow a traditional garden here either. That’s why we built a Greenhouse and started our gardening careers doing Aquaponic Gardening. Neither one of us had ever gardened before so our first foray into gardening was Aquaponic gardening.

Our first season of Aquaponic gardening was in 2009; and our Greenhouse turned into a jungle. We were amazed and we got the gardening bug big time. In fact, now I just don’t feel right if I don’t have food growing in my environment. In 2011, we decided we wanted to use the space alongside our greenhouse for a traditional soil garden. So what we did was we ordered a truck full of “real dirt”, built raised beds and planted our first outdoor garden.

This year our outdoor garden did better than our first year; and by next season, we plan to have a little protective fence around it to keep the critters out. They don’t seem to like tomato plants and corn so they pretty much left the garden alone this past season; but we were feeding them in an area that is close to the house so that may have made a difference.

Through The Eyes of Grace Photography, Title: Lunch Date

So now we basically had to give up on the outdoor garden. But back in the Aquaponics USA Greenhouse, things are still growing and there’s no fear of frost burn.  We have two Grow Beds full of runaway tomato plants. By runaway I mean I haven’t trimmed off the suckers enough and these plants have taken over the Beds. I recently harvested quite a few tomatoes from them, but as the weather has cooled, their production has gone way down. However, they are still working at putting out fruit as you can see from the photos below.

Tomato growing in our Greenhouse in November, 2012.

Below are a couple of photos of lettuce that is growing in our Greenhouse right now.

Lettuce growing in our Aquaponics USA Greenhouse.

Here’s some Chinese Cabbage and Lettuce growing in our Greenhouse.

The Peppers you see in the photo below are also growing in our Greenhouse right now in mid November; but the Pepper Plant that produced this fruit isn’t doing well because it’s being strangled by the huge tomato plant that has taken over that Grow Bed. Nevertheless, this determined Pepper Plant was able to pop out these lovely peppers.

Peppers hanging out of the Grow Bed that has been taken over by Tomatoes.

I planted a bunch of seeds into seedling trays yesterday (Aquaponics gardeners can be planting seeds in November) so we plan to plant a lot of leafy greens into our Grow Beds soon. Leafy greens love cool weather; and we’ll be growing a lot of lettuce, basil,  chinese cabbage and more in both our Greenhouse and Growroom soon.

We’ll share more photos and stories about our adventures as Aquaponics (and soil) Gardeners in the near future. In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and GET GROWING!

Aquaponics USA is a big hit at the Self Reliance EXPO


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few of the Food Storage Exhibitors.

And here’s the link to the Thrive website.

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

And here’s the link to Survival Cave.

And here’s the link to Noah’s Pantry.

And here’s the link to Go Foods.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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