Alberta Aquaponics

We Will Grow On You!

Alberta Aquaponics - We Will Grow On You!

Upcoming Events

We are honored that we have been asked to be one of the presenters at the Calgary Eats! A Taste of Our Local Food System.

This is going to be an awesome event that everyone should attend!

Calgary EATS! A Taste of Our Local Food System

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Take a tour. Take action.

 

Tour the Calgary regional food system. See what’s going on in different food sectors around the city and how you can take action to work towards building a sustainable, accessible and resilient food system!

  • Production
  • Processing and Distribution
  • Access/Consumption
  • Waste Recovery
  • Community and Education

This unique event aims to engage Calgarians interested in building a sustainable local food system. A sustainable and resilient food system means that we recognize the connections between economic vibrancy, environmental sustainability and community health from the production of food through to waste recovery.

Event participants will first be addressed by keynote speaker, Rollin Stanley (City of Calgary, General Manager of Planning) and then guided through a facilitated tour of the food system. At each station, ambassadors from that sector will introduce their work and discuss how it relates to building a sustainable and resilient food system in Calgary.

The evening will close with a discussion on how to take action. This will encourage a systems approach to food sustainability for the Calgary region, identifying the various entry points to get involved and take action, and how we can work collaboratively to achieve a common goal: A sustainable and resilient food system for the Calgary region so that every Calgarian has access to local, healthy and environmentally friendly food.

Information

Date: Thursday May 22nd, 2014

Location: Festival Hall Inglewood (1250 – 10th Ave SE)

Time: 5:30-9:00pm (you may have to arrive earlier depending on your job for the evening)

Keynote address: Rollin Stanley, City of Calgary General Manager of Planning

Facilitator: Larin Guenther

Schedule

5:30-6:00 pm – Doors open (coffee, tea, snacks and cash bar available)

6:00-6:30 pm – Introduction / Keynote Speaker /

6:30-6:45 pm – Explanation of Food System tour

6:45-8:00 pm – Facilitated tour of stations

8:00-9:00pm – Group wrap up and networking


Food and Drink

Devour Catering

  • Appetizers will be served throughout the “Facilitated Food System Tour”
  • Forage Foods has donated the snacks that will be available at the door
  • Ethical Bean has donated the coffee
  • Village Brewery has donated a portion of the beer (cash bar)
  • Big Rock beer as well as wine or mead may also be available

Get your Tickets Here!!

 

I hope to see you there!

ESRD Legislation Meeting Follow Up

Yesterday Charlie Shultz and I met up with Jim Wagner and David DePape from the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) to go over the laws and legislation issues for aquaculture and aquaponics.

news flashAs a fall out of the meeting we think we have a unified plan on next steps and resolutions in some of the legislative issues for aquaponics.

The next reading of the legislation happens in October of 2015, so none of this is going to happen fast. DO NOT think that this is the law as it sits now, we are in the beginning stages of working this out.

The plan:

Tilapia are going to be moved from the Class 2 to Class 1 which will allow for both a commercial and a recreational license.

Commercial license will allow for a person to buy and sell tilapia to other commercial license holders, restaurants, stores and people with a recreational license. The cost on that license will remain at $150.00 per year.

The commercial license may come with restrictions on “Minimum Adequate Building Requirements” for security and food safety, but that is to be determined down the road. A full facility inspection will be required as a result.

Recreational License will allow for a person to purchase Tilapia for their own use and consumption. This will NOT allow a person to sell the fish in any way. The recreational License will be $10.00 a year and the inspection may only need to be done by a Google map search of your location for approval.

How we get there:

We (Charlie and I) have been asked to put together letters going to the Minister identifying the issues of the laws as they sit now and request that it is looked into for a resolution. This will then be a top down situation from the Ministers Office that will then go to the ESRD and Jim Wagner’s Desk for suggestions to the issues. At this point Jim is able to send back up the chain the resolutions we discussed to the Ministers office so that it can be addressed and implemented.

THIS IS NOT GOING OT HAPPEN FAST!

Charlie and I are attempting to have letters put together for the end of week to send in.

I again thank Charlie Shultz, Jim Wagner and David DePape for taking the time to meet and go over the issues. I appreciate that the problems were able to be addressed and that we could work together in attempting to find resolution. I fully understand that this is a charged issue on both sides and respect the fact that we are able to put the efforts into finding common ground and striving for a common goal. It is a pleasure to work with you all.

Moving forward.

The perplexing question:

One of the things brought up yesterday is the need for an association for putting together numbers of people to go behind the submissions. Numbers means power in the political world and the more the better for attempting to make change.

This brings up two methods of being able to make this happen.

1) We have everyone put up a digital signature in support of the motion and letters being submitted.

The up side is that this is not an affiliation with anything and anyone who believes in the process can just put their name forward. The down side is that there is no long term affiliation for those numbers.

2) We set up the Alberta Aquaponics Association as a defined association with a membership.

The up side to this is that we may have more clout in making things happen in legislation, food safety issues and food security. The down side is that this may impede some people from wanting to be involved and opens up the potential for political issues and fall out internally.

As a result I ask the question to you folks on your thoughts of creating an association or just taking up support signatures. I will be posting this as a poll question in the Facebook group page of Alberta Aquaponics and ask that you please come and put in your opinion.

Other things of note from the meeting:

The ESRD folks stated that legislation is a three pronged approach. One is legislation, two is the education and three is enforcement. The suggestion was made in the meeting from the ESRD that it is time for enforcement of the legislation for compliance.

This is not something I honestly want to see happen. I do not want the issues of enforcement causing or casting a negative light on aquaponics. My belief is it only takes one person making the headlines to sully the reputation of what we are doing and destroy what I believe is a great movement in food security, food safety and community.

I understand opinions and standpoints as well as principals. I also know that we are working to make change happen as soon as we can.

In other news, Alberta will be getting Barramundi, however, this is going to be for a very select facility list to start with and will most likely be 3 – 5 years before anyone else will even be considered having access. They may not ever be considered for the backyard aquaponist.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae Now In Stock!

news flashFor all you folks who have been waiting through the winter, I am happy to tell you that we now have Black Soldier Fly Larvae in stock!

For those that do not know about Black Soldier Fly Larvae, the black soldier fly, or Hermetia illucens is a common and widespread fly of the family Stratiomyidae, whose larvae are common detritivores in compost heaps.

These little guys eat like mad and should be in every backyard for composting!

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) are used to compost and sanitize wastes, and/or convert the wastes into animal feed. The harvested pupae and prepupae, are eaten by poultry, fish, pigs, turtles; even dogs. The wastes include fresh manure, food wastes of both animal and vegetable origin.

BSFL Grub composting bins utilize self-harvesting, so for the most part people who are bug terrified don’t even have to touch them.

Adult Black Soldier Fly

Adult Black Soldier Fly

When the larvae are done growing, they enter a stage called “prepupae” wherein they cease to eat, they empty their gut, their mouth parts change to an appendage that aids climbing, and they seek a dry, sheltered area to pupate. This prepupae migration instinct is utilized by grub composting bins to self-harvest the mature larvae. These containers have ramps or holes on the sides to allow the prepupae to climb out of the composter and drop into a collection area.

These guys have several Benefits:

– Prevent houseflies and blowflies from laying eggs in the material inhabited by black soldier fly larvae.
– Usually not a pest. Not attracted to human habitation or foods. As a detritivore and coprovore, the egg-bearing females are attracted to rotting food or manure only to breed and lay eggs.
– Black soldier flies don’t fly around as much as houseflies. They are very easy to catch and relocate when they get inside a house, as they do not avoid being picked up, they are sanitary, and they do not bite or sting. Hermetia illucens only defense seems to be hiding. When using a wet grub bin that will collect or kill all the pupae, the black soldier fly population is easy to reduce by killing the pupae/pre-pupae in the collection container, before they become flies. They may be killed by freezing, drying, manually feeding to domestic animals, putting the collection container in a chicken coop for automatic feeding, or feeding to wild birds with a mouse/pest-proof feeder.
– Significant reductions of E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella enterica were measured in hen manure.
– Quickly reclaim would-be pollutants: Nine stinky organic chemicals were greatly reduced or eliminated from manure in 24 hours.
– Quickly reduce the volume and weight of would-be waste: The larvae colony breaks apart its food, churns it, and creates heat, increasing compost evaporation. Significant amounts are also converted to carbon dioxide respired by the grubs and symbiotic/mutualistic microorganisms.

The only drawback to them is that you NEED a LOT of food for them. the good side is that if you have a lawn and grass clippings and house hold materials for composting, you should be able to maintain a good colony of them and reap the rewards!

There are 100 in each tub and they can be found in the Alberta Aquaponics Webstore.

Happy Belated Easter! (behind on everything!)

OK, so Easter blew by us and so much has been going on over the past while it is hard to know where to start.

Lets go over the course and go from there.

We had our Aquaponics course at SAIT and it turned out pretty well. We learned a lot from the experience and hope to implement some changes to make it even better for the next go round. From the people who attended, we had some fantastic feedback and suggestions. Overall the reviews of the course have been very good with a LOT of positive things to said.


We are very happy to have been able to put the course on and to have so many awesome people involved in taking it!

We of course are not done yet. We still have our bus trip to Lethbridge on May 3, and we will be covering more of the course in the bus as we are on our way to see the Lethbridge College Aquaculture Centre Of Excellence and getting a tour and lecture from Charlie Shultz.

We are looking to do a full IBC tote build course later this year where it will be a full hands on build for those attending. We will build an IBC tote system with a media filter, Deep water Culture bed (floating raft), a standard Ebb Flow bed, a duckweed bed and an NFT system attached. and we will attempt to have more info on that coming up shortly.

We have had a couple of conversations with Jon Rotter From Solar Wholesaler in putting on a solar course. Over the last few months we have had several people inquire about setting up solar for aquaponics as well as for greenhouses and for taking their homes off grid. As a result of the questions, I have asked both Franco Mosca and Jon Rotter about putting on a basic course for solar and how it applies. We are looking at getting something set up for June for those interested.

We have also been asked by Rob Avis from Verge Permaculture to put on a course for his Permaculture Design Certificate for aquaponics and aquaculture. This is an amazing course and we are honored that he would invite us to be a part of it as instructors!

I strongly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in taking on a bigger picture of permaculture. It is well worth your time, money and efforts!

Since the course I have been busy putting together aquaponic gardens with several people in different levels of involvement. I think I am now at a new record of building 12 in a week and it looks like it is not about to slow down any time soon! I am very happy to see it!

I have hopes that we will get some pictures and a couple of write ups for the website here soon and maybe even a couple of videos from those brave enough to take on some camera work and explain what they are putting together.

On the home front here, we managed to get one day of the long weekend in on getting the greenhouse somewhat set up. I didn’t think it was going to happen at all with the weather we had but we took advantage of the break in the snow and got down to a fast build for one of the greenhouse systems. From there we moved out some bunnies to make room in the greenhouse from the spring plant and setup.

We have a lot of big dreams for this spring. I don’t know how much we will get accomplished, but we are going to attempt some new things installed and running.

On the plan is:
An upgrade of the Solar on the garage
Installation of the Solar Concentrators for hot water heating for winter
Addition of summer grow beds for the fishery
Building a Rocket Mass Heater
Raised Grow beds for the front yard and start of the edible yard (permaculture build)
Addition of two more rain water capture systems
Improved worm farm and black soldier fly compost systems
improved hot compost system
Wicking buckets
Wicking bed
Duckweed beds
Branding and selling of fish water (Fish-It), bunny droppings (Bunny-It ) and worm/BSF castings (Verm-It)
The list goes on…

Needless to say, there are lots of updates coming and lots of things to keep us amused.

On the subject of keeping us amused, I have started up making mead again. and have a batch currently under way.

For this batch I have gone with an Orange Blossom honey and am just running it as a standard mead with no additions. I am using 8 pounds of honey for a 5 gallon batch. Sadly I am stuck with some basic EC 1118 yeast for this batch as I was unable to find anything better in Calgary (I don’t know what happened to the wide range of yeast that used to be available).

At the moment (and after a 2 month brew) the mead is sitting at about 10% and is still mega sweet. I have offed a gallon from the primary and have it sitting to mature on its own. The other 4 gallons in the primary I have running with another batch of yeast for a second ferment to bring down the sweetness and take it up for about 14%.

I will attempt to do some videos on this as we go and post them up.

Donna and I have also been making up yogurt for the past while.

I think this is something that everyone should give a try at. It is amazing how much yogurt you get out of a jug of milk and how awesome it all is when it is done! I can tell you I am junking and love making and eating it!

The process is pretty simple and easy to do.

We even went a little on the nuts side and attempted doing it with chocolate milk. It actually worked and when you add honey to it, you get all of the chocolate flavour back to make one of the coolest yogurts you will ever eat!

 

Happy Spring Equinox!

Although it is the first day of spring today, it feels a lot more like the first day of winter here. The snow is pounding down and what was (as of yesterday) open areas of grass is now covered in a thick blanket of white.

First Day of Spring?None the less, today is the Vernal Equinox when the angle of the earth inclination toward the sun that changes throughout the year has both hemispheres of (more or less) equal length. This is where it gets its name; Vernal meaning “pertaining to spring” and Equinox meaning “Equal Night”.

The high point to the Vernal Equinox is that planting is just around the corner. The start of Calgary’s 5 month growing window of light is here. Although the general rule has always been not to plant anything outside in the ground until after the May long weekend, the greenhouse and aquaponic gardens that have been growing all winter are telling me to be brave and get the crops in early this year.

I had hopes this weekend would have me moving toward that direction in planting some more starters in the Aeroponic garden and getting the greenhouse cleaned up. That was before the snow dump now. At this point I am thinking of foregoing the greenhouse cleanup for another week which may be just as well with everything we have going on.

I am a little concerned about how the plants are going to handle this weather tomorrow as we load in for the SAIT Tech Faire. The last thing I want is a bunch of plants attempting to handle a move, light changes and the cold all at one shot and then go on display to show how well aquaponics works. It is kind of an unfair thing to ask of the plants. I hope that they are the display will work out ok for the event.

If you are looking for something cool to check out for tomorrow, I invite you to come down to the SAIT campus and check out the Tech Faire. Come by and say “hi” if you are there!

SAIT Tech Faire
For now, happy spring and lets get growing!

Events, More Events And A Life Changing Course With A ROAD TRIP!

Saying things have been busy for the last while is more than an understatement. So much is going on and moving I can hardly keep up.

We have a bunch of things to announce and get people involved in, here are some of the upcoming events.
seedy

On the Saturday March 15th, Calgary Seedy Saturday is taking place! I am happy to say that ASAS and Alberta Aquaponics will be at the event. This is an absolute must to come and be a part of!

Admission Fee: $2.00 per person.

This family event will have displays by:

  • local seed savers,
  • prairie seed companies,
  • native plant collectors,
  • conservation groups,
  • community gardeners,
  • organic growers; as well as,
  • a seed exchange table,
  • refreshments,
  • presenters, and
  • a kids corner!

Calgary Seedy Saturday is part of the worldwide Seedy Saturday/Sunday events that celebrate open-pollinated seeds. In Calgary, the event is coordinated with the support of the Community Garden Resource Network.

Calgary Seedy Saturday is keeping the skill of growing from seed to seed alive in Calgary. As large commercial seed companies consolidate and only offer more hybrids and patented varieties, We are increasingly losing the regionally adapted collections that have developed in our unique prairie climate.

Calgary Seedy Saturday helps maintain this irreplaceable genetic diversity by offering non-hybridized, non-GMO varieties of seeds. You and your family can discover the superior taste of heirloom vegetables, learn to save seeds and share them with your neighbours. As you grow them season after season these seeds will adapt and grow that much healthier!

SignTinFoilHatArea

Another meeting of the crazy people doing crazy stuff in the back yard! Hope to see you at the face to face meet up!

Sunday March 16,  is our Face to Face Meet Up!

Keep in mind we are at a new location, and the new location is rocking cool! Come on in and check it out for yourself and get involved in some great conversation on Aquaponics, a presentation and lets not forget our door prize give away!
sait

The next big event we have on the go is going to be on March 21 at the SAIT tech Faire!

Alberta Aquaponics will be at the SAIT 2nd Annual Spring Tech Faire with demonstration aquaponic gardens and lots of information!

Come join us at the event!
Stop by and say “Hi”!

The second annual Spring Tech Faire, presented by the Reg Erhardt Library at SAIT will showcase student, alumni, and community activities in the areas of technology, science, invention, and collaboration.

The public is invited to explore fun, interactive, and educational events in an environment which celebrates creative Calgarians!
news flash

Now for an announcement that I am very excited about.

For the last while people have been trying to get me to put on an aquaponic course with a build component involved. I am happy to say that I am about to do just that!

Alberta Aquaponics is putting on an aquaponics course with a build component April 12, 2014 at SAIT. This build component will work for small and large scale systems and will give you a full understanding of scaling for each.

If you have ever wanted to get into aquaponics or wanted to expand you knowledge, this is going to be the course to take. You will end up with a solid core knowledge of the base principals so that you can confidently put together and maintain long term an aquaponic garden.

This is a one day course with a lot to offer!

The course will cover:
What is Aquaponics
A Brief History of Aquaponics
Types of Aquaponics
The Grow bed
-Media
-Bell Siphon
Nitrification
Water Testing
Fish tanks
Pumps
Aquaculture Laws in Alberta
Fish
-Goldfish
-Koi
-Tilapia
Plants
Lighting
Pre-build Planning
– Basic Safety
– The Stand
– Electrical
Maintenance
Tips and Tricks
And so much more!

Throughout this course we will be doing a build of an aquaponic system. This course will give you the knowledge to assemble all of the parts required for practical application of the build and the ability to make it scaleable and workable system for a 45 gallon aquarium build through to a full IBC tote application.

You will receive a binder with the course slides and area for notes,  A copy of the Aquaponic monitor sheets (Water, Fish, Plants, Lighting, Electrical) as well as full build parts lists for putting everything together. Lunch will also be provided.

But that is not all!

How would you like to go on a road trip to see something very cool that is aquaponic related?

I am proud to announce a team up of Alberta Aquaponics with the Lethbridge College and the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence!

Along with the purchase of this course you will also be eligible to join us on a tour of the Lethbridge College Aquaculture Centre of Excellence on May 3, 2014. We will have a 56 passenger coach picking us up in Calgary and taking us all to Lethbridge where we will get a tour of the facility.

Run by R. Charlie Shultz, the ACE is a world class aquculture and aquaponic facility, and something that should not be missed out on seeing. More than just a course, this is truly a life event.

Charlie Shultz, Aquaponics Researcher at Lethbridge College.
He spent about 14 years at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix working under aquaponic Guru, Dr. James Rakocy. He has worked with Alberta Ag employees for over a decade, including Dr. Nick Savidov and his evolution of the UVI design for Alberta conditions. He spent a couple years before moving to Lethbridge getting a grad degree from Kentucky State University where he studied lighting options for indoor aquaponic systems.

We will be getting a tour by Charlie Shultz himself walking us through everything that the ACE has to offer!

But that is still not all!!

Charlie Shultz will also be presenting a lecture at the ACE location after the tour.

http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/about-us/applied-research-innovation/aquaculture-centre-excellence

Showing the full range of a home based aquaponic garden that you can build yourself to a multi-million dollar facility for education and commercial endeavors, this course will offer you the most well rounded educational experience you could hope for!

This course and trip is sure to sell out fast, so sign up today and get ready for a life changing event!

Not interested in the course but want to go see the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence?

No problem. We have your back!
road_tripCome sign up for the extra seats on the bus and join us in our trip to Lethbridge where you will get a tour of the ACE facility by Charlie Shultz and be able to attend his lecture on May 3, 2014!

Road trips are always a bunch of fun, and what better way to meet other people interested in aquaponics in your  community than to go on a trip with them and share an experience together!
Make sure you bring your camera for this event!

I am sorry I don’t have the video update for this week. Things have just been too crazy busy to make one happen. I will attempt to gather up some video of the upcoming venues and post up one for next week with an update on what is going on here!

Spring Time Planning For Events!

Another busy week has caught up to me and just about passed me by!

We have some new announcements to start things off with.

As everyone I am sure knows, March 1, 2014 there is an Introductory course for Aquaponics being put on by Growing Gardeners and Alberta Aquaponics, but for those of you who cant make the course or are already past an introductory level, March 1 is also the Red Deer Eco Living Faire.

eco living
This is going to be an awesome event put on by ReThink Red Deer and is one that if you can make it to will be well worth your efforts! Alberta Aquaponics had been invited to take part int his event however the course made it impossible for us to be there this time. You can count on us going to the next one however!

hillhurstI would like to welcome everyone to come and check out some amazing local action at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Centre. There will be the standard indoor farmers market taking place there on March 5 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, but it will be followed up by  a presentation on seed saving and GMO’s from 7:00 – 9:00. These folks honestly knock it out of the part int heir efforts for community awareness, food security and food safety. If you have not been to the market or one of the talks, you are truly missing out! Donna and Gord from Alberta Aquaponics will for sure be there! Come join us and see what it is all about!

You will also want to mark on your calendar another event at Hillhurst Sunnyside which is the annual Seedy Saturday. This is going on 10:00 am – 3:00 pm March 15, 2014.

 

Calgary Seedy Saturday

This family event will have displays by:

  • local seed savers,
  • prairie seed companies,
  • native plant collectors,
  • conservation groups,
  • community gardeners,
  • organic growers; as well as,
  • a seed exchange table,
  • refreshments,
  • presenters, and
  • a kids corner!

Calgary Seedy Saturday is part of the worldwide Seedy Saturday/Sunday events that celebrate open-pollinated seeds. In Calgary, the event is coordinated with the support of the Community Garden Resource Network.

Alberta Aquaponics will be attending this great event along with others in The Alberta Sustainable Agricultural Society Co-Op, so please come on by and check it out and say hi!

Other big events coming up that you may want to check out include the second annual Spring Tech Faire, presented by the Reg Erhardt Library at SAIT that will showcase student, alumni, and community activities in the areas of technology, science, invention, and collaboration.  The public is invited to explore fun, interactive, and educational events in an environment which celebrates creative Calgarians!

saitAlberta Aquaponics will be there with some small scale display aquaponic gardens, so make sure you take some time to come by and say hi! There should be lots to see and do at this very cool one day event!

We are working hard to get aquaponics out to the mainstream and make it more common place. The efforts are being picked up by everyone in the community and some of the latest sightings include Scott Weir making it on to CBC for not only a radio spot (sorry, no audio of it yet) and news blast on the website today.

Congrats Scott!! Way to get the word out there and keep aquaponics on the front lines!

Speaking of the front lines, we have another face to face meet up this weekend!

SignTinFoilHatArea

Another meeting of the crazy people doing crazy stuff in the back yard! Hope to see you at the face to face meet up!

Sunday will be the first meet up at the new location and should be a blast! I understand that we have people coming in from B.C. to meet everyone from the Facebook page. It seems that Pamela Remple and her family just so happen to be here in Calgary for the long weekend and are planning on making a side trip to come to teh face to face meet up.

They have hopes after the meet up of coming over to check out some of the stuff we have going here as well, so this should be a very interesting little meet up for sure!

Over an above the draw of checking out the new location we will have our usual Door Prize, a presentation and a good round of conversations, laughs and general geekery!

Don’t miss out and come join the fun!

On the update side, I am waiting for the weather to warm up a bit so that I can get out into the greenhouse and start up our spring crops. I have been chomping at the bit big time over the last while and just cant take it any more so I have start working on more growbeds in the house where I can get some plants started at least and curb my will to get out and take on the greenhouse.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Face to Face Meet Up!

New Face to Face Meetup Location!

A-New-Place

I am happy to announce that we have found a new location for our Face to Face Meetups!

The Fontanella Restaurant in the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre will be our new home for the Face to Face Meetups!

Located at 2120 16th Ave. N.E. Calgary.

The restaurant has Starbucks Coffee a menu of food items and cookies and muffins for those interested.

The staff are happy to have us and it looks like we can have our own little secluded area for our meetings!

Our next meeting is February 16, 2014. (yes I know its a long weekend, but its also February and its too cold to do much else!) So come on out for the Face to Face meetup and check out the new digs!

Seeding Spring Seeds And Growing For The Better!

It is February and the bug is in the air again with me needing to get planting and start getting things ready for spring. Regardless of what the furry little rodent saw when it poked its head out its den, spring is on the way and I intend on being ready!

I feel like I have been sitting on my hands for a month trying not to jump the gun in getting everything planted and ready, but now I feel I can sit no more and must explode into some action.

I have started our aeroponic seed system with a variety of seeds ranging from Kale and Chard through to Cantaloupe, Peas and Tomatoes, while Donna has pulled out the Aerogarden to start getting some peppers up and growing.

We have started up two more growbeds in the basement giving us a total of 240L of growbed area inside and have moved some plants around to make space from the aeroponic systems, and with some luck, should be able to have two to three more growbeds set up shortly (I would love to have 420L of growbed in the basement up and running, but time and finances will dictate how that pans out).

I have also started doing up a bunch of different sprouts over the last couple of weeks. I just cant get enough of them in pretty much everything I make now. I will do up a video on sprouting next week and have it up on the site for those interested in this awesome and healthy simple kitchen farming technique.

I have been attempting to track down a bunch of food grade 5 gallon buckets (and may have them for sale soon in the store for those who have asked me about it) to attempt an aquaponically recycled Kratky system this year. (I have no idea how well that will work, but what the heck. I am going to try it.) I am also going to attempt to change out one of our sets of growbeds this year to a proper height unit rather than the experimental comparison 4″ growbed. I this the distinction in the success of the growbed heights has been made, and it is now time to start getting the higher produce yields from the greenhouse.

I believe that this year more than ever is going to be a turning point in the necessity of growing your own produce. California is already saying that they are in a crisis with the droughts they are having and are planning on rationing crop irrigation waters to zero. The warning is already out for a dramatic reduction in produce and that prices are expected to double to triple as a result. Although this is only one state in the US on a global market, the supply from that state and the demand for the produce on that global market will have some dramatic impacts on what we as consumers pay.

eat localIt should also be noted that the New UN Farming Report “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late.” is also saying that the only means of being able to feed the population of the world now is to move towards smaller scale, sustainable farming including urban farming and gardening.

When I look at the costs of non-organic produce now and think of that being two to three times higher, I am more than worried about how that will impact the standard person. When I look at the prices of Organic foods, I am already in the sticker shock range and don’t want to think of what two to three times that would be like. Factoring in the costs, I am sold more than ever on having my own little garden and producing as much locally and organically as possible.

I believe that this is something everyone should be considering now rather than waiting for the costs to explode on them. When I do the math on the aquaponics system during the summer months, I know full well that there are cost savings on what we produce.

I know I am singing to the musicians here, so enough of the doom and gloom side, lets move on to the good stuff.

Last night I was at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Centre for their Famers Market and for the Doin It In The City – Urban Ag in YYC meeting.

The Famers Market was awesome, and I suggest that if you have never been to it, that you make every effort in getting down there for the next one! The local produce from the vendors is top notch and the friendly environment Market Bandcomplete with musical entertainment is well worth the trip. (I strongly suggest the Veggie Samosas from Shamm’s Kitchen – OMG, They Are So Good!)

The meetup after the Farmers Market on Urban Ag was very informative, interactive and enlightening. It gave everyone who attended a chance to listen and interact with a panel of local farmers and decision makers and discuss some of the issues related to urban agriculture in Calgary. This event also opened the doors for people to get involved in making more happen on Urban Agriculture. With folks like the City of Calgary’s Senior Sustainability Consultant Nicole Schaefer inviting people from all over the city to “charge the doors of City hall” for desires on projects and initiatives on the subject and Leaf Ninjas asking those interested to join forces with them in making a difference, even people with no yards but the desire can make changes for the good in the city.

I cannot express enough how impressed I am with Hillhurst Sunnyside and the community involvement they have. They are truly the model of how a community centre should be and are knocking their events out of the park with how awesome they are. Take the time to meet some of these Mega-cool people putting the events on and congratulate them on a fantastic job when you do!

I am super hyped over all of it and invite everyone to go out and get involved where they can. I will post up the meetings for upcoming events in the calendar shortly and will attempt to keep them updated, so check back often.

On the subject of meetings, after our meeting with Jim Wagner from the ESRD, I put in a request for the PowerPoint presentation he gave. I have now received the presentation and have it posted on the Alberta Aquaponic website for everyone to have a look at.

ESRD Presentation

After you have had a chance to read through the presentation, I invite you all to get involved in the forums and assist in writing a document to go back to the ESRD and the MLA’s on the subject of licensing for aquaponics.

As you will note from the presentation, goldfish are now allowed for aquaponics in Alberta. As a result we are attempting to come to market with small scale systems for those of you wanting to get into aquaponics.

Although I am able to sell and breed goldfish, it is not something I want to invest in at this point for the fishery and our limited space. As a result of this, I have made contact with Riverfront Aquariums and have established a working relationship with them in order to attempt to get some collaborative deals sorted out on fish tanks, goldfish and other items for aquaponics. This is all new and just starting out, so hang in there with me over the next few weeks while we get things in place.

On the subject of collaboration, Scott Weir from Growing Gardeners and us folks here at Alberta Aquaponics have decided to work together on building up courses on aquaponics.

The first course, which is an introduction to aquaponics, is a great first step in getting into aquaponics and understanding some of the basic key principals. If you have ever thought of getting into aquaponics or just want more information on what it is all about, this is for you! The course is at the University of Calgary on March 1, 2014 and is filling up fast, so sign up soon if you want in for it!

You can expect that we will be coming out with several more courses including intermediate aquaponics courses and builds. We have some big plans lined up and hope to fulfill and exceed everyone’s expectations. There will be a lot more to come on this in the future!

Needless to say there has been a lot going on and a lot more to come!

So with all that our of the way, lets get into a video update.


Until next week, Happy Growing!

News Flash – Aquaponics Course!

news flash

We have some big news for the aquaponic folks in Alberta.

Scott Weir from Growing Gardeners and Franco, Donna and myself (Gord) from here at Alberta Aquaponics have decided that we are going to team up and join forces in putting on aquaponic courses.

You can expect to find a variety of courses soon to be available from introductory classes through to build classes and even advanced classes.

How soon you ask?

How about for March 1, 2014?

Join us for an introductory 1 day course on aquaponics! Sign up today and get ready to change your life for the good!

This is the perfect time for you to have an understanding of aquaponic gardening in time for Spring.

This class is bound to fill up fast, so don’t delay!