Here is the simple version, the long version fills books. Aquaponics is the practice of growing plants and fish in the same or linked systems. This is where the waste from the fish feed naturally occurring bacteria which consume the ammonia from the fish. These nitrifying bacteria produce nitrate which is the very nectar that the plants thrive on. The plants consume the nitrate, returning fresh water back to the fish. This design is a beautiful way to grow organic nutrient-rich produce in a sustainable manner.
Quality Aquaponic Farms
We are proud to have designed aquaponic gardens with quality building materials, constructed using old fashioned carpentry techniques and an eye on modern technology. These Farms, as we call them, are built with optimum longevity to provide years of sustainable high quality produce production. Great care is placed on where particular types of materials are used. For example, pressure treated materials are used on sub-structure for long structure life, and not in areas in contact with the recirculating water, protecting the fish, bacteria, veggies and you. Each farm is connected with a simple extension cord and garden hose.
Much of today’s farm raised fish are grown in over crowded, poor water quality environments in efforts to maximize fish yield. Wild caught fish are now found to have growing amounts of heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. We obsess over the health of our fish, which is a necessary part of our complete system. The quality of our fish’s water is managed daily to insure their maximized health. The directional flow of water, and optimal density of fish, are designed to give our fish the best physical and social health possible. This is all necessary since the healthier our fish, the higher the quality of their waste, that feeds our naturally occurring bacteria, ultimately feeding our veggies, which eventually find their way to your family’s table.
Proprietary Water System
Our gravity powered mechanical and biological method for processing the fish waste is an essential part of our Farm design and we continuously refine this process for efficiency. Motorized filtration can plug up, or fail, and is costly to operate. We rely on what is sure, like gravity, weight and force. The water in our system supports the fish, bacteria and plants which ultimately feed our community, so we take great care to keep the water quality high. Weekly water testing, with our in-house photo spectrometer, allows us to ensure proper and consistent nutrient levels.
Our systems require three different types of naturally occurring bacteria; the same bacteria found in soil that consumes waste from insects and worms after they have digested organic plant and animal waste. The first bacteria consume the ammonium emitted from the fishes gills, as well as their waste, and convert that waste into nitrites. Other bacteria consume the nitrites, converting it into nitrates. This is the final step of our mineralization process before the nutrient rich water makes its way out to the grow beds and plants. For the integrity of our systems, we breed our own bacteria to assure the quality and availability for current and future farms.
The Healthy Plants
Plants are designed to draw in water, nutrients and, at night, oxygen from their roots. They absorb energy form the sun and carbon dioxide exhaled from mammals through their leaves. In our aquaponic systems in Florida, plants are provided all the water, nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide and sunlight they can absorb. This results in veggies that grow to their fullest potential. Because of this environment, we can grow varieties of produce that are otherwise not as likely to grow in our local communities. Our veggies start with 100% natural, organic and heirloom seeds, and we never use GMO’s. We invite you to taste the difference of our 100% natural, grown clean, delicious veggies.
Our Sustainable Agriculture
As practitioners of sustainable agriculture, we seek to integrate three main objectives into our work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. With these in mind, we work to build a system of growing and providing life supporting produce for future generations to come.
The Environment – We conserve water by using and recirculating the same water. We respect our land by letting it rest and heal for future generations to use. We are increasingly integrating solar and wind power into our farms as well. Approximately 20 acres of field farming can be grown in one acre of aquaponics.
Economic Profitability – Our aquaponic farms are designed to operate with a balance of profit that should secure their continued operation for generations to come at price points that invite the community to participate.
Social & Economic Equality – We grow foods that heal and we work to make these foods available to those who wish to improve their health by the foods they eat. We continue to invite our Veterans and the homeless into the Backyard Farm Express story.
Resources – We have embraced the practices of breeding our own fish, breeding our own bacteria and harvesting our own seeds. These, and other steps, are ways we work to build ever growing sustainability into Backyard Farm Express.
Our Beautiful Veggies
The best ways to experience the difference in our aquaponically grown produce – Look, Feel, Smell and Taste! Visit our Online Farm Market today. It’s been well established that aquaponics can produce the most nutrient rich, and flavorful produce available. The plants thrive in an environment with all the water, nutrients, sunlight and fresh outdoor air they can take. In return, the plants give us the most wonderful produce they can. For us, this is a very happy arrangement.