Aquaponic Adventures

Subtropical Paradise

 

A look from the mango treehouse
Mango Mansion Views

 

An entire month spent on the Hawaiian Islands proved fruitful indeed. I went for the knowledge and experience of a farm internship, yet also discovered the serenity of midnight swimming in dormant lava tubes.  One of my closest friends had piqued my interest in aquaponics and alternative growing methods this time last year. His countless hours spent searching for a way to gain real experience resulted in this opportunity popping up:

People have come to us from all over the world to learn Aquaponics farming. Our goal is for our students to leave our farm with the knowledge needed to plan their own Aquaponics farm, learn how to run the systems on a daily basis, and see all aspects of the business including crop planning, marketing, and sales from the perspective of a working commercial Aquaponics farm.

Zac Hosler of Living Aquaponics

On the land, should you dare take on the tall grass and insects, fruits such as avocado, banana, mango, papaya, jackfruit, lillikoi (passionfruit) and citrus could be found with macadamia nut trees and coffee growing just down the road. And to top it off I had humble yet breathtaking accommodations. Perhaps being born in the year of the monkey had me feeling right at home sixty feet up in a mango tree house. I spent many hours on the farm but my gypsy feet saw me wander through sands of white, green, black and beyond.

This kind of in-your-face-abundance shifts my imagination into overdrive. What could be achieved with this level of abundance in the pacific northwest climate? Many spare moments are lost among scrap brown paper bag sketches and notepads, dreaming up designs for my own available spaces.  I had the pleasure to work with the farm owner to deepen my knowledge in multiple areas of farm operation and life during my month of exploration, working side-by-side with his family.

The Big Island, Hawaii
Ohana on The Big Island, Hawaii
friendships forever 
forged on the rugged island
Aloha Spirit

-kdw-

Though my current city living does not allow for yard space of my own, I have the liberty to experiment and grow in a neighbors back yard, made possible through the landshare Canada website. This year I built some raised beds and got my hands in the soil. Harvest included peppers, tomatoes, corn, kale, broccoli, beans, cabbage, squash, watermelon, eggplant, and various herbs and flowers. As friends offer up their soil to my overzealous seed-sowing, the bounty will expand.

One thing I have been able to experiment with is vermicomposting, or worm composting. In a previous post, I opened my box of black gold to the world, although my humble pound of red wigglers is nothing compared to Zac’s nine bin (and growing) system of 55 gallon barrels. With dreams to start a farm on home soil, and a newly acquired acreage, my hopes are high for stepping in a firm direction of my own.

I often ponder:

Is it necessary to rely on a grocery store?
Can a productive farm network be established within the cityscape?

 

What do you think?

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