Urban Deserts in 2017

Urban Deserts in 2017
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Image result for map food desert

About 23.5 million people live in food deserts in the United States.  2.3 million people (2.2% of all US households) live in low-income, rural areas more than 10 miles from a grocery store.

Growing food in city areas:

        • Eliminates the cost of transporting food from farms to cities
        • Offers healthy food choices instead of low-nutrition food currently purchased in convenience stores in cities
        • Improves property values by renovating vacant areas of neighborhoods and bringing paying jobs to community members
        • Reduces the carbon footprint by growing food locally
        • Increases a community’s level of self-sufficiency
        • Brings awareness to communities for issues related to healthy eating
        • Offers beauty to communities and fosters a sense of local pride. 

portable-farms-aquaponics-system-farm

16′ x 33′ Portable Farms® Aquaponics System – Feeds 10 people FOREVER.

In the past six decades, the world has benefited from the green revolution, the increased efficiencies of farming, the expansion of the food pipeline from ‘field to fork’ and lower energy costs. Now it’s time for a reexamination of food production because energy costs are creating an increasingly heavy impact on food prices.

VACANTLOTThe practice of actually growing healthy food in major cities is a hot new trend. Aquaponics is on the forefront of replacing ‘Urban Deserts’ as the next big wave for providing healthy food in congested areas of cities and replacing fast food and low nutrition food in the small markets currently selling hot dogs, hot pockets, sodas, chips and candy.

The spread of rooftop gardens, vertical gardens, growing plants inside of warehouses and the use of vacant city lots is increasing as urban living is a growing percentage of the overall population of any area. Every country is involved in this food-urbanization trend and the need to feed city dwellers is a growing logistical problem facing  cities and locals governments.

When residents of a community are told there is no room to grow vegetable in an urban environment, the most amazing thing happens; people find acres of space to grow food and ‘unused’ space is now being converted to food production and each vegetable, fruit or animal is being raised near where it will be consumed which reduces the carbon footprint of the consumer and the impact of the food on the environment.

Open fields and space to grow crops is becoming less of an issue in the food supply chain for some creative and hard working people. It is the focus, the will and the work required to grow foods locally that are the limiting factors in urban farming, not the space.

The idea of eating fresh vegetables and fruits from your own backyard, a roof top, a formerly vacant lot or from a warehouse converted to grow food has tremendous cache and power. A food production facility can be up and running in a kitchen window or front yard or other creatively discovered locations in a very short time. The startup cost for a common garden is very small, the work involved reasonably low, and the rewards are invaluable and delightfully long lasting.

interior april 12

The Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems is a proven closed loop commercial aquaponics system that is available in most countries today. For about US$1M an installation can be built to feed 1,000 people, employ 10 to 15 people in permanent full time jobs, be solar powered, use 95% less water than in-ground growing and can be built almost anywhere in the world and be producing food in less than six months. 

Growing a single tomato plant in the kitchen or living room window signals the start of someone’s personal commitment to their own secure future. Having even a tiny backyard or rooftop garden creates a deep sense of power and control over one’s future. Building and enjoying a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System is true freedom in a package.

Food is the most important part of our lives and consuming locally grown food, especially if that food is grown by one’s own family is becoming increasingly tied to urban survival. Growing a tomato plant that yields dozens of tomatoes over many months or a single lettuce plant that is grown, harvested and a new seedling planted in the same spot shift the power to the family who is involved in the process. Having locally grown food gives community members the incentive to grow and procure more food locally.

Feeding the Poor with Portable Farms®

Feeding the Poor with Portable Farms®
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

In today’s world of chaos, fear, hunger, poverty, dishonesty and crushing bureaucracy, there is a way to help those as close as your family or as inclusive as your community or even a larger section of the earth by installing an aquaponics system. Now you or your organization can really make a difference in people’s lives, forever, by feeding people and providing employment to those who need it most.

Our article on the Portable Farms® website, Feeding a Family of Five, went around the world in 24 hours and drew interest from readers in over 140 countries. After all, our loyal readers are looking for immediate solutions to their own food needs. They want to avoid worrying about the cost of food, relying on coupons, tainted food, and staying current on sales from local grocery stores; they’re interested in creating a never-ending supply of fresh, pesticide free food near their kitchen so they never have to buy their table vegetables at their grocery store again, EVER.

Please note: The majority of the food grown in Portable Farms® that is not consumed by the owners MUST be sold and not given away to those in need. Why? Because the focus of donor funding always shifts, over time, to various causes and if (for whatever reason) the funders or donors who are supplying the money for the ongoing costs of labor, water, electricity, etc., required to operate a Portable Farm decide to reallocate that funding to another cause, the aquaponics system will eventually fail. While good deeds are encouraged in the world, nothing (not even funding) lasts forever. However, if food grown in Portable Farms® is SOLD to pay the necessary operating expenses for the Portable Farm, the operation has a chance for long-term survival in that community.

The question we have received most often about community aquaponics installations is:  “How can a larger group use an aquaponics system to become more locally self reliant?”

Here is our answer: “By using the same formula of 25 sq ft to feed one adult, any group can sit down and figure out what size system they need to feed their members or target audience. For example, if a group wants to feed 240 people, they would need 6,000 square feet of grow space which fits perfectly into a 10,000 sq ft greenhouse in ¼ acre. That will provide them with most of their table vegetables and fish, a regular source of healthy protein, forever. It would not include root vegetables like potatoes. carrots nor legumes and grains.”

If your organization is focused on ways to help the children in your community or somewhere else in the world, the same formula can be applied. In many cases, part of that help can also include jobs for their parents and help teach the children about ‘the cycle of life’ and the value and benefits of healthy nutritional habits. 

A religious organization can very easily address the needs of their congregation or a target group that they are assisting by using the same ‘people to grow space’ formula. For a group of one hundred persons in need, a PFAS Unit containing only 4,000 sq ft of enclosed space will do the job. That is a greenhouse only 50 x 80 feet. Nearly every religious organization has that much space in their parking lot or in an open area next to their main church building. This size will provide all of the table vegetables and some of the fish needs for the 100 people or it will also help supplement the needs of nearly twice that many people.

Community groups can also start a locally supported installation and be able to leverage their resources to a much greater degree with an investment in a permanent food-production facility run by local semi-skilled labor. The opportunity to serve the community and actually have the system help pay for itself over time is a huge advantage over nearly any other source of food items. Plus, it offers employment to a few of the locals ‘in need’ for a permanent full time job.

Even nonprofit organizations can step in and serve their community in a way that outlasts the original donor’s money. By using donor money, they can erect one or more Units, perhaps under the name of the donor, and the system becomes an income-generating fixture to the organization, or at least self sustaining investment, as it serves the target group. Even programs that are designed to provide ‘in-home help’ can benefit from having an aquaponics system on site or close by to provide food for the recipients.

For those who wish to give to, and to support those who are less fortunate, our aquaponics systems are a way to leverage their giving. By setting up a foundation or charity which actually owns the installations, an individual, or family, or organization can dramatically impact the lives of those they wish to help and insure their money is put to work doing the most possible good.

 


Tilapia – Seafood Health Facts

Tilapia – Seafood Health Facts
from seafoodhealthfacts.org


Some farming operations are using a technique called aquaponics to cultivate fish and vegetables or herbs together to produce two or more products in the same water based system.

Since 2006, Americans have consumed over 1 pound of tilapia per person each year. Predictions suggest it will remain a popular selection due to its mild flavor and taste, versatility in preparation, and competitive prices.

Tilapia has progressively grown in popularity since 2002 when it first entered the top ten list of the most frequently consumed seafood products in the United States. It is currently the fourth most popular type of fish behind tuna, salmon and Alaskan pollock, and the third most popular aquaculture or farm raised seafood product behind shrimp and salmon.

Types and Sources of Products

Tilapia is probably the oldest farm raised fish in the world. Stories from biblical scholars suggest it was the fish used by Jesus to feed the crowds at the Sea of Galilee, the so-called ‘St. Peter’s Fish’. Today, over 80 nations produce farm-raised tilapia including the United States. China is the largest producer accounting for over 50 percent of the world’s production.

There are many different species of tilapia. Aquaculture producers have developed various breeds or hybrids that grow efficiently to market size and have desirable appearance and flavor characteristics. The approved market name for all varieties is ‘Tilapia’, and the three primary species in the marketplace are: Nile or Black tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), Blue tilapia (O. aureus), and Mozambique or red tilapia (O. mossambicus). Although the species names imply different colors, the edible fillets or portions are very similar and more influenced by growing conditions and feeds than external colors.

Tilapia is a hardy herbivorous fish that feeds on algae or small aquatic plant cells, and is primarily raised in freshwater systems using cages, ponds, raceways or open waters. The water conditions in the farming operations have an important impact on product quality and taste. Tilapia has been called the “aqua-chicken” because of the breeding improvements and mass production methods that evoke comparisons to the land based chicken industry in the United States. Organic production methods for tilapia have been developed and some producers are seeking official recognition for their products.

Product Forms and Buyer Advice

Tilapia is popular because it is a mild flavored, white-fleshed fish that is available throughout the year at a competitive price. The most popular product form is skinless and boneless fillets ranging in size from 3 to 9 ounces (5 to 7 ounce fillets are the most common). Various processing and packaging methods are used to ensure that fillets have a mild flavor and retain their bright red color. During the early years of production, tilapia from some sources had unpredictable off-flavors that were associated with water conditions and certain types of algae from different freshwater farming operations. However, recent production improvements have introduced methods to prevent the development of off flavors and screen products to ensure that flavors are uniform.

As the tilapia market has grown, some efforts to creatively market this species or illegally change its name to something more appealing such as sunshine snapper, cherry snapper and pink snapper have occurred. Substituting tilapia for a more valuable species is also illegal, but stands as testimony to its quality attributes.

Nutrition Information

Tilapia has a low to moderate fat content, and is a rich source of high quality protein. A nutrition label for a 3 ounce cooked portion of tilapia is provided. Nutrient levels can be affected by the ingredients and cooking method used to prepare tilapia fillets.

Sustainability and Management

Tilapia is a sustainable farm-raised product. Because tilapia are herbivorous fish that feed on algae, there is no need for feeds produced from wild caught fish. Raising tilapia in some ponds or other small water bodies can actually help improve the quality of waters compromised by excessive algae blooms.

References

National Marine Fisheries Service, 2011. Fisheries of the United States 2010

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

New study maps where fish and seafood can be sustainably farmed

A tiny fraction of oceans could satisfy the world’s fish demand

New study maps where fish and seafood can be sustainably farmed

Aquaculture

 

by David Colgan | August 14, 2017

Ocean aquaculture is already the fastest-growing food sector, but a lot of work remains to reach its vast potential. From sashimi to smoked salmon, ceviche to mussels Provençal, seafood dishes are among the world’s best-loved culinary delights and dietary staples.

But the billions of people on the planet may love them too much. According to United Nations estimates, about 57 percent of fish stocks are exploited — meaning they can bear no more fishing without population decline — and 30 percent are over-exploited, depleted or recovering.

A solution may be on the horizon. According to a study published today and co-authored by Peter Kareiva, director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, ocean-farmed fish and seafood — or aquaculture — has the potential to satisfy global demand by using a tiny fraction of oceans. Freshwater fish farms have been around for a long time, but off-shore operations are a more recent development.

Drawing on the findings of the paper, which maps the global potential of aquaculture, a mere 0.025 percent of the world’s oceans could satisfy global demand for fish, which is at an all-time high. An area of prime locations the size of Lake Michigan could theoretically provide as much as all of the world’s wild-caught fisheries combined.

Kareiva said the findings offer hope for both the environment and people.

“We need to find more protein for our growing population, and we have pretty much tapped out wild fish as protein sources,” Kareiva said. “This study shows that farming fish in the ocean could play a huge role in feeding people without degrading our ocean or overfishing wild species.”

Previous research has mostly focused on specific aquaculture topics like where to best farm specific species, said Rebecca Gentry, the study’s lead author and a marine ecologist who got her doctorate from UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. When settling on the broad subject of the study, the research group — which includes non-governmental organizations, universities and industry experts — quickly discovered that there were many questions to answer.

“We realized that there is a lack of broad-scale science looking at how aquaculture can be done sustainably,” Gentry said. “We really didn’t know where it can be done, how much it can be done.”

First, they had to rule out areas that can’t be farmed — places like shipping lanes, marine protected areas and offshore drilling sites. They looked at the physiology of 180 species being farmed and what environments are most conducive to them, combining data like ocean depth, temperature and the biological needs of species. They also ruled out places that would be impractical given current technology — the middle of the ocean might be farmable in the future, but the industry can’t do it effectively now.

 

Portable Farms® – Go Solar and OFF GRID. So, Sexy.

Portable Farms® – Go Solar and OFF GRID. So, Sexy.
– By Colle and Phyllis Davis

 

PFAS LLC is now offering their Portable Farms® Kits designed for SOLAR installations.

The PFAS LLC Research Center installation at our headquarters in Southern Florida has been operating on solar power since last August and has not missed a beat. The system is 100% solar powered and you too can have a system solar powered Portable Farms® with 12v air compressors and timers.

Full disclosure: We use a slightly modified solar electric system with a 12VDC to 110v AC converter for the large air pump because of the noise factor. We have on hand and have used a 12v air compressor for the CAD Pump and it works just fine but is much noisier than the 110VAC compressor. You have been forewarned. 🙂

The PFAS LLC Florida solar electrical system:

solar panel

  A single 100 watt panel installed next to a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System        

The increasing demand from our students in areas of the world where electrical power is erratic or non-existent has prompted us to offer the Portable Farms® Kit that is part of the Aquaponics University Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course© with a 12 volt DC OPTION. The price is exactly the same as the regular 110 AC system, but we need to know when you order the AU Course or additional Portable Farms® Kits that you want the 12volt option.

solar systemWith the price of solar panels continuing to drop, the price/value proposition has swung over to favor the solar installations EVEN IF YOU HAVE GRID POWER. For example, the system in use –shown above – is a 100watt panel, MPPT controller, a 12v constantly on air pump for the air stones, a 12v timer, (here is where the difference in our system lies) a 700watt converter 12/110 to run a 110 VAC 65lmp air pump to run the CAD Pump and one deep cycle marine battery. That’s it. The system is bullet proof with all the controls on a panel under the Grow Table.

 

 

What will ‘going solar’ do for you?

  • Reduce the worry of a power failure that could impact your fish.
  • Reduce the cost of electrical power from your house. Our system will take about 2 year to pay for itself because so little power is needed for the Portable Farms®.
  • Increasing the solar installation size to run Grow Lights for winter growing will quadruple the size/cost and will take about 3.5 years to pay off depending on the size of the installation.
  • Give you incredibly huge bragging rights.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint.

There you have it, PFAS LLC has made solar power components an option with their Portable Farms® Kits. If you are planning a commercial installation the needs of a 10,000 sq ft (1,000m2) climatically adapted building on solar is about the same as a small 2 bedroom house. The main difference is that the Portable Farms® uses the most electricity when the sun is shining so the battery bank can be much smaller than for a house.

To insure you receive the correct power components for your Portable Farms® Kit(s) you must notify us when you receive your Congratulations on Graduating Letter (or before) so we send you the right Portable Farms® Kit.

Begin reducing your carbon footprint and enroll in the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course© today and let us know when you start, that you are joining the solar revolution and want the 12volt Portable Farms® Kit for your installation.

Growing Tomatoes in Aquaponics

 Growing Tomatoes in Aquaponics
-by Colle and Phyllis Davis

toms may 17 2013

(Photo above) Each of these tomatoes weighs approximately 1/2 pound. We harvested them from a Farms® Aquaponics System. THEY ARE DELICIOUS.

Tomatoes are the single most requested crop to grow in the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems. The expected yields in this article are based on growth from a single Grow Tray (shown below) and are very conservative. They are based on the lowest yield per plant, the shortest harvest cycle and the longest time a plant will remain in the Grow Table of the system. The actual production and yield is often two to four times the stated amounts in most cases especially after the operator becomes more skilled.

tomatoes colle may 3 2013

Colle Davis harvesting tomatoes

Tomatoes that have been planted and raised from a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems can be sold as locally-grown and pesticide free and after certification can also be called ‘organic’ meaning the grower can receive higher prices based on their growing methods and further reducing the ROI than stated in this article.

GFIA Portable Farms® Aquaponics System - Tomatoes 6Tomatoes present an interesting opportunity because of two factors: The first is that all tomatoes must be staked or trellised (vertical growing) to maximize yield. This keeps the plants upright and allows the utilization of the entire column of growing space from the Grow Table’s surface to the area 2m (6 feet) or more above the Grow Tables. Trellising can be seen as a type of natural vertical gardening. Trellising also makes harvesting much easier because the fruit is more readily accessible. Pollination is also easier due to the open access to the blossoms. Circulating fans are very effective in the pollination of most plants and reducing the humidity and heat when the plants’ blossoms are opened up on trellises.

To successfully grow tomatoes and other blooming plants (peppers, cucumbers, beans, etc.) year round requires the use of Grow Lights suspended above the Grow Tables in a climatically adapted environment. The investment in the Grow Lights and electricity for the purpose of growing blooming plants is offset by the increases in both variety and production.

One of the challenges with tomatoes is to determine how long to leave the plants in the gravel before removing them and replanting in the same spot in the gravel. The recommended spacing on tomatoes is 30cm (12 inches) and not to offset the rows for maximum outreach of the plant’s growth. Our research discovered that the plants begin to produce tomatoes at 81 – 89 days (depending on conditions) but after approximately six to eight months of growing in the gravel, the tomato plants develop such a large root ball (the size of a football) that they began to impede the effective flow of water through the Grow Tables. This is especially true when a Grow Table was planted with only tomatoes. This root ball’s large sized necessitates the removal of the mature tomato plant after the sixth to the eighth month. The immature tomatoes can be harvested before the plants are removed to add to the overall production. The gravel in the area is then cleared of root fragments, and a new plant is immediately placed in the same spot. This process is thoroughly and carefully covered in the Operations Manual© provided with each installation.

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, CEO of PFAS LLC, standing in front of a few tomato plants (10' tall) that supply hundreds of tomatoes while they're planted in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System. We generally leave the tomatoes in the grow trays about six months and then replant new tomatoes because their root systems grow too large (size of a football) for the grow trays.

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, CEO of PFAS LLC, standing in front of a few tomato plants (10′ tall) that supply hundreds of tomatoes while they’re planted in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System. We generally leave the tomatoes in the grow trays about six months and then replant new tomatoes because their root systems grow too large (size of a football) for the grow trays.

 Tomatoes from a single full size 5′ x 40′ (200 sq ft) or 6’ x 32’ [1.5m x 12m (18m2)] Grow Table:

  • Each Grow Table can hold 200 plants (1ft or 30cm centers) and be planted twice per year
  • Production (harvest time) is normally over a 60 to 85 day period
  • The plants require a three month growing period before harvest begins
  • Year round growing is accomplished with the use of grow lights above the Grow Tables and a carefully acclimatized greenhouse or warehouse structure
  • Tomato plants bloom to fruit ratio is increased greatly with the addition of FF Mineral Rock Dust. FF Mineral Rock Dust provides aquaponics growers the perfect balance of many trace elements not consistently available from just plain ordinary fish poop. Now you can grow consistently blooming plants with the addition of FF Mineral Rock Dust, as your plants and your fish poop will now contain adequate levels of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, just to mention four of the vital elements for successful growing in aquaponics.
  • Staking or trellising is required and can be installed permanently
  • No pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilizers are ever used
  • Tomatoes yield is between 5 and 9 lbs. [2 and 4k] per plant depending on variety
  • Yield per plant is 25 to 35 tomatoes per plant, depending on variety
  • Yield 55lbs [25k] per week
  • This level of yield give one 880 lbs. to 1,760lbs [400 to 800k] every six months
  • Or in one year 1,760 to 3,500lbs [800 to 1600k]
  • PLUS 330lbs [150k] of Tilapia per year from the Fish Tank below the Grow Table

Each Module contains one Grow Table, one Fish Tank and one Clarifier. The components to make the Module functional include the Portable Farms® Kit with the special pump and valve system, a control panel, air pumps and related hardware and wiring.

Each Module cost approximately US$3,300 completely installed. This does include the growing medium (gravel), but not the seeds or fish because the owner will be in charge of the seed variety and the fish will be procured locally at best prices.  The Modules require being housed in a climatically adapted greenhouse with one or more thermostatically controlled exhaust fans. In cold climates, more insulation is needed and in the tropics, the sides can be screen or netting.

By using the lowest yield with the shortest harvest season and two crops per space per year the Return On Investment will be approximately 55lbs per week at US$1.00 (very low price) or US$55.00 per week x 52 weeks = US$2,860 or a 1.4 year pay back. This does not include the greenhouse. In most cases this number will be much higher and will continue to rise as the operators become more skilled.

Please note: The above numbers are based on the lowest expected yields from field grown crops, using the shortest possible harvest time, plus the longest time from transplant to finish harvest. In other words, the lowest possible output from the Module for this crop is shown. The actual output from each Module can, and probably will be, from two to four times as high resulting in a much shorter ROI.

 


Fill & Drain vs. Raft Aquaponics

Fill & Drain vs. Raft Aquaponics
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

portable-farms-commercial-greenhouse-growingThe Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are ideally designed for community aquaponics growing.

One acre of land can accommodate four Portable Farms® modules that grow 320,000 vegetables and 92,000 pounds of fish which will feed 960 people all the food they need to be healthy FOREVER. Plus, it only takes 12 people to operate a full acre.

Most large aquaponics installations are designed on the ‘Virgin Island model.’ They are a raft system using a single large fish tank, heavy-duty pumps and filters, and long-shallow grow tanks where the rafts are gradually pushed from one end to the other as the plants mature. By moving the plants several times as they mature, the actual yield-per-square-foot of surface area is very high.

Let’s look at how the raft systems are designed: 

  • The fish tank(s) is very large, often thousands of gallons and the water is moved constantly by a single heavy duty pump from the fish tank to some sort of bio filter or filtration system.
  • The water often goes through an aeration system because the water flowing to the plants growing in the rafts need to have a very high oxygen content in the water for their roots or they will die.
  • The water is then returned to the fish tank with the nutrients stripped out and depleted in oxygen.

The weak points of this type of system are as follows:

  • There is a single large pump the controls the water flow out of the fish tank and if it fails, the fish die
  • The water at the end of the grow tanks needs to be lifted back up into the fish tank, this involves more pumping and the pumps can fail
  • The bio filter must be cleaned daily, or the waste will overwhelm the system and poison the plants
  • The plants are handled several times, first planted in some type of pot or medium, transplanted to a wider spacing, transplanted at least once more to their final raft and finally harvested
  • The system requires a very large amount of water to start and consumes large amounts of water because the fish tank is open on top and evaporation is taking place
  • The filtration system has also exposed the water to the air and evaporation takes place
  • Only small leafy vegetables can be raised in this system (mostly lettuce and basil)
  • The raft system works, and it works very well. It requires more water, more power and more labor to operate than the medium-based systems (gravel grow beds).

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems use a fill and drain, medium based system. Here is how this system works:

  • grow tray 2013aEach module is a standalone system with the fish tank, clarifier and grow tray working together
  • There is no limit to the number of modules in an installation (example, 30 modules fit into a 10,000 sq foot greenhouse)
  • The maximum amount of water in each tank is 400 gallons
  • The maximum number of fish in each tank is 400
  • The ‘bio filter’ is in two parts, the clarifier and the huge gravel bed. The clarifier only needs to be cleaned every two to four months and the gravel NEVER needs to be cleaned
  • The water is lifted one time (requiring electricity) using a small pump and the rest of the time it is flowing downhill back to the fish tank (gravity and flow)
  • The plants are handled three times. For greens, the seeds are planted into inert cubes, the seedlings/cubes are planted into the gravel and then at harvest time the entire plant is removed
  • Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, peas and other flowering plants can be grow in great quantities and harvested over time
  • Two full time employees are required for each 10,000 sq ft installation and most of their time is taken up with harvesting and planting, not moving and transplanting seedlings
  • IF the electrical power fails to the entire system, it is designed so well that the fish will survive 12 full hours without aeration and the plants can go a full 24 hours on the residual water in the gravel. That is a HUGE safety factor
  • If an individual pump fails it has no effect on the rest of the installation, only that particular module
  • Not transplanting is required

The differences are also reflected in the water and electrical usage:

  • A raft system uses over 15 times as much water initially, and requires four-to-ten-times as much makeup water as the PFAS commercial installation.
  • The raft system has more than one single point of failure and the PFAS has no single point of failure for an installation only in each module.
  • The electrical power requirements are four to six times higher in the raft system compared to the fill and drain medium based systems.

Bottom line: Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are ideally designed for community aquaponics growing. One acre of land can accommodate four Portable Farms® that grow 320,000 vegetables and 92,000 pounds of fish which will feed 960 people all the food they need to be healthy FOREVER. Plus, it only takes 8 people to operate a full acre. For more information on the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems contact us today.


GREAT RICH WITH AQUAPONICS ON ONE ACRE

GREAT RICH WITH AQUAPONICS ON ONE ACRE

– by Colle Davis, Phil Estes and Phyllis Davis 

Six greenbeans plants growing vertically.

Six greenbeans plants growing vertically in a Grow Table in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System, These six plans easily yielded 200 Kentucky Wonder Green beans with an average length of six inches each.


 

Colle Davis holding two green beans ranging from 10 inches to 12 inches in length.

Colle Davis holding two green beans ranging from 10 inches to 12 inches in length.

We always recommend our customers begin with a small aquaponics systems to learn to operate it and see if it meets their expectations. Even ONE MODULE to feed eight people is a realistic experiment to ‘get your hands wet.’

With an ROI (Return on Investment) of three to five years, and the possibility that by addressing a specific local market needed to produce a specialty (green) crop such as kale, basil or bok choy, and reducing the ROI to less than two years, investors start to take notice. When a single commercial installation pencils out to yield a net-net in the low six figures and the output can match any wholesale supplier’s prices and still make money, serious investors take note.

Commercial aquaponics installations are not subject to the normal vulgarities of the stock market, derivatives markets, political upheaval, drought, electrical outages, heat waves, unusually hot or cold weather or even state-sponsored corruption.

Aquaponics is trending and today, even city planners are focusing on funding for both hydroponics and aquaponics systems to create higher degrees of food security in large cities to feed their growing urban populations. Their plans include the use of vacant lots for the installation of attractive greenhouses and retrofitting empty warehouses for growing food year round with the addition of grow lights.

 

greenhouse vegetable productionThe most common request we receive from those would like to become commercial aquaponics farmers is from people who already have the land and want to begin to cover it in aquaponics installations, BUT they do not have the money to make the initial large investment.

One acre of flat, level land covered with four Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems can make you a millionaire and with an ongoing income of over $300,000 from the full acre per year NET. To fund this size operation all at one time requires approximately US$1.2Million.

Here are several scenarios that demonstrate how to achieve this level of success is stages over time.

Your personal situation will obviously differ from these specific instances, but you can use these scenarios as examples and then adjust them for your unique situation.

Assumptions:

  • Land cost is not a factor – meaning the land is owned or leased at a low rate already

  • You are willing to invest the time to prepare a quality business plan before you begin.

  • You have access to $200,000 of capital or the ability to borrow that much

  • Hard work is not a problem

  • Marketing is a passion and a way of life for you

  • You or your partners have successfully operated a growing business for more than 5 years.

abp

clipart-farm2 aquaponics

Five Suggested Scenarios and Options for Beginning your Aquaponics Business  

First Scenario: You already own the land and it has access to electricity and water and it is mostly flat and level.  While solar power and well water are options, they come with additional costs. This land is located near your potential markets for selling your food, and you do not have the investment capital to begin the project. Currently, your land is not paying you anything in return but you are paying taxes on it, and there are other normal expenses that you incur by owning it.

(Brace yourself, this suggestion may hurt . . . )

Sell enough of your land to fund the first acre or even the first 10,000 sq. ft. aquaponics installation. That way, it is your money you are investing in your own aquaponics business and you are paying yourself back with interest. For example, the ‘average’ size of currently owned acreage of those we have talked with, is 10 to 12 acres (the range is from 2 acres to several thousand acres). If a portion of this land was sold, even most of it, the project could be at least partially funded from the proceeds.

Portable Farm biz group

Second Scenario:  Refinance the land and use the proceeds to build the first aquaponics installation(s). This may or may not please your banker, but he will enjoy being paid back in a few years.

SHAKINGHANDSWITH

Third Scenario:

Find some partners to fund the installation of the aquaponics installation on your land. Be the ‘land guy’ and be willing to structure the deal so you are the last to be paid off. After all, it is your land and the installation is on your property and it will be producing income far into the future. You may even want to structure the deal to pay off your partners in total, first, and then you will continue to receive all the income for yourself.

 

couple in country

Fourth Scenario:

You don’t own the land but you know someone who does own it, and you are willing to do all the work to make this project happen. Ask them for permission for you to use one acre of their land for aquaponics installations for a piece of the action. In layman’s terms this means they receive some of the profits. Approach several other investors to fund the installations and then you would provide the hard work of operating the commercial aquaponics system. This is the hardest scenario to accomplish UNLESS you have a proven track record running businesses. 

Greenhouse

Fifth Scenario:

Find a number of existing greenhouses in your area that you can lease and then install the Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Modules to fit the greenhouse(s). Then use this installation to generate the capital needed to finance the expansion of additional units on your unused property. The upfront cost of doing this is a fraction of the cost of building from scratch.

Okay, enough with the options, let’s get down to the numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • A single 10,000 sq. ft. facility can hold approximately 30 Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Modules costing from $80,000 to $100,000, installed

    • The ROI can be from 2 to 4 years depending on your markets and the crops you choose to grow and sell

    • Payroll for two full time employees to operate a single commercial PFAS Unit (30 modules)

    • The Net-Net for this example is US$100,000 per year

    • Four PFAS Units (120 modules) are needed to be a millionaire

    • Four PFAS Units will require approximately US$1,000,000 of initial investment.

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems harvesting a PRIZE WINNING 17-lb bok choy. Oh the joys of aquaponics . . . the fun just never ends! :)

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems harvesting a PRIZE WINNING 17-lb bok choy. Oh the joys of aquaponics . . . the fun just never ends! 🙂

To start, do your homework, complete your marketing survey, talk to the casino, high-end restaurant and resort hotel chefs to see how much of their weekly produce they are willing to buy from you. Talk to at least TEN chefs, add the numbers of different vegetables they are requesting together, divide by two (this gives you the built-in expansion for your business) and design your installation to fulfill that amount of produce by the end of your first year of production.

Yep, it’s a LOT of hard work, focus, yours and/or other people’s money and a dedication to bringing the finest food on the planet to your market that can make you a millionaire is a few short years. You actually have to do the work to get there. PFAS LLC’s Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems technology is one way to have fun in the process.

A 10,000 sq ft greenhouse with Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems installed. Location: Botswana Africa.

A 10,000 sq ft greenhouse with Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems installed. Location: Botswana Africa.

Commercial aquaponics programs will change the face of aquaponics, make their investors very happy, create jobs for thousands of people and equally important, provide the highest quality, locally grown food for the growing middle class around the world. The technology of aquaponics, especially as a viable alternative to long-food-miles groceries is finally becoming a part of mainstream thinking. As the acceptance of aquaponics moves from fringe idea to proven commercial production, there has been a profound shift in those who are interested in applying the technology and how they are affecting the industry. Now the moneyed people (read serious investors), the visionaries with immense deep pocket connections and the people who can make a difference in the world are stepping into the arena to be serious players.

Aquaponics is at least 4,700 years old and has been practiced in various forms in many places in the world, especially where population pressures were high and the land was limited in some fashion. Maximizing the nutrient stream is critically important when land is restricted. The use of animal’s waste to encourage the growth of aquatic plants and animals is an elegant solution to a waste water management problem. Modern aquaponics offers a locally based, extremely high yield, food production facility that also provides permanent full time jobs for semi-skilled workers. When a concentration of modern aquaponics installations occurs, an increasingly sophisticated and broader administrative function is required to run them effectively. Another benefit of these installations is the creation of many secondary jobs. These additional jobs normally add four to seven additional local positions in the support function businesses.


Quick Answer: The Difference Between Hydroponics vs Aquaponics

Hydroponic lettuce

Commercially Grown Hydroponic Lettuce

Quick Answer: “What’s the Difference Between Hydroponics vs Aquaponics?”
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

  • A commercial aquaponics system creates immediate jobs and food for semi-skilled people trained in less than a week
  • Permanent fulltime jobs and year round food production in three months in greenhouses or warehouse
  • Grows pesticide free food, table vegetables and fish, raised in simple yet revolutionary new technology that replicates nature
  • Installation can be solar powered
  • Total sustainability can be achieved by selling most of the food production to local markets.

Hydroponics is a very recent technology first noted in the 17th Century; the name itself was only coined in 1937 from the Greek words for ‘water’ and for ‘work’ by William Frederick Gericke of the University of California at Berkeley. He grew a 25′ tomato plants in his backyard using only mineral salts in water.

As amazing and productive as hydroponic is, there is a built in problem with the technology. The nutrient solution used in the growing of the plants eventually has to be ‘changed out’ or it will become toxic to the plants, even if the system is being run organically because some of the nutrients become concentrated in the water and even adding water to dilute it, there comes a time when it must be changed out. Therein lies the rub . . .

The ‘liquor’ as it is called, is now designated by the EPA as toxic waste and must be disposed of properly by qualified personal using approved techniques. Another way to say this is that the waste disposal for hydroponics is expensive and needs to be disposed of by experts. This makes the hydroponic waste removal a much larger expense than most people realize and it’s a topic that’s almost never discussed by those selling hydroponic systems.

Hydroponics has a much older and more benign sister, aquaponics that has been around for over 4,500 years and is the exact same system that nature uses to break down waste to reuse the resulting byproducts to grow new plants and this process has been going on naturally for billions of years.

The waste products in aquaponics are non toxic, usable on other plants and can even be dumped down a sewer system because they will not harm sewage systems. The waste from an aquaponics system is a valuable fertilizer for plants, shrubbery, trees, or grass. One owner of a small commercial Portable Farms® Aquaponics System even sells his Settling Tank waste as an organic fertilizer and gets US$25 per 5 gallon container and the client picks it up at his greenhouse. Considering that each Module of Portable Farms® produces approximately 50 gallons of waste water every six weeks which can become a nice extra source of income for the installation owner.

In aquaponics, there are no toxic chemicals used because they might kill either the plants or the fish.

Insecticides that help control pests on the plants will nearly always kill the fish. Organic becomes a way of life which makes for a much safer and healthier food supply. Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are organic by definition because they contain NO dirt and use no chemicals (insecticides or fertilizers) to grow the plants.

Today, your family can enjoy one of the oldest food-growing technologies wrapped up in a modern, easy to build and operate system in your own backyard, patio or greenhouse.

  • There have been over 300 different varieties of plants (also referred to in this report as ‘table vegetables’) that have been tested and can be grown successfully in a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems.
  • The major food groups that are not recommended for Portable Farms® are root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, etc.) and field crops such as corn, wheat, soy or rice. Perennial plants (strawberries, blackberries, asparagus, etc.) are not recommended because the plants are dormant many months each year and do not produce harvestable food year round. Plus, we recommend growing all plants from seeds and not bringing in plants raised in soil into the structure which can introduce pathogens that can harm the other plants in the structure.

 

You Can Feed Your Family Healthy Food Forever OR Buy a Used Car

portable-farms-questionFeed Your Family Healthy Food Forever OR Buy a Used Car 
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Create Food Security and Food Safety for Your Family!

Which is a better investment?

          • Providing your family with fresh, healthy food that will last FOREVER . .
          • Or, buying a used car? 

 

portable-farms-affordable-food-forever-used-car

 

Do you want to provide your family with food for the rest of their lives, or spring for that used car that you will have to replace again in a few years? Interestingly, they cost about the same amount.

 

 

 

 

portable-farms-aquaponics-system-farmThe cost will vary mostly depending on the cost of the greenhouse itself. (Please note: We don’t sell greenhouses but we can recommend you to reputable greenhouse companies that we trust.) Some greenhouses are fancier than others and you may have most of the materials already available, there may be an empty greenhouse you can rent or you may be able to build a lean-to type structure on the side of your house for less money. You may even find a greenhouse that someone wants taken away for FREE.

This total amount includes the Aquaponics University Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course© which even has the PFAS Technology Kit as part of the purchase price.

 

Here’s the full cost breakdown of a backyard aquaponics system: READ ON . . . 

  • Greenhouse: Must be able to keep the interior temperature between 40 and 104° F. The costs are dependent on your choice of design
  • Wooden or concrete floor/slab – from $100 to $300
  • Insulated stem wall to set the greenhouse on top of for more height – 2×4’s and plywood – $250 to $350
  • Fish tank – sometimes known of as a livestock watering trough  – $150
  • Lumber for the Grow Tray – 2×4’s, 2×6’s, plywood, etc – between $800 and $1,200
  • PVC pipe and fittings  – $100
  • Misc – $250

You may even have some of the materials on hand or have access to recycled materials at a reduced cost. Even if you have to pay full retail price for everything, an operating aquaponics farm is a fantastically good deal. Plus, a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System is infinitely expandable because of it modular design. You can expand it and begin selling the excess to create a small income.

Imagine a 12 ft wide lean-to greenhouse 24 ft long off the south side of your house. In this arrangement the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems is a carbon negative installation because it contributes more energy to the house than it consumes on an annual basis. There are installations with wood burning stoves inside them to keep them from freezing in very cold climates. Every installation is different and unique. You are only limited by your imagination and your budget.

In commercial installations, our foreman, with a crew of four, can build 30 operating Modules that are 5ft x 40ft in one week. Building a module is not rocket science and the construction is straight simple carpentry and the Aquaponics University Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course© has pictures and step-by-step instructions about how to build the Portable Farms Modules. You can have your own aquaponics farm up and running in a matter of weeks and be enjoying fresh home-grown greens is a little as five weeks after completion. Now THAT’S exciting.

Where will you be investing your money? In your family’s health and future or in that used car that will depreciate the moment you pay for it? Take our Aquaponics University Course now and build an aquaponics farm that will be producing food for your family within a couple of months. That food will continue to be there for your family FOREVER.


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