Aquaponics Roundup April 2014

A recent article on highlights some important points about the state of aquaponics projects being undertaken by the British Aquaponic Association and the aquaponics industry as a whole.  The Association held a conference in March to bring “the pioneers of a fledging UK industry together with the aim of building an open, united and profitable industry.”  For many of us who believe that aquaponics offers a potential solution to our future food needs, such collaboration represents an important step in devoping the industry into “a method of sustainable food production that will benefit the whole world.”

photo credit – Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi

The versatility of aquaponics will help.  Aquaponics has found a home everywhere from backyards to rooftops in “New York, Detroit, Rotterdam, Montreal, Tokyo, and…Singapore” and farms to converted factories like this former brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota.

photo credit – Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi

Aquaponics offers a potential solution for those of us who “want to be a part of sustainable change that safeguards our future and that is why I believe in aquaponics. Not only because it can produce a sustainable source of food almost anywhere, but because it can also be used as a tool to help others.”

Stay tuned to and follow @kevinsvogel on twitter for the latest aquaponics news and analysis.

What’s up with Ron Finley?

Seeing as how it’s been awhile since we last mentioned Ron Finley, and that he is somewhat of a paragon here at Vogelpeace Farms, we thought we’d check in on the world’s favorite renegade food grower.  Since delivering a TED talk that has been watched over a million times, Ron became somewhat of a media sensation, and has been the focus of interviews and features all over the web, from Natural News and HGTV, to The New York Times and CBS News.  Additionally, Ron was named one of ICON MANN’s 28 Men of Change, defined as “One who uses his power to create great and significant change by unapologetically conquering everything he envisions.”

“Kids that grow kale eat kale.  Kids that grow tomatoes eat tomatoes.  Period.”  Ron continues to be a great motivator for us, and I hope his ultra-practical message inspires something in you as well.  More recently, Ron gave another TED talk at a TEDx event in the Midwest:

You can follow Ron Finley at, subscribe to his mailing list, and stay tuned here for more updates from THE gangster gardener.

A Couple of New Sites Aimed at Conservation

There are a pair of recent websites in the arena of environmental conservation on a global scale.  One allows individuals and organizations to more easily monitor deforestation conditions, and another offers a secure, anonymous way to report environmental offenses.  Both seem as though they will be invaluable tools moving forward.

Global Forest Watch

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new online tool called Global Forest Watch employs a trove of high-resolution NASA satellite imagery and large amounts of computing power to help governments, conservation organizations, and concerned citizens monitor deforestation in “near-real time.” Organized by the World Resources Institute (WRI), Global Forest Watch uses satellite data to track changes in forest cover since 2000. It’s the first tool with the capability of monitoring forests on a monthly basis, potentially allowing groups to take action against deforestation while it’s in progress. Businesses committed to eliminating deforestation from supply chains can also use the tool to verify that vendors are not engaging in practices that harm forests. A custom alert feature can also notify a user when there are signs of deforestation in a region the user has selected. “Businesses, governments and communities desperately want better information about forests,” said WRI president Andrew Steer. “Now, they have it.”

via Yale Environment 360 source


image courtesy

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A new whistleblower site offers people a secure and anonymous way to report incidents of poaching, wildlife trafficking, and illegal logging around the world. The site is called WildLeaks, a nod to the well-known WikiLeaks site, and it’s backed by the California-based Elephant Action League. Users can upload documents, video, or images detailing the crimes, and submissions will be encrypted so data and identities remain secure. The aim is to provide a safe way for citizens to report these illegal activities so that local and federal governments can take action. Prosecuting wildlife crimes and illegal logging is often a low priority in countries where some of the worst offenses occur; moreover, local government corruption often deters people from reporting such crimes, organizers say. “We [will] work to transform this information into a verified and actionable item, a point for launching an investigation or sharing it with the media or, when possible, with selected and trusted law enforcement officers, always aiming at exposing wildlife crimes and bringing the responsible individuals to justice,” said the WildLeaks project leader.

via Yale Environment 360 source //


Aquaponics and Permaculture

Here at VogelPeace Farm, we recently posted some aquaponics resources we’re using to help design our own fish-powered garden system.  Whether or not you can make a living from a backyard aquaponics system alone, the benefits and advantages of aquaponics are clear and these systems would make a great addition to virtually any permaculture system.

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Combining these systems makes sense on so many levels, but one emergent advantage is the increase in the diversity of the food supply you can generate, as well as the accompanying increase in the span of nutritional benefits derived from the variety of food sources being supplied.  Sustainable-farmed fish is a great source of protein, and in a good aquaponics set-up is accompanied by a diverse supply of vitamins and minerals from salad crops and vegetables.  Depending on the setting of your permaculture design, aquaponics could prove to be the best available use of a given space.

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Which is not to say abandon permaculture and rely solely on aquaponics.  A measured assessment necessarily leads to the conclusion that incorporating the best principles and even expounding upon synergies between the disciplines will lead to the best overall system.  Permaculture is the path and aquaponics is one of many weapons in our arsenal of sustainability, and eventually regeneration.


There was a great episode of the Permaculture Podcast on Rewilding that is worth a listen.  They discuss the concepts of re-connection, regeneration, and rebellion as they relate to permaculture in the garden, in the community, in the wild, and way beyond.

I will leave you with a talk by Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden, “How permaculture can save humanity and the planet, but not civilization” :