Monday, September 23, 2013

Lunch With Joel Salatin

A Lunch I Will Never Forget

On Saturday 09-21-2013 my husband and I were sitting at the back table inside of the grand ballroom at the Loews Ventura center. We were waiting to hear the Aquaponics Association speaker Joel Salatin come up to the stage. I knew who he was and I admired his work and passion.

We were in the midst of listening to a speech given by James Hollyer about food safety (which my husband already knew a lot about because of once being in the restaurant industry), a man sat down next to me in the empty chair. No big deal just move your stuff over a bit and let him have some leg room Victoria.

At first I had no clue who he was and asked him "Do you have enough room to sit?" as I moved my notepad over for the man to have some extra space. "Yes I'm fine thanks." The man pulled out his notebook and started to make some notes about the lecture being given.

Once the lecture was over, Casey told the audience, lunch was being served in the foyer and there would be a 30 minute break. I still had no idea who was sitting next to me until the man stood up and I could see his name tag and read Joel Salatin. I then happily introduced myself along with the ASC Magazine and asked him if he would consider writing us an article at some point. I then left the business stuff alone and decided to have a NORMAL conversation with Joel Salatin.

I asked Joel how did he like the Tucson heat? He said he wasn't going outside for that reason (96 degrees on Saturday) and I agreed that was a smart move. Then we moved into conversations about the Australian heat, what part of Australia I was from, how rich the mining was in Australia, the changes in the land with fracking, bad erosion in New Zealand and how much Joel really enjoyed Australia and New Zealand. "I really love that Australian accent, it's so refreshing." he said.  Did I just score some brownie points on the accent? Or maybe we were having a great conversation because I treated Joel Salatin just like a regular guy.

Mike and I went off to get some lunch and came back to the table. Joel came back with his plate and sat down with us and the conversation started up again with Joel, Mike, me and Glen Martinez from Olomana Gardens.

Glen already knew Joel from other conferences and there was some reminiscing and laughs between the two. You know Joel Salatin is a pretty nice and very approachable man.  The lunch conversation started out with farms and the deadly bacteria's that now exist in food like E-Coli and Listeria. There were all kinds of comments back and forth where these bacteria came from and the whole food safety speech.

In chimes the young woman at the table "I just love your work and I have all of your books Mr. Salatin and we are big fans," with the big eyes and tilted head smile, as she ate 2 lettuce leaves and 3 slices of tomato for lunch. (The rest of us were eating a good lunch composed of rolls, meats, salads and cheesecake.)  Joel smiled politely and gave a very quick "Thank you, that's very much appreciated" and moved back to the conversation with myself, Mike and Glen.

Most of the time if you treat famous people like you have known them all your life, you are more likely to have a great conversation with them. Many of them don't want to be ogled over, they just want to be treated like everyone else.

Growing Up and Remembering

I made a few comments about how it was when I was growing up, "I was raised on a sheep farm with over 1500 head of sheep. I used to dislike it when the cattle trucks came in and hauled the sheep away. They used to cram the sheep in with their necks sticking up high and all squashed together. Hauling sheep for hundreds of miles in that condition."

"My mother had a big vegetable patch and we used a lot of dried out sheep poop in the garden. We also had chickens, ducks and horses. I never even knew what bacteria was and no-one ever was sick from eating our vegetables. The farms used to trade and share produce and the chickens would run loose in the garden and no-one ever considered separating one animal area from another. They just all got along" There were heads nodding and comments made about their farms being about the same, as they remembered.

I then said "I never had an allergy until I came to live in America. Up until then I was free of swollen eyes, sensitive skin and sinus issues." Again there was more head nodding and uh-huh noises made as we ate lunch.

When Joel Salatin gave his speech to the Aquaponics Association one of his opening lines was "That some of us grew up on farms, never even knowing what the word bacteria meant." I just smiled because I guess what I said resonated with him.

I was very glad I had the opportunity to meet and have lunch with Joel Salatin. He is just an average, down to earth, easy going man. He has a common sense approach to farming, bacteria and getting back to the land. I totally agree with what he says too.

Our society has become so disconnected that we are afraid of germs, bacteria and we have separated everything that helps the natural cycles of things work the way they are supposed to. I have to say it, official personnel and science don't know everything, as a matter of fact they have got a lot wrong. You only need to see GMO to know it's all screwed up. Joel Salatin lets his pigs go wild in his compost pile to make it better. I am sure food safety people would have a heart attack over this.

You know what? Our bodies are made up of thousands of different bacteria and Joel is right about mixing things up. It is the separation of this animal from the other one that causes the problems. Cows were supposed to go into the corn occasionally, just like my mothers chickens went scratching around in her vegetable garden patch. You are supposed to get dirty and have bacteria on your hands, clothes and body. How can we ever fight infections if our bodies don't know some of these bacteria's?

The Moral of The Story: 

Be real with people. Use a more common sense approach to life. Have good down to earth conversations. You never know how many people you can reach with information about aquaponics, gardening, permaculture farming and living healthy lives.  I learned something wonderful from Joel Salatin...just be yourself. 

Thanks for the memory and I hope we can do it again one day!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fish Diseases And State Regulations

Why All The Rules Over Raising A Few Fish? 

The last post that we placed on this blog raised a few questions within the community along with a few heated words.  For the most part I understand that most people are fed up with all the "can't do, do you have a permit and get all your ducks in a row first." It's a pain and none of us really like fines or the fact we feel our lives are governed by laws. Seriously, I understand these feelings too.

Pointing out to people that each State have their own rules and regulations about raising and keeping fish is a responsible thing to do, especially when you have a community of nearly 14,000 people on Facebook. (None of the people in our community are paid fans, promotional coupon joins or any other way to get likes on the page. Our community is made up of real people with all organic searches who have genuinely joined the page.)

At this point, I feel I have a responsibility to give people the correct information they need, to make informed decisions about keeping and raising fish in their state. I am certainly not here to tell anyone what they can or cannot do and that's definitely NOT the point with aquaponics fish.

Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites

There are different bacteria's, parasites and infectious diseases, regarding fish and farming. Mentioning these problems to people is also a responsible thing to do. (This month in the ASC Magazine we highlighted the EWS technology from OriginOil, which can help reduce these issues with aquaculture farms.) It is even possible that wild fish can contract diseases from other people flushing their poor dead goldfish down the toilet or releasing a fish into a local lake. If the fish were sick, that toilet flush could eventually cause the native species to become infected with bacterial problems.

No-one says your fish will have any problems but what if you did buy some fingerlings that were sick would you know what to do to treat them? This is why it's a wise decision to check out the breeders credentials first.

NO...we are not trying to frighten you, we are only asking that you consider questioning your fish purchasing sources first. Many breeders have healthy clean fish and these are the people who are usually state board certified, BUT it will only take one under the table seller to make things difficult.

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia is a deadly infectious fish disease. It afflicts over 50 species of freshwater and marine fish in several parts of the northern hemisphere. VHS is caused by the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), different strains of which occur in different regions, and affect different species. This link will direct you to a PDF with more information about the infection.

In the end purchasing any fish for aquaponics, comes down to you. 

It is your aquaponics system, your fish and your responsibility. We have provided what we feel was good researched information for you to take the next step and make better informed decisions. 

We wish you many happy years in raising happy, healthy fish!

Warm Regards


Friday, September 13, 2013

Aquaponics Fish and State Regulations

Why It's Important To Know The Regulations

Most of us do not like regulations or paying for licenses and yearly fees. I totally get that because it is a pet peeve for me too. However when it comes to buying, keeping and selling of fish with aquaponics there are good reasons why everyone needs to understand the state laws. 

Because Aquaponics is a fairly new way to grow produce and proteins together there are a lot of regulation loopholes at this time. Some people will take advantage of this to make a quick dollar while jeopardizing the safety of others.

This month the ASC Magazine started a series of articles about raising fish in aquaponics, what types of fish and state regulations. ASC contributing writer Adam Cohen (who is also Vice Chairman and Director of Education of the Aquaponics Association) started the series off, with the state laws in Texas. Click here to read more about the article:  

One of the things the Aquaponics Association does, is to help people with the education process regarding aquaponics. Being a part of the Aquaponics Association also tells other people that you understand these state requirements and will follow the rules. 

There are people on the internet who will tell you that you can raise fish, sell fingerlings and make lots of money in the process. That's not exactly true, especially if the issue of state permits and regulations is never mentioned or just lightly touched upon. What will eventually happen to other breeders who do follow the regulations, is that loosely worded behavior like this, will result in serious clamp downs on everyone else involved in the aquaponics industry.

Before anyone considers buying fish, you need to find out if your state will even allow you to keep certain species at your home or place of business. Find out what the permitting restrictions are first or what species of fish you can keep. The link we are providing,  has the phone numbers and addresses for every state from the US Fish and Wildlife service. CLICK HERE

Tilapia Are Considered An Exotic Species

Many USA states have strict guidelines you have to follow first before you can keep and raise them. In countries like Australia you cannot even handle them. It is against the law.  

Important Information You Should Know First 
Some internet sites like Craiglist and Pennysavers have people openly selling fingerlings to the public. This is perfectly legal if the breeder is State Certified and carries the special permits to do so.

BEFORE YOU BUY ANY FISH you must find out about the breeder and their permits first. The first time YOU are caught transporting live fish from an illegal breeder, the responsibility is placed back on you! Huge fines or even considerable jail time could result. Additional felonies could be imposed, if the fish you are transporting are infected with bacteria. Therefore you will need to know if there are any parasites, bacteria or other infectious problems with the fish you are buying off the breeder.  Check the breeders credentials first with the state or see if there are any complaints filed against the seller.  

The biggest concern which the wildlife services have, is releasing some of these introduced species back into USA lakes and streams. Tilapia are prolific breeders and if released into natural waterways, they could quickly take over some of the native species of the local areas. For Tilapia this applies mostly to the warmer waters in the southern states but Tilapia can reach sexual maturity very quickly, so there is a possibility of the young finding their way around.

I would like to mention that the laws apply for different fish species which can also be used in aquaponics systems and not just Tilapia.

These rules and regulations have already been set up from each state around the USA. We are not here to tell you what to do but rather point out there are laws. Here are just some of the state regulations below:

Indiana Laws:       Click on this link
Texas Law:          Click on this link
Iowa Law:           Click on this link 
Maine Law:         Click on this link
Minnesota Law:   Click on this link
Wisconsin Law:   Click on this link
Tennessee Law:   Click on this link
North Carolina:    Click on this link
Colorado:            Click on this link

The illegal introduction of any fish into any Maine water is a Class E crime, punishable by fines of up to $10,000. That's a lot of money even if you were not aware of doing something wrong. So before you think you are getting a good deal off someone with 100 fingerlings, that good deal could quickly go sour if you end up with fines or even doing time. All of these headaches for transporting and harboring illegal species, can simply be avoided by doing your homework first!

I have also mentioned these legal requirements in the back of my book the "Essential Fish Care In Aquaponics" because I believe this is very important information for people to know first.

Lesson: Buyer beware!   (Caveat emptor) 

Warm Regards


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Aquaponics Conference In Tucson Draws Near

Will YOU Be There?

For those of you who live locally in Tucson, AZ you are very fortunate this year as the aquaponics conference will only be a short trip away to attend. September 20th to 22nd will kick off the weekend events.

The beautiful Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is the setting for what is yet to be the biggest conference of the year for aquaponics. Address: 7000 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ 85750 Phone: 1 (800) 992 2694

Even if you are not a commercial aquaponics grower there are still plenty of good reasons to attend the conference. By joining the Aquaponics Association you have the guidance and the knowledge base of a whole community at large. The association can help people with small grants  and allow you the opportunity to network with others connected in the aquaponics industry.

There are now over 50,000 searches a month on Google for the keyword "aquaponics." That should tell anyone that there is a lot of interest in this amazing technique of growing healthy foods. 

The conference is about teaching and educating people with the latest ideas and ways to help the industry grow. As more people become involved with aquaponics there will be a greater need for the Association to help others.

Special guest speakers includes Joel Salatin and Max Meyers. Joel is a well known author and owner of Polyface farms. For More information about the events related to the conference or joining the Association please click on the link provided. CLICK HERE:

See you all in Tucson!

Warm Regards

Victoria kelley

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

ASC Magazine and OriginOil

The EWS Technology From OriginOil

This month in the ASC Magazine we are highlighting an amazing story from OriginOil. 

Sometimes in the world, there are incredible inventions which can change lives for the better and increase business production. OriginOil wrote an amazing article for the ASC Magazine about their EWS technology. 

Nicholas Eckleberry is the inventor of the EWS technology along with being co-founder of OriginOil. Nicholas has authored or co-authored thirteen patent applications in the field of algae production and commercialization.

So exactly how what does this technology work? 

It takes filthy ammonia, bacteria ridden water and turns it into usable clean water. The water from pictures in the article went from green to clear, which is great news if you want to have healthy fish. We received a photograph from the company showing a man drinking the water after it had been cleaned. 

For the aquaculture industry this can easily revolutionize how they keep their ponds clean. The majority of our fish now comes from aquaculture farms. The problem that many farmers face are serious problems with ammonia, bacteria and other nasty things in the water. Many fish die and it can create a huge problem for the industry. The EWS technology can eliminate these issues. 

OriginOil are already showing the world that we can use algae as a form of oil and now they are showing the aquaculture industry, they have a solution to the problems with keeping fish ponds clean. The technology is quite remarkable. 

If you would like to read more about September's cover article please click on the link within the cover picture or you can go here

I could also see how this type of technology could help third world countries have clean drinking water. It can take out bacteria and parasite problems that countries like India have with their water. I can see all kinds of great uses for the EWS technology. 

As a matter of fact I was contacted by a man from India who wanted to know more about this type of system for his town. He had seen a highlight of the article and he was very interested to know more. Most of us will never know how precious a clean drink of water is in the western world, but yet it is still a huge problem in places like India. 

Warm Regards


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Aquaponics Survival Communities

Who are we? 

Everybody, someone, people, experts, beginners, hobbyists, children and human beings. That's a whole lot right there!

The ASCommunity is a combination of experts, beginners, hobbyists, moms, dads, grandparents and commercial growers. I think most of us are aware that the food we are now eating can no longer be regarded as real food.  Join the community  :-)

Our community continues to grow everyday because more than ever before people are now starting to realize they need to grow their own food sources if they want healthy safe produce.

Once upon a time humans put their hands in the dirt and never gave a second thought to toxic or contaminated soils. Every year we grew vegetables that kept our bodies strong and healthy. We helped our neighbors and shared vegetables with each other. No-one ever grumbled about Peggy's tomatoes or Jimmy's fresh eggs. It was just expected that people were kind enough to share what they had with each other. After all isn't that what communities are supposed to do?

We once happily fished in the ocean and bought home clean, healthy fish for the family to eat. We never gave a second thought to any contamination, bacteria or radiation. If our neighbors went fishing, you could be assured that Bob would swap you out a few fish for some eggs or fruits. These types of neighbors sound like wonderful people to me. Raise your hand if you think so too!

Sustainability is also a huge part of our community. Growing your own food is only part of what we need to do now. Living in homes that sustain us and not the other way around is also necessary. We need to relearn techniques that we have forgotten. Knowing how to find wild edibles, which grow in abundance all the time is important (these plants contain no GMO either). If there was nothing to eat would you know how to forage? Do you know how to make water clean enough to drink?

What are we doing to the soil, oceans and ourselves? 

We are now at the crossroads folks. Deny it if you will and there are still people who believe that it's not as bad as others make it out to be. OK if you say so, I will leave it at that. I sincerely hope you are right.

All I can say is, why would a scientist come out of retirement after ten years, to speak out against things like GMO. He was quite happy in his garden growing his own food. Maybe he wanted us to hear the real truth? I don't know why Dr Thierry Vrain would do such a thing unless he was concerned for the future.

I am no scientist but I have been listening a lot lately to those who specialized in biology & agriculture. They have way more experience than me...and even they cannot guarantee complete safety anymore. So what it boils down to; there is no escaping the fact that we have no real choice but to grow our own food now. Only YOU can know exactly what you are growing. Only YOU will know the food you are feeding your children is safe and healthy.

Our Children's Future

My daughter had a baby in June and she asked me yesterday "Mom what do I say to Kace in 15 years from now about the food he is expected to eat?"

I told her that you teach him to grow his own food. You grow aquaponics food and teach him the same. You teach him about seed saving and you show him how to grow worms. You teach him because you are the best teacher he will ever have! A parents love will teach him the earth bound roots he so desperately needs now.

This is what the Aquaponics Survival Communities is about....teaching the next generation and getting back to basics. We have a magazine that everyone can be involved with. I have thoroughly enjoyed the articles that everyone has contributed so far.

I cannot do all of this by myself and I need your help too. I do not claim to be a worldwide authority but rather I am also a mother and grandmother just like millions of other women are.  I want something better to pass onto the future and I am sure you feel the same way too.

Help me teach the children and lets help each other in the process. We can become like the bough of an old oak tree; strong and live long, when we stand together, demand good foods and a healthy future for everyone.

Warm Regards

Victoria Kelley