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Old 11-13-2008, 05:58 PM   #1
Carol
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Default Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next yea

As some may or may not know Hawaii depends on 97% of its food to be flown or shipped in. In fact, even Taro is shipped in and we can't get enough of it to keep on the shelves.

My big concern after listening to George Green and his concerns about friends who live here on the islands is what are we going to do if shipping stops? We can live with out gas and electricity as our climate is temperate.. but we do need food. Even though we are surrounded by miles of farm land with one of the biggest cattle ranches in the United States and the ocean to feed us fish.. we have barely tapped our own natural resources.

When I was a Public Health Educator I was trained on how to do both county-wide and State-wide communications, education coordination and activism. Part of my job was to work with the schools, businesses, medical community , law enforcement, Social Services and Mental Health. My major role was one of Co-ordinator. Now I see a very growing need for this state to be self-sustainable food-wise.

I've already done some activist work with our State Governor and representatives to promote aquaponics (growing fish, vegatables, frutis) and have been in training learning what is needed to set up a commerical system. However, what really needs to happen is to down scale this system to a family model that can easily fit in one's back yard or flat roof top for city areas.

These self-contained units are designed to circulate and clean the fish poop out of the water so that it goes back into the fish tank. The fruit and vegetables from these systems are incredibly nutritious and taste wonderful due to the roots being exposed to the fishes excrement. The roots act as a biomass filter for the water to pass through before being pumped back into the fish tank (comercial system tank is made out of plywood and is 12' by 12'. The plywood is treated with a fiber glass coating so as to preserve the wood. The water beds on the commercial system are 30 feet long 2 feet wide and 12 inches deep.

The two primary problems with this system is keeping the fish alive and the electricity needed to run the water pumps and airiaters for the fish. If the electricity were to stop, one could lose their fish in a matter of hours so electricity is a real concern. Solar is expensive and wind works when there is wind.. so this situation has to be handled correctly to have a successfull aquaponics system.

Vegetables being grown include lettuce, spinach, leeks, tomatoes, kale, taro, herbs, strawberries and the list goes on. There are large insulation rafts that are floated on top of the water beds with holes punched in where the 2" baskets with seeds are dropped into and under the rafts one can also grow prawns.

The fist being used is talapia... but cat fish are air breaters and may be a better choice if the electricity goes out.

The plan is to work with the schools which have been already been getting grants to put in gardens.. the govenor has already made funds availabe as loans but that just won't work if one is setting up a system for family use given the econmic times.. meaning the overhead costs to set up this system needs to really be under a few thousand dollars. The commercial system would cost 20k. So the next step is to get federal funds to help or grants.

With working with government, farmers and schools this would be a good way for this project to trickle down to families with children where the children learn how to operate these systems in school and then create a community base (much like the habitat housing program) where families would get together to help other families set up their systems.

One of the most lovely things about Hawaii is the people. Here the children learn to call all the woman aunties and all of the men uncle. This is the true heart of what ohana means.. we are all one family and we all need and support each other. So my project is to design a community based coalition to work toward sustainablity with respect to growing ones own food at home. Everything that is needed is within that system. Also a few chickens to provide eggs would top it off because... eggs and spinach can be mixed/blended to make a thin pancake which is also used as a bread.. but not bread to hold other types of food (eggs salad or fish salad for example).

So this is where my heart is.. in feeding people food that is nutritious and getting away from GMO and the bland food sold at the grochery store shelves.

What is needed.. know how, set up system, seeds, fish, prawns, mosquito fish for the water beds.. and one is good to go. I hope this project also spurs others onto thinking how they can help sustain their own communities and spin off other ideas which will be of benefit to their communities.. we really don't have too much time life to get this up and going. I plan to give this a year. I've done major statewide projects in the past and was one of the first involved in the anti-tobacco program in California.. so I know something like this would be far more popular than what we've accomplished in the past. Time to go. Cyu
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Last edited by Carol; 11-13-2008 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Hi Carol,

Interesting thread ....
I am also on an Island but much smaller than yours. I have contacts with other entrepreneurs on the island (ICT support)
and got word from the first ones already that it's getting harder and harder to get containers leaving or arriving here.
This is all no surprise of course ... only confirmation of what's expected.

Meanwhile I have done some homework and growing my own food and spend some time on alternative energy.
But that's more of what's already known and trying to make it more efficient etc.

Your input is new and refreshing to me ... do you have more documentation on that ?

Cheers
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Exactly, entirely, totally, precisely on point, on target, and ahead of the curve.

Brilliant.
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol View Post
We can live with out gas and electricity as our climate is temperate.. but we do need food.

I've already done some activist work with our State Governor and representatives to promote aquaponics (growing fish, vegatables, frutis) and have been in training learning what is needed to set up a commerical system. However, what really needs to happen is to down scale this system to a family model that can easily fit in one's back yard or flat roof top for city areas.

These self-contained units are designed to circulate and clean the fish poop out of the water so that it goes back into the fish tank. The fruit and vegetables from these systems are incredibly nutritious and taste wonderful due to the roots being exposed to the fishes excrement. The roots act as a biomass filter for the water to pass through before being pumped back into the fish tank (comercial system tank is made out of plywood and is 12' by 12'. The plywood is treated with a fiber glass coating so as to preserve the wood. The water beds on the commercial system are 30 feet long 2 feet wide and 12 inches deep.

The two primary problems with this system is keeping the fish alive and the electricity needed to run the water pumps and airiaters for the fish. If the electricity were to stop, one could lose their fish in a matter of hours so electricity is a real concern. Solar is expensive and wind works when there is wind.. so this situation has to be handled correctly to have a successfull aquaponics system.
Hawai? Ain't that vulcanic like Iceland?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geother...wer_in_Iceland

;-) You got all electricity you need it seems.
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Quote:
Originally Posted by Operator View Post
Hi Carol,

Interesting thread ....
I am also on an Island but much smaller than yours. I have contacts with other entrepreneurs on the island (ICT support)
and got word from the first ones already that it's getting harder and harder to get containers leaving or arriving here.
This is all no surprise of course ... only confirmation of what's expected.

Meanwhile I have done some homework and growing my own food and spend some time on alternative energy.
But that's more of what's already known and trying to make it more efficient etc.

Your input is new and refreshing to me ... do you have more documentation on that ?

Cheers
Hi Operator,

This project was originally develope in the Virgin Islands by one of the Universities there and is proven successfull. The systems set up here have already been tested for the past 18 months and are flawless. Lots of studies and research has gone into this and it is now basically a slam dunk with respect to replication. The first class on setting up the commercail systems were last month and there were over 90 people from around the Islands and from the mainland who showed up for this (4 days, 36 hours).

We are meeting with the Govenor next week at which time we will pitch a state-wide self-sufficiency project that will hit all of the schools starting with the children and teaching them how to do this with systems established in their respective schools.

The leader here, Tim Mann, is now making a much smaller family system which he started on today. We also had people from the mainland who are going to handle this in a huge commercial way and have the money to do so.

The aquaponics system here in Hawaii is the first such system in the United States.

Those of us who attended the workshops are all in the process of setting up our own systems and have extablished our first aquaponics cooperative in the United States.. which we plan to see it go International as soon as the web-site is completed.

There is another group who went to the same aquaponics training in the Virgin Islands who have set up a website with this information on it out of the mainland.. but they have yet to set up any working system and just have everything on the drawing board. You can see their diagrams on their website and get more info from there as well.

The link to their website is www.aquaponics.com

I have to check on what the link to the newly emerging International Aquaponics Cooperative is.

I'm willing to share all of my info for free with anyone who is interested. By the way this cost me $1700 for the classes and plans approved of by the county to build our system.
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Hi Carol Great Post.

I like the sound of what appears to be a fully integrated bio-system,

Regarding the need for electricity to operate aerating systems. You, one of your handyman/mechanically orientated friends could have a look at the 'Veljoko Milkovic Pendulum / Lever system ' to operate a basic air pump system. Either that or another gravitational type system. Details from ' Practical Guide to Free-Energy Devices ' by Patrick J Kelly ( Chapter 4 page 11 ). Downloadable from the web

Stay Safe
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

You really are doing something to bring us back to a more balanced lifestyle.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

WOW, THIS IS really impressive Carol,
i look forward to hearing and learning more about that !!!

love
susan
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol View Post
As some may or may not know Hawaii depends on 97% of its food to be flown or shipped in....
Carol, you rock! THAT'S the new paradigm I'm talkin' about. You too, Operator. There are so many people out there, putting their virtue to work (yes, I am going to begin using that word)!

I'd like to share your post with my non-Avalon group...my face-to-face bunch. We talk a lot about sustainability, and about retrofitting suburbia for self-reliance. Our problem here in southern California is water. We live in a desert, except for the water that is pumped in at great expense. We've been fiddling around with a solar still - terrific for a couple gallons or so at a time - but I am convinced that massive air wells at the foot of the mountains would provide us with water nearly free.

I'd love to hear your ideas on edible landscaping, another idea we've been kicking around. Again, because of our climate we'll be xeriscaping - we don't have your lush climate.

You're way out ahead of the pack! Sustainability isn't even on most folks' radar yet. We need to learn, and fast.


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Old 11-14-2008, 09:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

I joined this forum in Sept. and have spent time here each day since, browsing through many threads. Since a couple of people have made over 1000 posts, Carol has inspired me to post for the first time. (I actually dreamt about you last night)

I live on Oahu, and I have been gathering tools, planting gardens on a wonderful 5 acre ag parcel for the last 9 months. Carol, I am so interested in the food system you are learning about, and I'm wondering if you have any contacts using this method on Oahu, or if you are ever open to visitors on Big Island. The website mentioned was a little unsatisfing to me, and I would like to learn more about this right away. Do you have any recommdations for me? (What about their book or DVD?) I have really enjoyed your voice and message Carol, on many threads.

Mahalo,
Much Love,
Cynthia
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Great read Carol. it's a mile away from what we are used to in the middle of the U.K. it's great to see people bonding on like minded issues.
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:06 AM   #12
Carol
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Aloha Cynthia,

Here is the contact info for Big Island. Some of the class participants are on your island and Maui. There is another workshop scheduled for March. You may want to contact them directly to get the information you are seeking.


Susanne Friend and Tim Mann
Friendly Aquaponics, Inc.
PO Box 1196
Honokaa, HI 96727
808-775-7745 training@friendlyaquaponics.com
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

I'm on Maui, sounds like a great project!
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:18 AM   #14
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

And yes Hawaii comprises a group of volcanic islands, but rather different than Iceland. The Big Island is the only one active - and there are no true hot springs.

But...Puna Geothermal Venture generates power by tapping deep into the Big Island's Kilauea volcano, converting steam into electricity for residents on that island only. The company is the only commercial producer of geothermal energy in Hawaii.
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

I have been doing a lot of reading on aquaponics the last couple of days, and I am so excited! I have been looking for something like this. I read through all the information about the Friendly's (luv their name), and read through all the information they sent me. They are running workshops on BI in Feb and March. Do you have names or numbers you could give about aquaponics people on Oahu? I would like to really start getting concrete about this, and in the loop about state loans etc. Could you hook me up with Oahu people from your group who have taken some training?I heard rumors about a group who were teaching on this subject, but coud never run down the particulars.
It is certainly exciting times!

Much Love,

Cynthia
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

alohacynthia, I was just reseraching grants for this earlier this evening for our state and they go up to $15,000 for the individual farmers. I think, but am not sure that a commerical unit may cost out at $11k but that doesn't include a good back up Honda electric start generator at around $1800. I was going to do up a cost analysis for a smaller family size version as well. We are working with Tim on a family size unit tomorrow so I will be checking that out. Pumps and such are still going to be the same cost.

When I get the rest of the info together I'll post it here. I aslo have the parts list I can post here for the commerical unit. The tanks are amazingly easy as they are just plywood covered in fiber glass (inside and out) and then painted. For an 8 by 4 foot tank (one for the fish and one for the sump pump) it is around $300 each. Not to bad. We made one tank up in a day. Tanks need to be 4' deep because the fish jump and they also like the deeper water to swim down too. Water hycinth can also be used on the fish water surface. Once I get this week behind me I'll start posting more info on this.. and the roof top garden info as well.

I just need to transcribe my notes into text.
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: Well I've finally settled on where I'm going to be putting my energy for the next

Aloha,

This is the brand new aquaponics website that we are hoping will go International with all types of educational benefits for those who visit. Enjoy

www.friendlyaquaponics.com

Just a quick notation. Since this website is literally new, it is under construction but you can see some photos of the aquaponics set-up.
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Last edited by Carol; 11-20-2008 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 11-24-2008, 04:43 AM   #18
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Default PATH TO FREEDOM: 6,000 pounds + on 1/10 of an acre

Are you familiar with the Southern California family that raises 6,000 - 10,000 pounds of food a year (350 varieties plus chickens and goats) on their 1/5 acre city "homestead?" For individual families, this might be more cost-effective than the aquaponics, and easier for the average person to handle.

Check out their site: www.pathtofreedom.com. Also, see the Freedom Garden challenge, similar to the WWII Victory Garden concept. There's lots of solid inspiration on their site, as well as a great garden forum.

Their garden area is 1/10th of an acre, 66' X 66'. They built beds using mostly found materials, over time, and steadily built up their garden soil with compost and manure from the animals. They have increased the variety and number of pounds grown on this small plot. The family sells their produce to restaurants, as well as for their own use. Once you build your soil, and start saving seeds, the cost to maintain this type of garden would be miniscule. A family of modest means could easily get this project started.

For comparison, the commercial aquaponic unit, 24' X 60', $17,000, produces 1,000 pounds of fish per year, plus 8,500 - 14,000 pounds of veggies (based on mono-crop, like lettuce). Certainly, this technology is more appropriate for larger projects. A medium-sized school would need to produce far more than 86 pounds of fish a month to provide protein, so you would need a lot of units to become self-sufficient. It would be expensive to set up. How intensive is the actual work? How many students would it take, per day to monitor, harvest, "feed" and clean the water? Some aquaponic systems are so sensitive that one day's lack of attention ruined a whole greehouse full of tomato plants. Are there sufficient safeguards for students to be able to manage it?

I think it is an excellent idea to spread the self-sufficiency concept by utilizing the schools!
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:40 AM   #19
Carol
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Actually we are experimenting with a family size unit where the fish tank is about 8' by 8' by 4 feet deep and two 20 foot long 12 inches high, 4 feet wide water troughs for planting. This is a small area. The fish tank could hold up to 180 pounds of fish but we are looking at smaller numbers as we have to have less fish with less biomass from the fewer water grow troughs. I'm cruching numbers now and when I get it all figured out will post this info along with a materials list for the system. The family system should cost less then $5,000.
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