What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Money, it’s a necessary evil. Fun when you have it. Frustrating when you don’t. The cliche; money doesn’t buy happiness. The rebuttal; have you ever seen a sad person on a jet ski?

I’ve been working hard to make a plan for our aquaponics farm… I’ve designed a custom greenhouse, drawn up a cost estimate spreadsheet, outlined what produce would be best for the intended market. So far, I’m very excited about what I’m getting myself into! But the major hurdle I face, along with every small business owner and entrepreneur, is money. I’m determined not to get into any debt. I could, if I really needed to, apply for a veteran’s small business loan. It would however be much more prudent to begin a farming venture without the executioners ax looming over my head!

I decided that in order to fund the farm I would have to start saving now. Lion Defense LLC has a large sum of money set aside as the “farm fund” which is good, but as of this writing, it’s only a short percentage of what I’ve come up with in the cost estimate spreadsheet. This presents a decision point… Do I scale down my project? Start small and use cashflow to expand? Or do I drive forward with my plans and goals, hoping to hit the mark financially?

Drive Forward!! I’m not going to let “Mr. Money” short change my dreams! So as a result I knew that I had to create a money earning system to build toward that goal. I tried my hand at “dropshipping” internet sales… that was too much work for not enough return. There’s an ocean of competition there… So what was I going to do?

Multi-Level-Marketing. *Gasp* Eeeew… I know right!? well… yeah I got into an MLM that my cousin-in-law, Jacob, introduced me to. It had a VERY low entry cost and very high potential return of investment. I’ve been at it now for only two weeks, and I already broke even. It’s actually a really “stupid simple” system that is building a residual income for me. So far I’m very pleased that I started. It’s definitely not what I plan to do permanently, but like money itself… I thought of it as a necessary evil.

Here’s the good part for me… I don’t have to spam and pester my friends and family about it. In fact they don’t even know I’m doing it! I’m not even going to use this post as a “plug” for it. You, My valued reader are not my intented market for that MLM. It is a comfort to me that I can use this MLM system as a driver for my farm fund savings plan and eventually opbtain my ultimate goal.

So what depths would you be willing to go to in order to obtain your goals? If it came down to it… I’d donate plasma for money! (ugh, I tried that once in college when I was super broke… those needles are huge and it hurts!) What are your down and dirty money making secrets?


I love me a good animation!

If you’re not exactly sure what Aquaponics is, this video has a very appealing simple explanation. I’m not familiar with the design concepts that the video producing company uses. Choosing your own system design is influenced by MANY factors like budget, available space, intended use, available time to manage the system, and more. I promote the system designed by Tim Mann and Sussane Friend at http://www.friendlyaquaponics.com. It’s by far the best I’ve seen due to it being USDA Organic Certifiable, having a low initial cost of construction, and low cost of continued operation.

Fundraising Round One…

The Small Business experts recommend that your business fundraising efforts should be broken up into smaller campaigns. This helps you hit the target in a slow and steady pace… I’m not one to turn down good advice! Here’s our first Promo; T-shirts! The goal is to hit 30 sales.  Orders can be made here.

front      back

What type of design would you like to see in our next promo?

P.S. we’re still running our $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! only a small handful of folks have entered… So your odds are quite good! a Rafflecopter giveaway

This page “had me at hello”

 This is yet another page from the system designers at http://www.friendlyaquaponics.com that had me excited about diving into the field of Aquaponics myself!I have read through the training manuals and can verify that the statements made on this sales page are true. Other students of theirs have replicated the system design succesfully, and continue to expand their operations. I am in the works of scaling the system up to a 8,192 square foot commercial system. Enjoy this as I did!

Our 4,096 square foot commercial DIY system costs $21,995 to build (materials cost in Hawaii; we just got an East-Coast mainland cost for the same materials list of $16,425 from a student who is building one), or $5.37 per square foot of growbed area, INCLUDING the cost for our commercial plans; you source most items locally.

Compare the cost of our system to this well-advertised kit system: A 4,096 square foot system from “a well-known aquaponics consultant firm” costs around $82,500, or $20.14 per square foot of grow bed area. This cost does not include crating or shipping. Their system holds around 7,536 plants, while our system of the same size holds 26,410 plants, or 3.5 times as many. If you do the math, their system costs $10.94 per plant space, while our system costs $0.62 per plant space according to that mainland materials cost we got from our student.

This creates a dilemma, for their system costs over seventeen times as much per plant space to purchase, but we can guarantee they’re not getting seventeen times as much per plant. We can further guarantee that they’re not even getting as much as we are per plant, for our systems are USDA Organically Certified and our produce is organic (which brings the highest prices), while their systems are not organically certifiable, and their non-organic produce brings lower prices. Our aquaponics system designs are the most cost-effective on the planet!

Unless your information on aquaponics comes from a profitable commercial aquaponics farm, it is less than optimium if you’re concerned about productivity, economy of construction, and ease of operation of your system. Let me explain, starting with some of the most publicized aquaponics systems in the world: university aquaponics systems. They are under no requirements whatsoever to be profitable, productive, or easy to operate, because they’re funded; salaries and operating expenses are paid by the university, NOT from the income from the fish and vegetables.

They are useful to someone who wants to publish a paper in a prestigious journal, but not to someone who needs to make a living growing things with aquaponics. To be quite straight about it, university aquaponics systems are not based on long-term real-world experience in a commercial production situation.

Systems from consultants, hobby systems, and backyard systems suffer from the same problems that university systems do. The people who sell these systems don’t have to make money operating them because they make money from selling them to you. As soon as the sale’s done, they’ve got their money, and there’s no requirement that the system be economical for you to build, or easy or productive to operate. It’s your problem now, and you don’t know enough about aquaponics to realize you paid three to ten times as much as necessary for a system that produces a quarter as much as is possible out of that much raft or grow bed area.

Our systems are different from everyone else’s because they were developed “under the gun” on a true commercial aquaponics farm. If we didn’t make money with them, we didn’t get to keep our farm, and we certainly didn’t get to build new systems to expand our production (we did this out of the farm cash flow in 2009 and 2010). We improved our original system designs so we got 4.3 times as many plants per square foot of raft area for the same cost; figured out how to run them on one-fifth the electrical consumption and how to build them for one-fourth the cost in materials. We got the first aquaponics systems in the world USDA certified organic. We figured out how to grow prawns (macrobrachium rosenbergii) in the troughs. This was all in the first year of operation of the Friendly Aquaponics farm.

Since then we’ve gotten our aquaponics systems Food Safety certified. We figured out how to hatch tilapia eggs with a 95% success rate when the best hatcheries in the world experience a typical 75% mortality rate! We designed and built the first serious completely off-grid aquaponics system (586 square feet). We shipped an organically certified product to Costco wholesale for two years, the ONLY aquaponics farm to ever do so, then went in a different, more sustainable direction with our produce; now we’re selling it within ten miles of the farm for the lowest possible transportation cost and highest sustainability benefits.

Then we developed the most energy and cost-efficient protected environment growing structure in the world: the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse. Don’t you want the most efficient aquaponics systems and greenhouses on the planet for your farm from the people who run them for a living? We even offer 50% off the cost of the Farmer’s Market Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse DIY package if you purchase it at the same time as this Commercial DIY course .


Because many growers already have an existing greenhouse or space they need to fit an aquaponics system into, we show you how to design and size equipment for your own custom aquaponics systems from 10 to 100,000 square feet in size, so you can fit one perfectly into your greenhouse. This Do-It-Yourself, self-taught course includes complete plans and materials lists for three different sizes of outdoors aquaponics systems: a 1,024 square foot system expandable to 4,096 square feet; a 256 square foot system expandable to 512 square feet; and a 64 square foot system expandable to 128 square feet. In addition, plans and instructions are included for four indoor/outdoor systems from 2 square feet in size up to 32 square feet. These small systems can be operated outdoors under natural light or indoors under flourescent lights, so you can easily build a small, inexpensive system to gain experience and confidence with aquaponics whether or not you have an outdoor space to grow in. It’s easy to graduate to the larger systems after building and operating a smaller one. This training package is designed for people who want to build their own systems to feed their own families, as well as earn an income raising food for others.

More about the Do-It-Yourself Training and Construction Package for COMMERCIAL Systems

With this training package, you’ll learn everything we learned in the last five years building and operating seven aquaponics systems, a tilapia hatchery and nursery, a Health Department Certified vegetable processing facility, and most recently, improved water circulation designs that use as little as one-tenth the electricity for pumping water our original designs did. We will show you how we got our aquaponics farm USDA Organic Certified AND Food Safety Certified (no small feats!). We are certified through Oregon Tilth, and Organic Certifiers of California, and they have said that “as long as people build their systems exactly as Friendly Aquaponics has done, then their certification process will be a slam dunk.”. Seven additional Friendly students have gotten their systems USDA organically certified as of June 2011.

Build something different, and you’ll have to go through the six-month process that we went through, as the certifying agencies are completely unfamiliar with aquaponics systems. Getting our system certified organic actually broke ground (if you’ll pardon the pun!) into an entirely new territory!

We have been continually improving construction economy in our systems for the last four years so that now you can build a 1,024 square foot “small” commercial aquaponics system for about $7,000 in materials (in Hawaii), or about $5,500 in materials on the mainland. This type of system construction will save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense as compared to buying commercial “kit” systems, while giving you the only aquaponics systems in the world that are organically certifiable, something the “kit” systems can’t do. Organic vegetables bring from 40% to 100% more than non-certified vegetables, and this simple fact means that much more income for your farm. Because of the improvements in energy efficiency we’ve come up with, our current systems use about one-fifth the electricity that our original system designs did. This translates into about $8,810 per year savings for our three commercial aquaponics systems, two greenwater breeding tanks, two Family systems and two Micro Systems than if they were built with the original designs we started with. We also developed a “sloped grading” technology for aquaponic farm locations that are hilly, which saves up to 80% of the grading costs of making flat “pads” to put your troughs and fish tanks on, and that is included with these plans.

We will show you how to build your own tilapia egg hatchery for under $200 in materials, not including the cost of whatever tanks you use. Having your own tilapia hatchery means you save money you would have spent purchasing fingerlings, AND gives you an additional income stream on the farm with the extra fingerlings and young fish you have to sell to others. We spent over $25,000 on our own hatchery before discovering how to build this simple, elegant, and effective hatchery system! We’ll show you how to easily raise tilapia from swim-up fry (which are very delicate) to fairly bullet-proof 1″ fingerlings, which you can then sell to other aquaculturists and aquaponics farmers.

The training covers all aspects of commercial Aquaponics construction and operation, and how to scale systems to build any size system. Specifics covered will be: site selection, system construction and operation, regulations and permitting, water quality and sources, vegetable and aquatic species qualities and selection, meeting bureaucratic requirements, organic and food safety certifications, sales and marketing of your produce through traditional methods or the creation of a specialized niche market.

The Commercial Aquaponics Training gives you everything you need to successfully build and operate commercial Aquaponics systems. Generally, an aquaponics system can pay for itself within the first year of operation (as it takes a minimum of 2-3 months to get the system into full vegetable production after you have fish in your system, and around one year before you have fish ready to market).

Original Content found here:

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Hey there!

In an effort to increase our social audience, we’re running a giveaway contest! We’re working to build a Sustainable Organic Aquaponics Farm. One of our major goals in our business plan is to return a very large portion of financial earnings or actual organic produce back into the community; Fighting hunger and giving an advantage against poverty. It’s a wholesome project!

Here’s the Gist:

Enter to win. Different actions earn points. You can get more points each day. The event lasts one week. The winner is randomly selected. The more points you pile up the better your odds!!

You can find it here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


You’ve come to the right place

I would like to share some content from my selected Aquaponics System designers. Tim Mann and Sussane Friend They are ‘Salt of the Earth’ people, I share their beliefs and values about sustainability and will soon be duplicating their ultra-efficient method of farming. Enjoy!

Want to grow your own healthy food? (You can!)

Want to reduce your food bill and save money? (You can!)

Want to get control of your food, and always have safe food? (You can!)

You can easily and economically feed yourself by building and operating your own aquaponics systems, from small indoor tabletop systems up to huge commercial systems of tens of thousands of square feet, using our DIY packages. With six years of experience, and hundreds of systems built using our materials, we know that our method works, because our customers say so, and we can show you how.

To get the “Friendly Aquaponics Picture” watch this video:

You’ve also come to the right place if you:

Want to earn a living growing and selling food. (You can!)

Many of our students are successfully operating farmer’s market-sized and larger commercial aquaponics systems, and earning their living from them. Our live trainings and DIY courses empower you to build your own state-of-the-art commercial aquaponics systems at a fraction of the cost of “kits”, AND with much better technology and operating information.

Click here for more about DIY aquaponic systems for you.

Click here for more about integrated Solar Greenhouses for you.

Click here for more about a live aquaponics training for you.

Click here for more detailed information about Aquaponics.

We don’t sell overpriced kits as many “aquaponics” companies do; we sell the best DIY information in the world, so that you can build your own aquaponics systems from quality materials you source locally! We also offer DIY Solar Greenhouses with integrated aquaponics systems for places it’s very cold and/or very hot.

We invite you to explore our website; we’re sure we’ve got a solution for you here. If you have any questions after reading the site, feel free to email Tim at training @ friendlyaquaponics.com, or Susanne at contact @ friendlyaquaponics.com. We’ll do our best to point you in the right direction so your experience with aquaponics is a successful and productive one.

To hear the “Friendly Aquaponics Philosophy” watch this video:

Some of the things we grow in our aquaponics systems are:

Our commitment in Aquaponics is to:

  • Share our knowledge in aquaponics with as many people as possible.
  • Develop new and profitable aquaponics applications and technology to share.
  • Put ourselves out of business as soon as we can. When you know what we know and are teaching each other aquaponics, we’ve done our job, and we can finally take the family sailing in the big sailboat that is our dream to build.

Original content found here: