John Stevenson 's Profile
John Stevenson
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Joined:
26/05/2015
Last Updated:
09/01/2016
Location:
Phoenixville, PA, United States
Climate Zone:
Cool Temperate
Gender:
Male
Web site:
www.permscape.com/





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USDA ORGANIC VICTORY for U.S.A. Aquaponics Systems

Posted by John Stevenson 11 days ago

Aquaponics has won the battle that began in 2010 for USDA Organic Labeling.

Products grown organically in aquaponics systems can now be labeled as such in the United States of America.

Photo of John Stevenson - Aquaponics greenhouse project - 2016 – High Density Tilapia Production Tank – Posted to Permaculture Global

John Stevenson of Permscape.com reported; “This month in a razor thin decision of eight votes to seven, the National Organics Standards Board approved the use of the USDA Organic Label by aquaponics growers that meet their criteria.”

“It was suspected by many of us that the certification was going to be striped from aquaponics and hydroponics growers. The thought was  Organic Certification was going to be exclusively reserved for soil growers.”

Photo of John Stevenson - Aquaponics greenhouse project - 2016 Hybrid System fertilized by fish waste – Posted to Permaculture Global

We use recirculating aquaculture effluent to feed plants (much like a mini wetland). The accepted common term used for this process of growing is “aquaponics”.

Early aquaponics systems were modeled on existing techniques of the time for hydroponic production. The work of Howard M. Resh and others was used in combination with established aquaculture models to create recycling aquaponics systems. Dr. James Rakocy’s work was the definitive research and development that led us to modern day legitimate aquaponics systems (high fish density).

Photo of John Stevenson - Aquaponics greenhouse project - 2016 Hybrid Tomato System fertilized by fish waste – Posted to Permaculture Global

During the last couple of decades there was a mad rush to create and market “less than stellar” systems to the general public. Many so called “Aquaponics Systems” functioned like hydroponic systems. They required extensive inputs of chemical fertilizers. The fish waste itself was a negligible input. Fish served as a novelty to disguise a hydroponic system as an aquaponics system. In fact those systems encouraged lower densities of fish and frequent water changes rather than water reuse and nutrient recycling. In most of those systems the fish could be removed entirely from the system with little or no impact on fertility.

Photo by John Stevenson of Permscape.com - Aquaponics greenhouse project – Real Aquaponics using high density fish production (not chemicals) to create necessary plant nutrients – Posted to Permaculture Global

We focused on the aquaponics system as a complete echo system. We added composting worms and their castings. We introduced and supported beneficial bacteria. Fungi were added along with plants which provided biomass, beneficial insects, and their habitat. The system was not solely for the production of annual vegetables. It was a living ecosystem.

Photo by John Stevenson of Permscape.com - Mushroom Project

Aquaponic System Mushrooms - Photo by John Stevenson of the fungi growing in his system.

Photo by John Stevenson of Permscape.com - Aquaponics greenhouse project – Real Aquaponics using high density fish production (not chemicals) to create necessary plant nutrients – Posted to Permaculture Global

Much has changed over the years. Decoupled systems that include compost and hybrids which use soil in drip buckets and wicking beds have become much more popular. Many of us are working on ways to incorporate the lessons learned from research of Ruth Stout and Rudolf Steiner into our systems.  

Photo by John Stevenson of Permscape.com - Aquaponics greenhouse project – Real Aquaponics using high density fish production (not chemicals) to create necessary plant nutrients – Posted to Permaculture Global

The bottom line is the more we build a living eco system to grow the plants, the more acceptable the practice will become. With all aquaponics has to offer, this USDA win will motivate new farmers to begin growing fish and plants together.

Photo by John Stevenson of Permscape.com - Aquaponics greenhouse project – Real Aquaponics using high density fish production (not chemicals) to create necessary plant nutrients – Posted to Permaculture Global

Modern day aquaponics is conserving water, eliminating pollution and erosion from runoff, removing toxic chemicals from the growing process, and most importantly creating sustainable safe mercury free fish protein and vegetables using minimal inputs while recycling water.

 Photo by John Stevenson of Permscape.com - Aquaponics greenhouse project – Real Aquaponics using high density fish production (not chemicals) to create necessary plant nutrients – Posted to Permaculture Global

Dragon Fruit in Aquaponics - Photo by John Stevenson    

For more information see the below links:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Hydroponics%20package.pdf

 

https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Transcript081417USDAWebConference.pdf

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Permaculture Design Course 2015
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Date: Feb 2015
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Type: Geoff Lawton Reading the Landscape
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Date: Feb 2015
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