Visionary AquaponicsEarlier this month I got to sit down for an afternoon and have a great chat over the phone with Maribou Latour the creative mind and driving force behind the new VisionaryAquaponics.com podcast. Since her initial episode launched on Earth Day this year, she has managed to speak with the finest people in the field of Aquaponics, and ask them about why they do what they do and what they would like to share with the rest of us trying to find our way in this burgeoning field of intensive food production. I can’t tell you how humbling it was when she called me up to ask if I would like to be interviewed!

Well, we settled down for a short chat, originally I thought that we were only going to talk enough for a 1-hour episode. (Honestly, I wasn’t sure that I had that much to offer that hadn’t already been said by others.) But, Maribou and I ended up speaking for nearly six hours over two different days, and on just about every subject under the sun. I should have probably posted these links as she published them on her podcast, but I will be honest — I got behind. 😉

So, if you have the time, and are willing to listen to me ramble on about various topics. Please take a listen, and if you are so inclined, leave us a comment at the bottom to tell us what you thought of what was said.

Thanks for listening! Keep Growing the Revolution!

Adam Cohen

Part 1: Episode #25: Green Phoenix Farms – Aquaponics in Schools with Adam Cohen LISTEN HERE TO PART 1. 
Adam Cohen is the founder of Green Phoenix Farms, an aquaponics business in Dallas, TX that offers aquaponics trainings to the public, YouTube videos, custom systems design and installation, and support for local non-profits and schools using aquaponics as a tool for both income-generation and education. Having a background in aquaculture and marine biology, Adam began his passion in aquaponics as a math and science teacher looking for project-based learning to give kids hands-on experience in problem-solving and “watch the light turn on” in their eyes. Green Phoenix Farms has helped 12 schools in 2 years adopt and build aquaponic systems as part of their curriculum development, in what Adam refers to as “STEAM” education, a phrase “shamelessly borrowed” from Glenn Martinez of Olomana Gardens in Hawaii. (Instead of STEM education, STEAM stands for Science Technology Engineering Agriculture and Mathematics). Green Phoenix Farms is also helping local non-profits adopt aquaponic systems as a way to generate 60 to 70% of the revenue they need to run themselves instead of being dependent on donations or outside grants and income. Vote to help GPF get a $100,000 grant from Mission Mainstreet Grants HEREThis will allow GPF to act as a 3rd party donor to the community and get more aquaponic systems built in schools, non-profits, and NGOs serving the local community with food, revenue, re-skilling and training for the homeless, and more! LISTEN HERE TO PART 1. 

Part 2: Episode # 26: Green Phoenix Farms – Crops and System Design with Adam Cohen LISTEN HERE TO PART 2. Adam Cohen is the founder of Green Phoenix Farms, an aquaponics business in Dallas, TX that offers aquaponic training to the public, YouTube videos, custom systems design and installation, and support for local non-profits and schools using aquaponics as a tool for both income-generation and education. This is Part 2, where we talk about crops and system design. Adam discusses growing for variety rather than volume, and how root crops don’t grow well in heavy media beds. We talk about native fish and how tilapia are not going to save the world. “As long as you adjust what you’re doing to match your conditions, your fish will always be fine.” Other topics: greenhouse design, rainbow trout, river chub, and wicking bed experimentation for root crops. How to decide what to grow in what kinds of systems: media, raft, NFT, and vertical. Strawberries!!!! Best crops to grow commercially–what the local market wants! We also talk about market research and developing relationships with local restaurants. Food processing and value-added require permits. Energy efficiency, dissolved oxygen, and aeration. Learn why Adam doesn’t use bell siphons anymore! LISTEN HERE TO PART 2.

Part 3:  Episode # 28: Green Phoenix Farms – More about Fish and the Art of Aquaponics with Adam Cohen LISTEN HERE TO PART 3. In this Part 3 of the interview series, we talk about choosing the right kind of fish to save energy during winter, energy-efficient greenhouse design for summer and wintertime, what crop to design your system around, Asian greens for commercial growing, and optimal temperatures for bacteria and certain plants. Discover interesting things about rainbow trouts, river chubs, and more! Find out which fish are more susceptible to diseases based on their scales, taking special care when moving fish, creating current in your system, what kinds of food should you feed your fish to boost the omega-3’s, and more on the fish food industry and supplemental feeds. We also discuss about general ratios for your system, metabolic rates, and food conversion rates. Adam describes how easy aquaponics is yet how much artistry, detail, and practice should be involved in producing maximized results! Other topics include legal issues on fish growing, different states’ white list and black list, licenses and permits. Discover what challenges Adam encountered in his system, how he dealt with it, educating and training classes, writing business plans, and how they still continue to flow along with the current of the aquaponics movement! LISTEN HERE TO PART 3.