VATATThis week marks the start of the 2014 annual Vocational Agriculture Teacher’s Association of Texas (VATAT) Professional Development conference, this year in beautiful Abilene, TX. The Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (VATAT) is a professional organization for agriculture science teachers and supporters of agriculture education. The VATAT is an organization dedicated to member services. The Association informs agriculture teachers about the latest agricultural education practices, encourages higher standards of teaching agriculture and provides agriculture education a unified voice in the state legislature.

20140710_153452_Richtone(HDR)Green Phoenix Farms is returning this summer to give another presentation on Aquaponics, and to show how this system of integrated multi-trophic agriculture can be put to work in the classroom to engage and excite students from elementary grade up to high school and beyond. Not every school has the funding or the space necessary for a full livestock program, but we have yet to see a classroom that does not have room for a fish tank and a small growing area! I know from personal experience – students LOVE seeing the fish grow as the weeks go by, and they are able to easily see how their work translates to the effective operation of the system and a demonstrable harvest of both fish AND vegetables. This year at the conference, we will be presenting back-to-back ninety (90) minute sessions on Wednesday morning, where we will discuss the fundamentals of Aquaponics, the ways in which it can be used in the Texas classroom to present a WIDE variety of TEKS and other required skills, and finally we will demonstrate how to build a small system from easily accessible components. Look for us “Backstage” (that is where the program says we are!) at either 8:30amĀ  or 10:15am. Below is the description of our presentation:

Aquaponics: Out of water and into the classroom! This workshop will provide a proven step by step methodology that will enable you to successfully integrate aquaponics into your curriculum. We will cover aquaponics theory, biological and mechanical operation systems and common designs. In addition, plants and fish that grow well in Texas will be discussed.

Unfortunately we will not have a booth in the Trade Show this year as we are simply too busy to spend a week at the conference. But, we hope that you will be able to come by one of our sessions to talk to us and let us know how we can help you bring Aquaponics to your classroom. We offer a wide variety of services from training and consultation to system design and installation. We even have a series of DIY – style System Manuals and Kits that will allow you to work with your students to build a complete Aquaponic System from scratch with confidence and ease. Please drop by a session for more information or, send us an email at