Getting Veterans involved in Aquaponics

Hello my name is David from Plainfield , Connecticut USA. I am a retired US Navy Veteran and I have been using some basic Aquaponic technics recreationally in a 14’x24’ greenhouse for the past three years and I have been an Aquaponics Association going on two an a half years now. I am thinking of attending Santa Fe Community College to further my knowledge in hopes to own my own business in the near future and provide my community organically grown fish and produce and potentially provide local high school students internship training in technics on aquaculture and aquaponics. If I attend Santa Fe Community College, it will give me the tools to achieve my entrepreneurial goals. I have recently applied for VA benefits that are provided by the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program. Hopefully this will allow me to attend Santa Fe Community College and provide me with the Education I need to try and fulfill my dreams.
But in order to receive the benefits the VA wants me to research data on Aquaponics Occupations and job listing. I am researching in a search engine called Onet online which has me entering a Occupation (Aquaponics), then look for job titles in this field. Their doesn’t seem to be any Occupations like Engineering or Construction in these Search Engine data bases for Aquaponics. The search engines in the O net online data base are National Labor Exchange, Career Builder, Indeed and Zip Recruiter. In indeed they have some lower level positions but that is it. I also reached out to Trifecta Ecosystems in Connecticut and spoke to Kieran he gave me some good data and is willing to talk to my counselor who is helping me through this process. To give my counselor Molly the incite on where the industry is and heading. Then I thought that who else could I turn to for more assistance so I thought that maybe I could make this a class project and use this network of professionals already in the industry. I am hopeful that there is someone who could help me. Thank you!

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Hello David

email me, [email protected]
have a look how we do aquaponics at www.ksba.co.za

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Thanks for posting this @chefdaponte67. If there are a few more interested we’ll also be happy to convene a zoom chat about this topic, it is very important for industry growth.

Anyone with large commercial experience like @arvindvenkat or @potentponics have any ideas about this?

Feel free to email me if you want with your questions il help how i can. [email protected]

I think you aren’t seeing engineering or construction because most of the time larger facilities are designed by a consultant then approved by an engineer for inspection purposes then given to a contractor to build. Greenhouse companies are pretty turn key these days or you can buy a kit and hire a crew to throw it up in a few days but they usually also do other ag buildings and things not just aquaponics. The other thing is aquaponic design is constantly evolving as we learn more about the science which might also be a factor as well.

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A build manual for lower cost system module that can produce 600 heads of lettuce /week is shown at www.YWAMEMERGE.org.
It can be replicated as many times as desired for larger systems. The one shown there is in metric, but I have a more updated manual I can send you for free if that system looks like something you are interested in. [email protected]

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Hey Brian,

That is awesome, Love the support! Anything that can help get more people involved the better it will be in order the get this industry the recognition it deserves. While getting Veterans involved, all we want to do in life is make a difference. From boot camp to being in the forces and still after all the action is gone. Aquaponics is a way the help many veterans still feel that we are making a difference.

UPDATE: So on May 28th I sent my counselor an article By Neill Mattson submitted to Cornell University on: Accelerating workforces development for the controlled environment agriculture industry, Curriculum from Santa fe Community College and Kentucky State University. I also reached out to one of the Owners (Kieran) of Trifecta Ecosystems and he gave me his email and mobile number for reference to my counselor so she could get a real sense as where the industry is going from someone already in the industry.
Today: My Counselor explained to me the following: “Apologies for my delay. I wanted to take some time to staff your case and look at some information in regards to moving forward. While I admire your passion and commitment to the field of aquaponics, unfortunately the information you provided re: degree plans and articles is not adequate labor market. In doing some market research, while this field may be expanding, there are no positions available here in CT. As a reminder, the goal of our program is employment and must remain the priority. That being said, we would be able to offer you support in a related field such as environmental sciences with the hope that you might be able to transition into aquaponics in the future, but we would not be able to support a goal of aquaponics at this time. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or questions, and if you would like to move forward in this manner.”

So with this being said can I use Environmental Sciences as a Vehicle to get me to Aquaponics or will this field just create a longer path to my goal =Aquaponics/veteran owned/helping other veterans. what do you think?

Have you connected with @RobT? He is in Connecticut as well. I am sure he knows farms in the area and maybe has some information to contribute. Here is his farm:

https://www.facebook.com/BigelowBrook/

@chefdaponte67 another option is to look into careers for either aquaculture, hydroponics, greenhouse management, biodigestion / waste management, or just general agriculture. All these fields are integral for growing aquaponically.

Environmental Science is good for understanding the theories of WHY we practice aquaponics, and the benefits of aquaponics. But I don’t think envi sci will prepare you to actually grow with aquaponics.

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David, I think you may want to use Hydroponics in your employment search. When I searched Indeed for ‘hydroponics’ it came up with 249 current openings at various levels of experience and functional expertise.
You can also contact your local Workforce Development Center for financial assistance in getting approved for funding for your education and/or work experience in aquaponics. There is one in Santa Fe. They are funded by the Department of Labor and are required by law to give preference to veterans. Let me know if you need assistance in finding.

The other thing to consider is that you can get formal university level training as a remote student. I have taken courses from the University of Kentucky which seems to have good Aquaponics curriculum. https://www.aquanet.com/lexington/aquaculture-aquaponics/university-of-kentucky.

We have several members here as well that offer certificates, workshops and training that can increase your knowledge of aquaponics.

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