Introduction - Devan

Hello Aquaponics Association. My name is Devan and I currently work as an environmental scientist at a small consultancy in Massachusetts. I have degree’s in marine biology and a background in aquaculture. I am interested in joining this forum because my company wants to break into the aquaponics world and possibly work with a local high school to help ramp up their already existing aquaponics system. I am excited to learn and collaborate with you all! I am currently looking for open education based grant opportunities, if anyone has any suggestions.

Thank you

1 Like

Hey Devan!

Thanks for the introduction and very exciting to hear that you, your company, and the high school are involving/involved in aquaponics!

I believe the USDA just released an urban agriculture and innovative production grant that may be applicable for your situation.

I’m not familiar with the MA Dept. of agriculture, but they may offer some grant opportunities that would align with what you are trying to accomplish.

Other potential resources include the following agencies:

Based on my experience this time of the year is usually when grant solicitations begin to open up so I would continually check some of these agencies to see if they release any solicitations that may be what you are looking for!

Do not hesitate to reach out directly if you have any questions.

All the best,

Joshua Dusci
[email protected]

1 Like


Thank you so much for these suggestions! I will be sure to check them out. Much appreciated.

Good to have you, welcome!

1 Like

Hi Devan. I am in Mass also. I assume you are out on the shore somewhere? There isn’t much in the western part of the state. Used to be a westernMassAcuaculture Ceter at UMass Amherst but that died out years ago. I just signed up to this today and am glad to see at least one “Local” here. I am retired and am thinking of setting up a 3900 gallon RAS system… very early stages…

1 Like

Hi Rob! I agree, so nice to hear from a local :). The company I work for is based in Natick, MA which is about 20 to 30 mins west of Boston. So we aren’t coastal per say, but we are pretty close! What sort of work were you involved with during your time at the Aquaculture Center at Umass?

The company I work (TWB Environmental Research and Consulting) is trying to break into the aquaculture industry as both my boss and I have a passion for it. My boss specializes in intake design and modifications for power and desal industries and we are trying to tie that into the aquaculture industry. We are also trying to partner with Natick high school do to some aquaponics work.

I would be interested in learning more about your previous work, and your plans for the RAS system, if you’d like to share. Here is a link to our website in case you’d like to check it out! Nice meeting you.

Hi Devan… Nice to meet you as well!

When UMass Amherst had a program (WMCSA WesternMass Center for Sustainable Aquaculture) it was part of the agriculture extension service. I only participated the last year before it shut down and they had a few fieldtrips to a couple of businesses which i think most are defunct now. So i didn’t “Do” much… was just a participant. About the only business still in place is now called GreatFalls Aquaculture in Montague Mass where they raise Barramundi. Not sure what else they do to be honest. I stopped following them when WMCSA shut down… They were “australis aquaculture” back then.

I started out as a Marine Biology student at the University of Washington in Seattle, where my dream goal was to someday start a New England Lobster farm ( I STILL think this would be cool and that it is doable!) Instead, life got in the way and i went into programming and worked for MassMutual for 27 years. I am now retired and am doing all the things i wanted to do. I have an open profile on facebook (Robert Lak) and keep all my projects there. I will be adding an album for my Aqua projects as well…

My current goal is to rip the roof off a barn and replace it with a greenhouse and to build a small RAS aquaculture or aquaponics system in the barn. It’s at the very early planning stage. I hope to raise the Australian redclaw or marron crayfish - much easier than lobster :slight_smile:

I did review your company’s website and i learned that Devan was not the same as Devin! You sound like you have been enjoying all a Marine biology degree can open up! Good luck with expanding into aquaculture!

1 Like


Awesome! Thanks for the additional information. I agree, a lobster farm here in New England would be a pretty cool undertaking. I’m glad to hear retirement is treating you well. Are you currently based in New England still? The greenhouse is a very cool idea! It reminds me a little of Canopy Farms in Maine which is using a greenhouse on the roof of a restaurant to house an aquaponics farm where they grow their own food to sell. I love that concept.

Thank you, and good luck with all your future endeavors!

Devan… Yes i am still here in NE (Western Massachusetts) although we have been doing the SnowBird thing in Florida the past few years. My project will be in Mass.

Thank you for mentioning Canopy farm, I will have to go for a tour. Those picture bring to mind lots of questions!

1 Like

Hi Poppa,

I read that you are going to rip off the roof of a barn. May I know if the roof is in a good shape? If yes, and if your purpose of ripping off the roof is to build a greenhouse, I was wondering if you could install “lens-reflector” system meaning cutting some openings than install lenses to concentrate sun light then shoot the concentrated sun light to reflectors to distribute the sunlight to wherever sun light is needed. If you desire to grow mushrooms, you may want to keep part of the roof and build a mushroom room under it. Mushrooms may need much less light.

Hello Poppa, I’m in north adams and becket MA any chance I could come visit and see what you are working on? I am a building contractor and interested in AP.
Ben Anderson [email protected]

Hi Ben. I haven’t progress much on the project so there is nothing to currently see. it’s all just swirling around in my head.
We went to Alaska last year, June through September and it was too cold to do anything until may this spring and i have been concentrating on getting my yard back in shape from a year of neglect! I have decided NOT to do the barn thing as i feel it would be too much work. I will be putting up a traditional GH but with some mods… i can’t do anything normal. I hope to have it up late this summer but i still have some large trees to clear, and i have to admit to being slow.

The barn instead will be converted to a small wine making music hall. I have about 70 vines in my BackYard VineYard, and the plan is to have my musical friends play while drinking my free wine. That part is “scheduled” for next year.

I have yet to get into the habit of using this site because i am not really doing AP, so i apologize to slow replies. Once i get going, i will be posting a lot until i decide there’s not enough here to help me. We’ll see how that goes.

i take it you are not part of canopy farms? I have been so busy i had forgotten about them.
have you done any AP projects yet? Once i get the GH up, i will start on my details of the AP portion. I have an old 24’ circular swimming pool that i will be using for my AP inside the GH. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. I can certainly post here when i get to that point.

Loosely, i am thinking about a caged system for Australian red claws. Lately i have thought about a suspended rice growing system and if compatible, freshwater prawns. not sure if i want to do fish as well.

let me know what you are interested in and maybe i can pick your brain as well. and if you play and instrument and drink wine, be sure to keep in touch! :slight_smile:

The name is Rob(ert) Lak… I put all of my projects on facebook under my name and it is open to anyone who wants to look at my projects. feel free to friend me there if you are certain you want to see what i am up to… but i have a lot of things going, be warned!

gardens, vineyard, art projects, guitar building and soon to be: GH and AP

Peace! Rob

cool Robert, I would love to help and or drink wine and play music, my partner plays the cello and I play the alto sax, I am really trying to get a global worker cooperative aquaponic company off the ground. I had a system running in Louisville but we lost the site. I think the technology is mature enough and know I am focused on the ethics of food production and having sustainable food production be owned by the workers. I love to talk about it. I will check out your facebook page. You can email me at [email protected]. Not part of canopy farms but they look cool. wishing you the best