After the success of last weekends Intro to Aquaponics course we are looking at what other special interest courses we could run at the Aquaponics Smallholding.
Proposed Course List
If you are interested in any courses on our suggestions list do let us know and I'll start arranging dates.e to edit.
About our project:
This new Aquaponics Smallholding based in rural Cheshire is a community agriculture start-up project.
Our plan is to provide for the wider community:-
Since the Easter weekend we’ve been active on the site clearing the space in the old wooden rearing sheds with a view to converting part of it into an “agricultural classroom”.
We’ve taken down most of the wood and block-work partitions leaving us a 23ft x 19ft space and cleared the many odds and ends stuff that’s been stored and accumulated in there over the years.
Project DRAFT Plan at 24/04/18
1. Priority is the rearing shed to classroom conversion work :-
Due to it being a community type project we have little or no budget. So for all of this work we are going to have to be very creative in the obtaining, reusing, and reclamation of materials (wood, bricks, panelling, paint, insulation, electrics, plumbing, etc) for the conversion.
As you can imagine planning to a tight schedule is very difficult when we are not sure about the availability of materials so this is where Agile helps,
BUT a fixed deadline is for the teaching area to be ready and usable for our course starting on Friday 11th May Intro to AQUAPONICS Weekend
2. Setup of greenhouse and outdoors growing areas:-
3. Setup of the Aquaponics system:-
We usually can offer our weekend volunteers mugs of hot tea or coffee and some really good home produced organic food.
There are more that enough tasks on this project to keep several people busy for the rest of the year, and then there will be the on-going operational activity to keep the Aquaponics Smallholding running.
4. On-going operational activity:-
So my next design should be for a "magic wand" to get all this done in time for our new course Intro to Aquaponics Weekend - May 2018.
We’ve taken down most of the wood and block-work partitions leaving us a 24ft x 19ft space that now needs clearing of rubble and the many odds and ends that's been stored and accumulated in there over the years.
But much of the stuff would be serviceable and reusable if it were cleaned up, so that will require us to sort and select what is to be kept and relocate it into other storage on the farm.
Once the space is clear we can start the clean-up to make the area sanitary to work in – so lots of Jays Fluid, scrubbing, and a pressure washer on the wooden walls and concrete floor.
The Conversion Work
The rearing shed conversion tasks include:-
As you can imagine planning to a tight schedule is very difficult when we are not sure about the availability of materials, BUT we've a fixed deadline for the teaching area for it to be ready and usable for our first course starting on Friday 11th May 2018.
We've been looking at all the polytunnel types online for inspiration and to cost out what features we need.
To help with this work Urbanag are seeking intern or volunteers for the Aquaponics build where you can spend a summer learning lots of new practical smallholding skills in rural Cheshire.
Starting Easter 2018 Urbanag CIC are setting up from scratch a training centre and commercial scale Aquaponics system based on a rural smallholding near Frodsham.
We are looking for one or more people to:
1. Help with setting up a large polytunnel and hydroponic grow-beds (learn about - blockwork, woodwork, construction)
2. Build a commercial scale Aquaponics system (learn about - plumbing, electrics, water testing)
3. Setup and initial running of Aquaponics (learn about - fish care, plant propagation, water testing)
4. Convert farm building into training rooms (learn about - plumbing, electrics, woodwork, construction)
5. General smallholding help (learn about - care of livestock, chickens, pigs, etc.)
6. Help on Urbanag training courses (learn about - catering, customer service, administration)
If you can bring any of the skills needed that's great, but the key person quality we are looking for is a willingness to get stuck in and help.
Ideally you would live in the Frodsham WA6 area.
Contact email: email@example.com
Aquaponics, Aquaculture, Hydroponics, Aeroponics, and even Vertical Farming are emerging urban growing production technologies that do not use soil as a medium.
As cities get bigger the urban areas spread out over the countryside putting buildings on what was farmland.
So as a result we can't get fresh local food, and more is imported being trucked in from abroad causing oil use and pollution. Also to grow all that extra food abroad they have to cut back and plough natural wild areas (green field) and then use artificial fertilisers made from oil chemicals.
Whereas there are old industrial (brown field) sites in our cities that are not suitable for housing and so remain unused for years.
The idea of growing our food on these "brown field" sites used to be thought impossible because of the polluted ground, but now with well designed aquaponic and hydroponic systems that can do soil-less and vertical growing under natural sun light, we can grow affordable nutritions fresh local foods, and provide local employment opportunities.
For me that ticks the ethical points of providing good fresh food, helping local people, and looking after the environment by improving local land sites, reducing food miles, and saving those wild areas abroad from destruction. It then also takes the strain of what farmland is left around the cities enabling the farmers to consider changing over to sustainable methods and include regenerative ideas that will reduce the overall abuse of the chemical fertilisers.
That is why we at URBANAG are promoting Aquaponics as a viable solution to be used in urban agriculture and the drive to localise food production. A combination of fish and plant production using aquaculture and hydroponics systems, aquaponics is moving from the realm of experimental to commercial.
Let URBANAG help you find out more about this production system and if it might be right for your backyard, garden, or farming operation.
Yes its big changes for Urbanag in 2018 as are we are setting up a new training centre and a working small commercial scale Aquaponics system on a smallholding in Cheshire.
So we could do with a few dry days and less of the snow we've seen of late.
Introduction to Aquaponics Weekend