Will Holcomb, Bastrop Sustainable Meetup Organizer and George Swanson got the chance to set up this Meetup at Buda Aquaponics, one night for the next day. Plenty of forewarning… uh huh!
George had a Meetup with Bastrop Sustainable at the Smithville Library a while back and he wanted us to see his magnesium oxide building materials he had installed at Buda Aquaponics.
Will suggested we invite anyone else that might be able to come. We posted the address late last night on our Bastrop Sustainable Meetup website. We hoped some of our members would see the invitation and respond.
Well, Mom and I decided to go and we found directions to the Buda Aquaponics farm on the internet. The next morning, we went by the back roads thinking that a lot of people would be headed for Austin, this fine 4th of July holiday, and it was definitely back roads most of the way. We had smooth sailing all the way there as the traffic on this route was light.
We were the first to arrive at the site and no one was around. We waited until the others began to arrive discussing how we were at this location to see if we could set up a more formal Meetup sometime in the future for our members
Buda Aquaponics started out as Floating Fields Farm last year. Farmer John was our guide and the farm’s manager.
There was a lot to see.
He said that there will be lots of in ground greenhouses as well as the aquaponics area. He took us to the aquaponics ebb and flow, floating raft set up. There were several fish tanks of about 500 gallons each hooked up in a building with good insulation.
The fish waste solids are filtered out and the water is pumped into the floating raft tanks, which are set up in a hoop greenhouse that currently has shade cloth over the hoops.
Airstones aerate the raft tanks to offer air to the lettuces and other leafy veggies growing there. The veggies and herbs looked very healthy.
So much more to learn
I asked about the airstones, because I did not see any in the fish tanks. I asked if the water that was returning to the tanks was aerating the tanks, because it came back under pressure and aimed to create a current in the top of the tank. He said the current was to give the fish something to swim against. I forgot to clarify my question, which was how was he aerating the fish tanks, because it occurred to me to ask if the swirling water kept sediment suspended in the tank. He said that the sediment is at the bottom, and the current is at the top so it is not a problem. Dang, I still do not know how he aerates the fish tanks. Something to ask him in the future.
He thinks his niche in the organic scene will be to heavily amend the soil with minerals and plant nutrients, because he wants the food that he grows to be as full of nutrients as he can manage. He says that most commercially grown food is grown in depleted soil, therefore the produce from that soil is very low in nutrients as well. He intends to build the soil health in his covered beds so that his produce will be much more nutritious than in other commercial endeavors.
He is very conscious of the environment and has shown interest in helping others in the area, when he gets the chance. He wants to help build good farming communities to help support the local fresh food initiatives. The more of us that work together, the more we will change the current trends in commercial food production, and the better our families health will be.
To that end he has contracted George Swanson Associates to help build some of the structures using magnesium oxide building materials. “In recent years [their] firm has had the great privilege to have participated in the design and construction of over 80 natural, breathing, low toxic and fully non-toxic buildings in 11 states.” (George Swanson Associates, http://geoswan.com/)
I am so glad we went in spite of the short warning. It was very interesting, and Mom and I are looking forward to setting up a formal Meet up to Buda Aquaponics.