Continuing to explore aquaponics certification

Posted on January 24, 2014

Aquaponics system at Growing Power, Milkwaukee, WI. Photo by Ryan GriffisThings have been moving right along with our project to explore the possibility of launching new certification programs for aquaponics and hydroponics. We have lots of news to share!

Exploratory Committee: All-Star Cast
We're thrilled to announce the members of our Aquaponics/ Hydroponics Exploratory Committee -- 6 experts and practitioners from across the country with decades of experience between them. They are:

Gina Cavaliero
Green Acre Aquaponics
Aquaponics Association
Brooksville, Florida 

Allan Gandelman
Main Street Farms
Sustainable Cortland
Homer, New York

Alex Currier
True Blue Aquaponics
Central City Farm
Seattle, Washington

Zachary Gould
City Farm Fish
Brooklyn, New York

Jim Ewing
National Center for Appropriate Technology/ATTRA
Jackson, Mississippi

Rebecca Nelson
Nelson and Pade Aquaponics
International Aquaponic Society 
Wisconsin Aquaculture Industry Advisory Council
Montello, Wisconsin


This phenomenal group will be sharing their knowledge and experience as we gather information about best practices, possible standards, and potential obstacles to developing a new certification program that's consistent with our values and principles.

Starting the conversation
The Exploratory Committee convened for the first time in early January. That first discussion covered water quality, waste water management, and energy conservation.

There were some areas where nearly everyone could agree - things like setting goals for energy efficiency and preventing nutrient run-off. The discussion also helped identify some areas - like frequency of water testing - that will require further discussion and research.

Hydroponics: On Hold (for now)
Based on our discussions with Committee members and others in the field, we have decided to put consideration of a new hydroponic certification on hold. The market for organic hydroponic fertility sources is still evolving, and the number of producers who might qualify to participate in a hydroponic certification program that prohibits synthetic fertilizers appears to be quite small. We're therefore discontinuing our exploration of hydroponic certification. We are particularly grateful to Jennifer Nelkin Frymark of Gotham Greens for her early assistance in this project. 

Looking Ahead
We look forward to continuing to explore the feasibility of developing a certification program for aquaponics operations. This is a form of production about which there is a great deal of energy and interest, and it seems likely that CNG can help provide guidance and support to producers in this growing movement who seek to embrace sustainable practices.