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How building an aquaponic system on a isolated island changed the world

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

I did aquaponic farming for 10 years here what I learned

heirloom seed collection

Generation X

I got home yesterday and heard the unmistakable voice of my first crush Jacqueline Yvonne ‘Jackée’ Harry, there she was standing on that same step in a tight blue dress as curvy as l remember her. My daughter was watching the show 227, she likes the 80s era, as she puts it “ancient times”. This is the meaning of the information age. The generation X crew have a difficult time understanding how differently we accessed information. When I was her age 227 was after my bed time hour, My only opportunity to watch Jackée was on my visit to the bathroom, and I would walk as slowly as possible the ten foot distance to ogle Jackée.

Information is now on demand

I also ran home from school to watch Sesame Street. I had to fight sleep to watch X Files and Allo Allo. This generation knows nothing about waiting for information, the feeling of not having a conversation about last night’s TV show because you missed it is foreign to them . They get the news as it happens in detail, we only heard about bad car accident and saw a pic from a distance in the newspaper the next day. Our children get video of the accidents sometimes 5 minutes after it happens.

Technology evolves in generations

The internet is disruptive technology because it radically changes the way we do things. The World Wide Web was rolled out on August 23rd 1991 and believe it or not this is only the first generation. There is a second generation in the works and all electronic devices will be connected. For reference, we are using 4th Generation (4G) mobile technology. I saw the 1st Generation mobile phones in pictures with Tupac. We are enduring a time when our children have access to every show we ever watched or in fact didn’t watch, the shows we didn’t attend at the Globe, every song we ever heard on Redifusion.

For that matter, every piece of information made available to us for our entire life. They now have access to all information ever produced and most importantly can demand exactly when and where they want to consume it.

The old boys club is not evolving fast enough

The pre-80s generation in Barbados does not acknowledge this and therefore cannot take advantage of the new way information is being disseminated. There is a need for greater knowledge transfer of food production techniques in Barbados.

Aquaponics in year 2047

young children on aquaponic farm

The market for Bajan produce is a big one, there is no need to hide food production operations from the public’s view as we currently do.

Scarcity mindset no longer needed

We at Baird’s Village share our information freely because we believe that we all are fortunate to live in this age of Barbados’ development when we have a responsibility to transform how we live. If we are the only ones growing food in times of shortage it will be hard to be the only ones with food. A big part of the way forward as a society is producing our own food. This is not an easy task for the average Bajan because we don’t know how to grow or have enough time to learn farming.

Farming was passed on through household chores

We used to learn farming from tending to kitchen gardens passed on to us from older generations, it was the norm but that knowledge was lost when we turned to a politically backed strategy to transition to a service economy, that progress killed the kitchen garden culture.

The other major problem is that house spots are either too small or you don’t own the land therefore conventional earth farming is out of the question.

Aquaponic technology can solve our problems

Interest in Aquaponics (AP) skyrocketed after our displays at Agrofest 2005 and 2006 with the ministry of agriculture, fisheries division and a feature piece in ‘the Agriculturalist’ magazine. We are seeing many systems tried and failed across the island. We the people must start helping each other to build profitable AP systems.

Online information is not tailored to local communities

We at Baird’s Village farm experienced the same problems. We the first to build an AP system on the island and know first hand the dangers of using information from the internet that is designed for a non tropical environment. Our system is the template for food production in Barbados for coming years based on its design. It has been tested from 2007. This system was designed to cater to food shortage in Barbados in mind.

our system is open sourced

Climate smart aquaponics

women on aquaponic farm

Our systems can be replicated and maintained from a simple manual by a beginner, someone with no previous experience in producing food. The AP system can be built from materials found in any hardware store at a reasonable price. These systems compliment nature because the design is to work with only rain water and organic inputs. The power source is off grid solar meaning this is a viable way to produce food with a system independent of government and merchant control. We Bajans have to do this ourselves because AP is a disruptive technology and the bureaucracy will not push it because they want us to buy food to fuel their system with taxes.

Ground work for local industry

According to the The technology adoption lifecycle model, we need 6,889 Aquaponics growers to put Barbados at a tipping point to get acceptance. And to get Aquaponics systems popular enough to replace the refrigerator. Our plan of Aquaponics domestic food production is feasible and could be implemented by getting information to the 6,889 early adoptors. If you want to know more about us, or share information please contact us on our face book page.

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