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1. The two of you met while attending LSU and sharing some of the same classes together. What degrees did you pick up, and at what point did it occur to you that you would make great business partners?

We were both Agricultural Business majors so we had a lot of the same classes. Matt’s concentration was Agriculture Business–Finance and Andrew’s was Ag. Bis.–Management. We studied a lot together and found out that we both had big entrepreneurial spirits. We started talking about different businesses to start… one of which was a Kolache shop in Baton Rouge because there was nowhere to get Kolaches before school. But one thing led to another and we landed on aquaponics after seeing the large local foods and sustainable movement in our generation.

2. The roots remain attached when delivered to your customers. What’s the significance of that? How has the way you grow your produce changed the way you view other produce?

We leave the roots attached because it lengthens the shelf-life of the product. Instead of a head being fresh for two weeks after harvest, our heads are fresh for six weeks. We actually sell the plant as living lettuce so people could actually plant it in their yard and eat off of it all winter. Being able to harvest our plants with the roots attached is a huge benefit of aquaponics. After eating our lettuce, it’s really tough to eat salads elsewhere. There is just something about the freshness and crispness of the product that you just cant find anywhere else.

3. Have you always been environment friendly?

For the most part yes, we are slowing trying to implement more and more sustainable features to the greenhouse. A rainwater storage tank is coming in the near future to replenish our aquaponic system with water. We are also trying to start adding some wind and solar energy to the greenhouse since electricity is one of our largest expenses during the heat of the summer. You want to share this sustainable way of agriculture/farming through teaching basic classes for beginners.

4. Do people leave wanting to build their own systems?

Aquaponics makes backyard gardening so much easier. If more people knew about aquaponics, more people would do it. Once you create a balanced ecosystem, you can produce enough veggies year round without weeds. Aquaponics takes the backbreaking work out of gardening. Seeding, transplanting, and harvesting are all easy tasks unlike traditional agriculture. And on top of that, It uses 90% less water than traditional farming. So systems like this are well suited for arid regions or places with droughts. We get people so excited about this way of gardening that everyone leaving wants to build a system. In our classes we will actually show you “hands on” how to build a system and then we will give them the whole construction and instruction manual. We will be posting lots of great classes and events on our meetup group. We will also be hosting cool events like farm-to-table dinners in the greenhouse. http://www.meetup.com/Houston-Aquaponics-by-Sustainable-Harvesters/

5. What are the advantages of an aquaponic system over a hydroponic system?

Aquaponics is completely natural. Hydroponics you have to add chemicals. With aquaponics, as long as you create a balanced ecosystem then all you have to do is feed the fish and you can continue to grow chemical free all-natural food year round.

6. What do you hope to see in the future for farming?

We hope that more people start using this technique of aquaponics to grow food.

7. Lastly, where can people find your product right now?

We are now selling our clamshells in six different Kroger locations inside the loop as well as the San Felipe and Voss location. We also sell our produce at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market on Saturday Mornings from 8-12 p.m. The address is 3000 Richmond. We also deliver produce to about 20 restaurants throughout Houston including Underbelly, Pondicheri, Hearsay on the Green, Bramble, Brooklyn Athletic Club, Main Kitchen, Heights General Store, and more.

 

 

Upcoming dates for Sustainable Harvesters:

Aug 6th- Become an Aquaponic Farmer for the day! 

Aug 8th- Backyard Aquaponics Class 

Aug 15th- In depth Aquaponics Tour

Sept 12th- Introduction to compost tea

Sept 19th- In depth Aquaponics Tour 

Sept 26th- Table to Farm Greenhouse Dinner 

 

 

 

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