Japan Aquaponics News
for Schools & Communities
Aquaponics for Tohoku is our community initiative to promote aquaponics as a viable alternative farming and aquaculture method in Tohoku, as well as donating micro aquaponics systems to local schools in this area.
This PDF explains the work that we are doing and what we are trying to achieve. It also outlines the AquaponicsforSchools initiative and how you can assist with that.
Aquaponics for Tohoku
Click the picture to read the article
One of our students who had attended our Practical Aquaponics course asked us to design and install an aquaponics system that would be suitable for their small balcony on the 10th floor of an apartment block. The challenge was design something small and functional that could still produce a reasonable amount of fresh herbs and greens for the family.
In the end we installed a purpose-built 200 litre system that used a simple "constant flood" method to run the system - very little maintenance required and no problems with bell siphons! This lovely family will soon have fresh herbs for their kitchen!
We had been contacted by Professor Jonathan deHaan of Shizuoka University who said that he wanted to install an indoor aquaponics unit into his classroom at the university. He had seen our system in Minamisanriku and was looking for something similar.
We designed a system that would fit in nicely with his room and would be an attractive unit that students and other professors would be able to view to see how aquaponics worked. We designed and built the system at our office and then installed it over the course of a morning and afternoon at the university - followed by a talk to students that had come in to learn about aquaponics.
Johokiko is one of the leading seminar producers in Japan, with a significant number of diverse seminars arranged and managed on a yearly basis. Japan Aquaponics had been contacted to present an aquaponics seminar to businessmen from various industries.
The first seminar was well attended, but of particular interest was a couple of businessmen from Fukushima whose factory had been destroyed after the earthquake. They were looking at alternative businesses to set up alongside their current business, and they were very interested in how aquaponics could be integrated successfully.
This year we decided to run some practical aquaponics courses as we had been receiving so many requests and questions about how to actually set up courses systems and how to run them properly.
So far we have run 2 courses and both were very well attended and the participants have already set up their own systems and we will be showing pictures of these very soon. The practical courses really do focus on giving all the information needed to go out and set up your own systems and how to source the equipment necessary in Japan (which is usually the hardest part!).
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This is an article written by Ginger Vaughn, a freelance writer and all-round eco-sustainability guru, and it was featured in the influential EURObiZ magazine printed in Japan. EURObiZ Japan is a monthly magazine about trade and investment from Europe to Japan.
As well as being distributed to members of the European Business Council in Japan, an organisation consisting of 17 European national chambers of commerce, this business magazine is sent to an additional 2,500-plus European companies and individuals representing a broad range of industries, and to influential members of various non-European companies and European governmental bodies in Japan and Europe.
We woke up on Saturday morning and were looking through some blogs when we found that our DIY Micro Aquaponics system had been featured on Lifehacker... a blog with a readership numbering in the millions!
At the last count we saw that some 22,500 people had viewed the post, and hits on the video and our website ran into 10's of thousands. What a great way to start the weekend and to know that many people across the world may be making their first aquaponics systems thanks to this video and the post by Lifehacker.
In March of 2012 we installed a bespoke aquaponics system into the elementary school of Yokohama International School. The school have now posted a video showing one of the classes undertaking an independent enquiry as to why some of the fish seemed to be dying in the aquaponics system.
This video is really fantastic, and the work that the children are doing, almost entirely on their own, is really amazing, so please do take a look at their video.
Aragon St-Charles wrote an article that was featured in the influential online blog 'Seedstock' - a site dedicated to introducing new and emergent technology in the field of agriculture. The article highlighted some of the difficulties and challenges of agriculture in Japan today, and changing consumer attitudes.
The article goes on to show how the time could be right for aquaponics to make its entrance to Japan and how it could be made to work. Please do take a look at this article on the website, as well as the many other very interesting articles there.
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In May of this year we delivered and installed a family aquaponics unit to an apartment in Tokyo that did not have a garden. The family wanted to grow their own food, but without a garden it was impossible. They had a stone backyard however that was absolutely fine for aquaponics.
Not needing soil is a huge bonus in Japan, where many people simply don't have access to a garden - but if you have some flat space the size of a small car - then you can do aquaponics! Click through to see photos of the installation and the progress after just a few weeks - you will be amazed!
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In April of this year we delivered and installed a hand-built aquaponics system in the elementary school at Yokohama International School. The year 4 children helped us put everything together and learnt how to take care of the system - their job will now be to teach the year 1 children how to follow on in their footsteps.
This is a 220 litre fish tank system with a 200 litre growbed, and using a simple timed flood and drain system to deliver the nutrient-rich water to the plants. Please click somewhere on this panel to read more about the system and to see more photos.
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The Aquaponic Source, and the Aquaponic Gardening Forum are two of the biggest aquaponics websites in the world, and if you look closely you will now see that Japan Aquaponics is featured on both!
Owner of these sites, Sylvia Bernstein, was recently in Japan with her son, and so naturally they wanted to find out more about aquaponics in this country.
On March 27th Japan Aquaponics held an awareness and fund-raising event in central Tokyo to promote aquaponics, and to discuss how aquaponics could be used in Tohoku.
The event was attended by a variety of individuals with all different backgrounds, but a genuine interest in aquaponics. Some were from a hydroponics background who are looking to move into aquaponics, others just interested in agriculture and sustainable issues. There were many questions and some very interesting discussions about aquaponics and everyone was extremely positive about the event.
In March this year Japan Aquaponics was invited to Yokohama International School to talk about aquaponics to about 6 classes which was nearly 100 students and staff. The elementary school children in particular were really excited about aquaponics and loved seeing the fish playing in the micro aquaponics system that we brought to the school. They quickly understood the ideas of aquaponics and how it fits in with the environment and ecosystems.
Japan Aquaponics is looking forward to working with the school as we design and build their very own aquaponics system to be placed prominently in the elementary school in April.
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"The Organic View" on blogtalkradio usually has approximately 1 million listeners on the internet, and on February 7th they interviewed Sylvia Bernstein, one of the most well know proponents of aquaponics globally.
During the interview Sylvia discusses projects around the world and she mentioned the work that Japan Aquaponics is doing in Tohoku to help the local communities there after last year's earthquake. Japan Aquaponics is proud to note that Sylvia was a guest speaker at our recent event:
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In January, 2012 Aragon St-Charles from Japan Aquaponics was invited to speak before the Australia & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Agricultural Committee. The presentation was about aquaponics in general, and the AquaponicsforTohoku initiative.
We really enjoyed speaking at this event and are looking forward to working with the ANZCCJ in the future. This is the write up of that event in their recent Newsletter. Please do take a look through this article as well as the other projects that the chamber is involved with.
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