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Nichols State Culinary Dept. Project

In February of 2021, Enterprise Aquatics was contacted by a young man named Benjamin Matthews. Benjamin is a senior at Nichols state culinary institute and was inquiring about equipment, design, and support services for a small aquaponics system. He envisioned the new system would enable him to supply the teaching kitchens with hyper local, fresh fish and produce. Benjamin was right on the money!

Aquaponics systems, when properly engineered, built, and maintained, can provide an abundance of fresh fish, leafy greens, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and many more! The important thing to understand is that the fish drive the overall system. So, without a healthy fish population, the plants will not receive enough nutrients and will suffer as a result. 

Ken Rust and I set up a time to meet with Benjamin and discuss some details surrounding his proposed new system at the culinary institute. Benjamin brought us on a tour of the facility and discussed some basics of his life as a culinary student. We were both immediately impressed with the awesome scope of Nichols State Culinary Institute. It was great to see how many different types of kitchens the students could utilize from baking, to frying, to fine dining, this facility had it all. Now on to the aquaponics system discussion. 

Benjamin, like most folks interested in aquaponics, turn to the internet (Youtube) for basic instructions on system components and assembly, simple to grow fish species, and accompanying plant types and cultivars. Unfortunately, the information found on videos is often disjointed creating a hodge podge of videos and information that is not easily understood by the new comer to the industry. 

Enterprise Aquatics strives to provide our clients with the most economical option that fits the needs of their operation. In the case of Benjamin and Nichols State Culinary Institute, we recommended the AP-1, a starter aquaponics system with a single fish tank below a deep-water culture (DWC) grow bed. The system supports up to 50 lbs of fish, 32ft2 of DWC growing area, and grow lights mounted on a vertical rack. 

Nichols state culinary students observing our aquaponics system

We are working with Benjamin on the nailing down the system particulars now. Additionally, we have called in our good buddy, Dr. Quenton Fontenot, of Nichols State Biology department, to assist with fish supply, water quality management, and general animal husbandry. Dr. Fontenot will no doubt bring a wealth of knowledge on fish keeping to the project. Benjamin is working on bringing in the horticulture department to assist with plant production. 

We plan to have this system up and running for Benjamin summer 2021. We can’t wait to see and taste the “fruits of labor” from this project! 

If you are interested in additional information about the AP-1 visit our website here.

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