AquaPlanet’s partners are a diverse group of professionals with backgrounds in science, entrepreneurism, business management, design and engineering, serving various locations throughout the US.
“Aquaponics is widely practiced around the world and is starting to come into its own here in the US,” said founder Bevan Suits, an industrial designer and author of The Aquaponics Guidebook. “We want to make it easy for people to understand how it can fit their situation, no matter what their resources are.”
The team includes Dr. Wayne Dorband, a Colorado-based entrepreneur with a PhD in aquaculture. Dorband is recognized as a pioneer in environmental business areas including environmental insurance and what is known as brownfield development. One of his firms is International Risk Group (IRG), which owns extensive industrial real estate holdings, including a former Ford factory in Lorain, Ohio. A plan to adapt the plant into an urban agriculture center is in development. “We have an active project also in Martinsville, Indiana, at a former Harmon Kardon plant. In Beaufort, South Carolina, we’re developing what will be the largest recirculating shrimp farm in North America. Here in Colorado we have several research projects that will prove the economic viability of aquaponics and aquaculture for urban areas,” he said. “What we’re really after is to bring food production back to our culture.” Dorband also pointed out that aquaponics is just one option in what is known as sustainable agriculture.
Another partner is Travis Hughey, a master marine mechanic who discovered aquaponics several years ago and invented what’s known as “barrelponics”
“With Travis we have the opportunity to show that sustainable technology and local food cuts across political and cultural boundaries. This whole ‘green’ concept has too much been limited to the liberal camp. We’ll help out anyone who likes fish, fresh food and self-reliance,”
Hughey will be featured on the AquaPlanet website in an ongoing series of training videos, Train With Travis, available by subscription.
Adding to the team’s science credentials in North Carolina is Brian Naess, an aquaponics practitioner with advanced degrees in geology and environmental sciences. “Brian and I are mapping out the programming for what we call Startups, which are training workshops followed by support services over a limited period. We’re offering them at four levels, Family, Teacher, Grower and Contractor,”
“We’re formed like an architecture firm,” said Suits, “each of us has our specialties and networks, and we’re seeking projects that will enable our clients to learn by doing, starting small.”
Current trends toward urban agriculture and local food are expected to provide traction for AquaPlanet’s message. “We are building relationships with chefs and restaurateurs to validate the market demand for food that people would grow." said Suits. "Travis has a strong demand for his produce in Charleston that he can barely begin to meet.”
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AquaPlanet is a US-based diverse partnership of professionals focused on aquaponics. The firm seeks to help introduce the concept and practice of growing fish and vegetables to a wider audience and help fill the "local food gap".