Our objective in building the first Aquaponic Mini Farm (AMF1) is to proof test lowest capital cost aquaponic systems for 5-20 thousand square foot AMF installations. These will be located in urban and suburban environments. We are doing so at our first location in Palm Beach County.
Testing low capital cost designs is iterative and inefficient at the start, and the costs can add up the more testing and iteration you do. We think our start-up AMF is doing well as we are up and running, testing production, and have already moved successfuly through a round of system re-designs for grow beds and filter systems. So far, we have still spent less than 50% of our capital budget to be in production, including this R&D activity.
At this stage in the farm startup, we are moving through the biofilter initialization, and testing the first live deep water culture grow bed. This is a process which ends in a balanced flow of nutrients to the plant roots in the system. The deep water culture (DWC) bed is good for plants like lettuces or basil that benefit from the constant flow and volume of water. For lettuces in a hot climate, the deeper water helps keep the plants cool.
Currently we are planting weekly batches of seedlings from our aquaponic seedling bed into the DWC grow bed. The live plant roots are a part of the biofilter, so these initial test plants are critical to bringing up the aquaponic system.
On the product and marketing side, We are growing 2 organic basil varieties, Broad Leaf Italian Basil, and Genovese Basil, as well as our first organic lettuce variety, Black Seeded Simpson. You can learn about samples and our menu here.
We are also working on our logo and marketing materials while we test our products. We have several designs we are considering, as well as a host of taglines for different uses. (See our last business update for logo designs and taglines.)
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