The reason frienly aquaponics is in a downward spiral is mainly caused by their poor money management, not business viability. The fact that they are spending their money on personal items faster than they are making money through their business has no reference to viability.
The $110k i mentioned was only their lettuce sales. Those are the numbers i was in charge of. Now as for their income streaming from their classes and manuals, those were a set of numbers controlled by susanne and kept in the dark from all eyes. So again the $110k i said they made does not include they money made from the sales of their manuals nor the sales of trainings or spots in their classes. Oh, and their farm tours are free on saturday mornings just as its stated on their website, so no money to be made there.
And you're correct in stating that no other large scale farm exists for commercial business, but as far as commercial viability being the reason... its a posibility, just as its a prsibility that its not. And when it comes to a start up cost, that comes with any business. In the food industry you can expect a large start up cost even if you're only leasing a hole in the wall, and the average over head is near %70 percent after labor and food cost and all of the bills are tabulated. These low margins havent stopped mom and pop sandwich shops from poping up. And yes most of them do fall off the band wagon over time, but thats mainly to not catering to their market demographic, not so much the running costs. I can site my own town as an example when i say we have 9 pizza joints and people still insist on building more...
And also going along with the fact that no other farms exist, the science of making ap efficient enough the form a business has only been around for a few short years in the grand scheem of thingd. If new things wernt brought about by venture capitalist things like microsfot and wal*mart wouldnt exist. Yes, there arent many records proving the growing power of a system on commercial level dealing with the average yeild per square foot in a commercial system that corralates to the weather that was recorded for the same time frame which would prove as viable evidence of profitability... but i have those numbers. I can tell you exactly week by week how much lettuce was produced per square foot and where it came from on their farm, how much space was needed to produce a certain weight quota and the dates these numbers were calculated on... im pretty sure that covers the numbers portion... and as for their climate being perfect... i discussed their climats draw backs earlier as far as excess heat and sunlight goes... but no one likes to bring those up. Similar climates just as hospitable exist in the contiguous states as well, and i mentioned those before also. So with all that being said, by having to simulate their growing conditions and taking out the negetive aspects may cause a difference in profit margins, but atleast those records supply a factual, existing, concrete basis to grow off of. And as ive stated before the use of supplimental electricity can help to off set costs, especially when the gov. Pays for part of the construction.
And when i talk about the present indoor farmers im not saying that they should convert... this isnt the crusades... im simply saying that because of AP
's ability to grow more food faster in the same spacial limitations of existing farms running only a marginaly small more costly operation could stand to prodive better profits. If you can say that in your back yard u can grow more vegies faster than if they were in the ground than how can you not give the same credit on a larger scale? Thats like saying a small apple would taste different than a larger apple off the same tree...
When it comes to the shade cloth, it wouldnt and couldnt work on their farm. They live on the hamakua coast, which stands for the breath of god... vinal structures have a hard time surviving their wind conditions due to large sail areas (areas of solid light mass that catch the wind like a sail boat), so hows is a sun permiable fabric held inplace over the growing troughs at a height tall enough to allow proper growth and harvesting going to hold up any better under the same conditions?
When it comes to the easy market comment... ill leave that one behind by saying hawaii has the largest amount of farmers markets and personal farms per capita in the united states. Every 20 miles down the mamalahoa going from their farm to hilo is a farmers market selling local produce. So yes hawaii is sympathetic to the local produce craze, but buying from costco isnt exactly the best example of going local when theres a farmers market withing an equil driving distance. And thats not even mentioning the produce sold in local stores across the island. And as ive mentioned before there are 3-4 other brands of lettuce mixes that share the same shellves as their lettuce in the one solitary costco on their island.
Yes, the start up is going to be a bit high, but when building something from nothing you'll have that. Yes their produce is sold at a higher value, but the value of its production is also higher... their electricity is $0.48 / kwh... twice that of most places on the main land. They have a value added prouct, they arent shelling out heads of cabbage. Those same techniques can be implemented anywhere and show the same value increases. Their key selling point isnt their market demographic, theres a dozen different types of lettuce in their costco, they key point is "washed and ready to eat" which only 5 of those dozen claimed the title of while i was on the big island.
Finding examples of prospurous commercial ap produce farms are hard to come by, in my opinion its because theyre still trying to couple their fish sales to equil their produce sales, but thats a topic for another thread. But ap farms also dont exist because it is a new business, and because of its infancy anyone who builds a commercial farm will be the spear heads of this new technology... bill gates didnt make microsoft what it is today by waiting to see someone else's results.
Any system will be different, but have the posibilities of being just as profitable as the friendly ap system. Its as if youre flat out saying that under no circumstances can a commercial ap system work anyplace else other than hawaii by only looking at the negetive aspects of comming to the main land and ignoring the positives such as cheaper building and running costs. Places like northern texas, nevada and arizona exibit the same climate types as kona or honokaa. Places like the cotton region of the U.S. need only to suppliment their envrioments temp. Only a few short months of the year, and even then they only need to raise the temp maybe 20 degrees F at best. Their are people with farms in places where sunlight isnt as bountiful as the friendly ap system and their produce is growing all the same, and really... theres only a few months during the summer where theres sunlight every day of the week... and now that i look at my notes there were only 4 complete weeks during those months where it was sunny every day. And even being sunny every day those weeks didnt rate a perfect score on my scale because we lost the direct sunlight to clouds for the last 4 hours of day light. So really on the average day their farm only had direct light for 70% of the day. And of that 70% the direct rays of the sun would cause the lettuce to bolt and wilt and the wind would shred shade cloth if we'd have taken the time to set some up. Also, ive never mentioned before, and neither has anyone else for that matter, along with "bountiful plant life" comes the critters that eat them. Yes we encountered things like aphids and white flies, and yes they did come in mass. As a result our yeilds dropped, but ap systems being the growing dynamos that they are we would only suffer a small loss and make it up within 2 months... there towards the end after a few more modifications were made to the system to regulate the aeration in the troughs we were beginning to face the problem of needing a bigger sales account with costco... the production skipped ahead almost 3 full weeks of the forecasted time frame... surprise...
The growth of ap as a business option cannot be limited by only what was done before... if thats the case all systems would be as expensive to set up as the origional UVI system built out of concrete. Gary, by what you are stating im getting the firm hint that you believe that hawaii, with its higher start up cost and higher running cost is the only place that ap can be done at a profit even though prime examples of of similare climates and health food and buy local trends also exist in the contiguous states... youce said nothing at all about viability in sun rich states. And nothing about viability in food concious states. And the coiencidence is... most of the sun lit states are also food concious states... ive not seen any actual numbers when it comes to comparing food, water, and electrical costs comming from your end either... i just dont feel that it needs to be mentioned that everything is sold at a higher cost on hawii, not just its food... its kind of an inherant thought. All the numbers, cost and sales, would be lower on the mainland, so the profit margins would really be equil. We couldnt demand the same price on the main land, and it doesnt cost nearly as much as far as running costs. Those numbers i do have converted for mainland ap commercial farming... when you take a system that works and place in similar circumstances (suitable climate and consumer demograhpic regions) with quotable benefits in occardence to running cost and building cost and then place it in a larger market that is cheaper to reach... that pretty much makes it a home run.
creating the path of least resistance is what i do.