Believe it!

Our first fingerlings have arrived. Most of them are 5-10 grams, but there are a few big ones….which reminds me, I need to get a scale! Was awake most of the night, waiting in anticipation, and my team of 3 staffers arrived at the farm ‘early.’
Today was a great day for all of us. The entire community is talking…”Fish in Groot Aub, I don’t believe it!”
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Lesson learned

Free-range goats got into the farm and ate the tops off of young plants. At least it wasn’t elephants. New priority: build a perimeter fence.

Truncated plants on the left

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Soil + carbon nitrogen

The first delivery of soil is here! If I keep up this frequency of collecting the soil content, by July I’ll be ready to field plant around the tank.

Love those blue Synergy Farms T-shirts!

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Worms

I am on my way to the farm today with my first load of compost and worms! This is the good stuff. I also have a new air blower, water pump, boots for my staff and more goodies. Got a nice deal on transport. I hope to have the whole system running in the next week or so!
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Organic filters

I’m back in Windhoeck to borrow a truck from a friend so I can transport plants to the farm. I’m tired as hell. I can’t describe the transportation challenge of walking, taking a taxi, and toting stuff on borrowed time …but still, I’m pressing forward.

My helper Giuliano keeps an eye on the filter tanks and PVC

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Panels Up!

It’s been a good week…solar panels are up! I learned so much in the process. Things are moving quickly.

A beautiful array of solar panels

The power station behind our “off the grid” farm in rural Africa

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Green Fuel

SFI-Namibia’s pilot farm is taking shape, thanks to a handful of investors in the U.S. who believe aquaponic farming has the potential to make a difference. These angels are changing the food landscape in Namibia.

Michael Gaines and Lee Levine in Tennessee

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A cool room for hot panels

 Things are moving and the cooling room is now completed. This building will protect the solar-powered pump that oxygenates the water to keeps our fish alive in dry Africa.
On my next trip from Windhoek to the farm, I will also be taking cots for staff so they can stay overnight at the shelter and provide 24/7 presence at the farm.
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We Got Water!

 
And it’s the cleanest-tasting water in all of Namibia. Really.
The farm is now connected to a line that disburses water from a community-accessed borehole. We pay a monthly rate for water during grow season and no fee if not using water. This 5,000-liter reserve will be the main water source. The borehole is pumped twice a week, and we will refill the reserve as needed.
It may not appear to be a big deal, placing this tank into position, but let me assure you that it is.
For me, the amazement is greater knowing that the bricks used to build the water tank stand, and stone used for the cement, all get into place and onsite due to the generous support from community members.
Not having transportation limits my ability to manage and keep pace with construction. I often have to walk from one end of the community to another to find a person with a vehicle, or to purchase things needed that are available locally. Walking such distances can take 2-3 hours, and I am at the mercy of people who may feel compelled to help me or charge me excessively because they know I have no other option. It is only by grace and favor that we have made it this far.
I remain convinced that despite challenges, we can create a company that is efficient at growing quality foods using a well-developed and sustainable method.
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