I admit it. I’m a girl. I didn’t exactly grow up at my daddy’s side with a hammer in one hand and a drill in the other. I am as uncomfortable in the plumbing department of Home Depot looking for aquaponics plumbing parts, as my husband is looking at plants in the Garden Center. While I can intellectually figure out any system design, and do a pretty good job of explaining it to someone else, aquaponics plumbing just isn’t my “thing”. I’d rather be around the plants and the fish.
I suspect that a lot of other women (and men for that matter) feel the same way. And at the risk of further stereotyping, I also suspect that a lack of comfort with pumps, PVC pipe and plumbing parts has everything to do with why Aquaponic Gardening is practiced so much more by men than by women. For example, 79% of the Aquaponic Gardening Community members are men. Similarly, men dominate The Aquaponic Source customer base. Even the speaker line-up for the Aquaponics Association Conference was 85% male with only four of the 26 speakers women. An interesting exception to this trend is that after this current election of officers for the Aquaponics Association, the Executive Board of the Association is now 100% women. I’m not sure what that means, except that it is probably a topic for a different blog post!
I once joked that aquaponics is “a plumbing project that results in fish and tomatoes” and that the key to getting more women involved in aquaponics is to de-mystify and simplify the “plumbing project” aspect. It’s been a bit of a personal mission of mine to do that here at The Aquaponic Source. I think we succeeded with our AquaBundance systems – especially the SpaceSaver and the Designer systems. But not everyone wants, or can afford, a turn-key system, so next we developed the Bathtub and IBC Tote Plumbing Kits for those who wanted to source their own grow beds and tanks. The problem was that those kits were too specific because they required using bathtubs and IBC totes – duh! So now we’ve come up with a new series of AquaParts Plumbing Kits that work with every size and type of grow bed you can imagine! Not only do these kits eliminate the need to run all over town trying to source plumbing parts, but they come with outstanding, photo-filled instructions to help you every step of the way. And the best part? We’ve also included links to a series of private, 10 – 15 minute-long videos that will help you with everything from selecting grow bed(s) and fish tanks to understanding how a bell siphon works to just understanding the basics of plumbing!
So come on all you “plumbing phobes”! Now there is simply no excuse – it’s time to build and enjoy your very own aquaponics system!