Aquaponic Gardener Profile – Ouroboros

By: Tawnya Sawyer

Aquaponic Gardener Profile – Ouroboros

Half Moon Bay, CA

Established 2012 & Owned by Ken Armstrong and Jessica Patton

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Ken and Jessica bring a dedicated focus on clean food and healthy lifestyle choices at Ouroboros Farms, and work to provide all their customers with a deeper connection to their food source. They recognize the potential for increased health benefits and a new balance among humans and the earth through the awareness of sustainably grown plants.

 

Q: Where is your farm located?

A: Ouroboros Aquaponic Farm was started in 2012 and is located in Half Moon Bay, California, about equal distance between San Francisco and Palo Alto.

 

Ouroboro KenQ: Who is involved? 

A: Ken Armstrong is the owner/founder/farm manager. Having grown up around backyard farming, Ken decided to embody his connection to the Earth, and manifest his desire to help others help themselves after becoming acutely aware of the need for food security, safety and sovereignty.

Jessica Patton is a native Californian with many years experience working with healing plants, herbs, self-sustainable farming techniques, hydroponics and aquaponics both indoors and out. Jessica shares her love of gardening and health consciousness with her daughter, who is eager to learn and participate in aquaponics.

 

Q: What are the farm specs?Ouroboro5

A: Ouroboros Farms is 15,000 sq ft greenhouse, education center and retail marketplace

  • Fish tanks – Four 800 gallons growing channel catfish and koi fish type
  • Filtration – Radial flow clarifier, mineralization tank, degas tank
  • Deep Water Culture – growing salad, kale, Asian cooking greens
  • Media beds and irrigated buckets – growing 3 varieties of tomatoes, herbs, lemongrass, celery, shishito peppers
  • Nursery table – growing microgreens and seedlings
  • Wicking beds – growing carrots and radishes

 

Jessica Patton picks lettuce at Ouroboros Farms in Pescadero, Calif.,on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013. (John Green/Bay Area News Group)Q: What is your mission?

A: Ouroboros mission is to partner with nature by combining the principles of aquaponics and permaculture and to bring our customers the freshest, healthiest, chemical-free produce.

 

Q: Where can we follow you on social media?

A: Facebook @ Ouroboros Farm, http://www.ouroborosfarms.com/

 

Q: What inspired you to get into aquaponics?

A: A love of plants and farming. Traveling the world and seeing a need for healthy food produced in more sustainable ways. For doing something that is really valuable, innovative and proving that it can work.

 

Q: What has surprised you most about aquaponics?Ouroboro4

A: How much food can be produced in aquaponics. I am amazed every time I walk into the greenhouse (especially in the Spring when the days get longer and warmer), how abundantly the farm produces food.

 

Q: What are some of the current challenges?

A: The relationship between being able to grow so much food, and the market to get it all distributed. While there is always a need for health food to be locally available, the demand for volume changes throughout the season, and based on the weather. We are also located on the coast, and there is less demand for freshwater fish compared to seafood that is more abundantly available. Being in a farming community there is lots of different competition for fresh produce.

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Q: What do you think the biggest misconception of aquaponics is? 

A: That you can make a fortune in some get rich quick way because everyone is interested in it. Aquaponics is farming and like any business, it takes time to get up and running and make a profit. Also, that aquaponics is easy, that you just get some fish and the plants grow themselves. Aquaponics is a balancing act of managing different parts of an ecosystem, not to mention the equipment that goes along with it.

 

Q: What are your future goals?

A: Getting more people interested in aquaponics and really proving out the model of sustainable aquaponic farming. Greater farm efficiencies, and improving profitability. The Aquaponic Farming Course July 14-17, 2016 is hosted by Ouroboros, and Ken is speaking at the upcoming Aquaponic Association Conference in Austin, TX in November 11-13 2016.

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