Giving Thanks and Aquaponics Appreciations in 2011

By: Tawnya Sawyer

Giving ThanksAs the year winds down and we prepare for my favorite American holiday, Thanksgiving, I am afforded the perfect excuse to give thanks to those who have meant so much to me, and to The Aquaponic Source, over the past year. Here goes!

  • Alan No list of appreciation can ever start with anyone other than my amazing husband and business partner, Alan. Sorry if this gets mushy and repetitive, but when someone falls into the ‘words just aren’t enough’ category your only choice is to keep falling back on more words! Alan works seven days a week from just-after-breakfast to my-eyes-and-brain-are-too-tired-to-function at night. What is so amazing about this is that he is not an aquaponic gardener by passion. He is not being energized by this aquaponics addiction that the rest of us talk about. He was fully retired when two years ago, he jumped into this new venture just to support me and among other things, to do all the detail-oriented, repetitive tasks that I’m so bad at. I couldn’t do what I do without him. Not for a day.
  • Our customers The support we have had from our customers this past year has been humbling. They continue to loyally and enthusiastically support our small business. Our email list has grown exponentially, and almost 50% of our newsletters are opened – typical open rates are closer to 10%. They make suggestions on how we can improve our site and they send their friends to us. We have yet to meet a single customer who has been unreasonable. Not one. I think we have the best customers in the world, but then again, I might be just a little bit biased.
  • Gina CavalieroGina Cavaliero of Green Acre Organics This time last year I didn’t even know who this incredible woman was, and now I consider her to be my closest friend. We met through the Aquaponic Gardening Community when she first announced the launch of her and her partner’s aquaponics farm and later training program. She was an active member of the site and especially contributed to a discussion around the need for an Association and a conference. She and I started talking via Skype in late April. Out of our conversations emerged the highly successful Aquaponics Association Conference and the Aquaponics Association. Ours has been one of those rare, synergistic working relationships where styles blend perfectly and a remarkable amount of work gets done in very little time, with very little stress. And out of this project was born a unique and close aquaponics-sister friendship. For that I am especially thankful.
  • New Society Publisher Without New Society Publisher the Aquaponic Gardening book never would have been written. I am so thankful that they took on this project at this time last year, and that they agreed to push to release the book this past fall. Having a March 1 deadline backed by a signed contract was exactly what I needed to get this book written, and signing that contract with a respected publishing house with a thirty year reputation on the line drove me to higher quality standards than I might have otherwise aspired to. I am also thankful that they developed a beautiful cover, that they did all of the layout design and final proofreading, and that they now manage the relationships with the printer and the myriad of retail book stores that carry my book. All of these tasks would have been arduous for me, but are rote for them and, again, done at a higher standard than I probably would have achieved on my own.
  • Aquaponic Gardening Community The warmth and vitality of this online group continues to amaze me. We have grown from about 800 members at this time last year to almost 3200 today. And none of the spirit of friendly, open source cooperation has been dampened by our growth. The community site continues to be the same incredible source of fellowship, information and idea exchange that I hoped it would become when I started it almost two years ago.

There is so much more to be thankful for, including the donations of images and stories for the book, book endorsements, and meeting so many incredible aquaponics practitioners through the Aquaponics Association Conference. And my loyal blog readers! But I will just stop here and say a heartfelt “Thank You!” to you all.

Happy Thanksgiving.