Food IndependenceWhile America celebrates its’ independence on July 4th with barbeques, pledges of allegiance, and fireworks, we asked our team members what Food Independence means to them:

JD Sawyer (Co-Owner) – Food is a right not a privilege. Everyone, regardless of

JD and Tawnya Sawyer at their aquaponic farm at the GrowHaus

their social or economic status deserves to eat clean, healthy and fresh food. Community aquaponics is one way to help support local food production for all. Our aquaponic systems installed at the GrowHaus, in a food desert community, and the newest aquaponic greenhouse at the Mental Health Center of Denver help to achieve this goal.

Tawnya Sawyer (Co-Owner) – Food independence to me means having control

Veggie Kid

Emerson with freshly harvested greens and flowers. What a cutie!

of what my family eats and knowing that my kids will grow up healthy. That gives me more peace of mind. I love growing our food without chemicals, sourcing from farmers that I can trust, and showing our children what it means to be self-reliant. When they say their favorite food is kale, they can name 30 different varieties of lettuce, culinary herbs and cooking greens, and they can clean their own fish, I feel like I’m doing something right as a mom.





Kari-Lise Boyer (Marketing Coordinator) – When I grow my own nutritious, medicinal foods, I feel that I am doing a critical service to myself. The more food

Kari Harvesting Aquaponic Lettuce

Kari harvesting aquaponic lettuce

independent I am, the more I contribute to a much more sustainable food system. For the foods I don’t grow, buying from local farmers is the next best option. I almost forgot to mention the joy of receiving farm fresh eggs and backyard harvested honey from my incredible coworkers (then make deviled eggs to give back)! Food is a form of love. Some words I hold true from my boss, Tawnya:  “The more you grow, the more you know.”


John von Tungeln (Consultant/Video Producer) – Independence is about choice. Consider the tomato.  My grocery store offers 5-6 varieties of tomatoes.  I am growing 12 varieties in my garden.  We currently grow 5 types of basil at The Aquaponic Source in our systems.  The local grocer carries 1 type.  A couple of our large aquaponic farms are located in food deserts.  These are under served communities where the closest grocery store is over 2 miles away.  The only source for groceries in these areas is convenience stores.  I challenge anyone to feed their children with healthy food


John with our office aquaponic garden

from a gas station convenience store.  Our systems provide a source of a wide variety of sustainably farmed fish, nutritionally rich food and jobs.  Food choice is freedom. It is freedom from large companies with questionable practices. It is free from poisons that kill our bees. It is free from pesticides.  It is freedom to give your surplus to friends and family.  It is the freedom to walk in the steps of our ancestors who grew their own food.  It is freedom to grow healthy, natural foods at low costs and with a selection that is simply unavailable at any cost.  One of the best aspects of American culture is the idea of self-sufficiency.  Taking responsibility for at least some of your food production is a tribute to self-sufficiency. This kind of freedom you can feel and taste.  And it tastes great.


Sean Short (Shipping ) – I aim to achieve food independence by reducing the

Sean Short

Sean carefully observing plant growth

amount of resources used to grow food while being environmentally conscious yet profitable at the same time.  I believe this can be accomplished using aquaponic farm models because they use less land, water, capital and energy than soil agriculture while producing more food. My ultimate goal is to see more nutritious and affordable food within communities by creating local farms to provide fish and produce.




Ken Parker (Plumber) – Food independence for me means having a choice to eat healthy. Most times eating healthy also means spending more money. Eating


Our handyman, Ken

healthy food and being healthy shouldn’t be less accessible because a person happens to be lower on the income scale. Food independence is freedom for all to make healthy choices






James Fry (Director of Marketing) – A few years ago I experienced the “triple

James and his crazy radish

James and his crazy radish

country” juice phenomena. I was in India enjoying mango juice when I realized what was printed on the box… “produced in Thailand, packaged in the United States”… and of course shipped to India for consumption! That’s the name of the modern food system game: Destructive, inefficient and entirely dependent on fossil fuels. Instead of buying a bottle of green juice trucked in from California, how satisfying would it be to harvest all the ingredients mere footsteps from your kitchen? We have the tools, knowledge, and technology to revolutionize our food system. It comes down to the desire to change. What choice will we make?



Share with us how YOU are food independent!