I like my holidays to be unambiguous celebrations. Christmas was like this all through my childhood and during the early childhood of my children. What wasn’t to love about Santa Claus, Christmas Trees, carols, lights, parties, cookies and presents? But I find as I get older; pesky questions bother me more and more. Is this a sectarian holiday or a religious one? Do my kids really need more ‘stuff’? Isn’t this just fueling our borrow-and-spend consumer economy? Who has the time and energy to pull out, and then put away, all those holiday decorations? What is the point?
Thanksgiving has crept in as my new favorite. I can overlook some pangs of guilt around our historical treatment of the native Indians and my pescetarian sensitivities around having a dead bird as a centerpiece because the overwhelming message of the day is one of giving thanks. The sub-themes of food and family are also sublime. Now that is a holiday I can get behind!
I have so much to be grateful for in both my personal and professional lives, that I thought it appropriate to take a moment in this blog to give thanks for all that aquaponics has given me over the past year. This list is in no particular order.
- This blog – when I first started this blog on Dec 31, 2009 it was a nervous leap of faith that anyone would ever read it. Over the past year, however, I have found that not only are you reading it (about 2,000 of you a week) but that I have come to love writing it. Publishing this blog every week feels like an ongoing conversation with a treasured friend, and when you respond with your wonderfully thoughtful comments, that friend takes on a face. Thank you for being out there, dear readers.
- The Aquaponic Gardening Community – Starting this community site in February, 2010 was another nervous leap of faith. If you build it will they actually come? Slowly but surely people joined. At first one or two a week, then one or two a day, now three or four a day. The community is just over 600 members, and what a thoughtful, intelligent, passionate, funny group of visionaries they are! I learn so much from these folks every day, and am so fortunate to have them be a part of my daily aquaponics life.
- The AquaBundance Aquaponic Gardening System – Designing, prototyping, testing, manufacturing and marketing this gardening system has been a huge part of my husband’s and my lives for the past year, and I’m so thankful for how well it has turned out and been received! I can’t tell you how great it felt to be talking to Atlantis Hydroponics in Atlanta last week and have them say that they’ve assembled a lot of hydroponic and aquaponic systems over the years and this is one of the most well constructed, thoughtfully designed, and attractive systems they’ve ever seen. Feels good not only as a product manufacturer and marketer, but also as someone who feels deeply responsible for representing aquaponics in a good light. High quality systems are another positive step towards having aquaponics accepted as the ‘next generation’ of hydroponic gardening.
- Murray Hallam – Over the past couple of years I’ve become acquainted with most of the influencers in the aquaponics world – many of them belong to the community site – but there is only one that I would truly call ‘friend’. Murray and I got to know each other through my organizing the workshop he held here at the Denver Botanic Garden, and his 3-day stay at my home. We’ve stayed in touch since that visit through e-mail and Skype. Murray is unfailingly generous with his time, knowledge, insights and humor. His philosophy is that since he is in Australia and we are not competitors, that both of our aquaponics businesses can be greatly enhanced through idea exchange and cooperation. I wholeheartedly agree. I consider him to be one of the true visionaries of aquaponics, and I am so thankful to be able to count him as a mentor and friend.
- Alan – Marriage is also in many ways a leap of faith. When I married this amazing man it wasout of love, respect and friendship and my hope that we could build a life together. In the first 20 years of our marriage I thankfully learned that he was an excellent father, husband, and best friend. Over the past year I’ve discovered that he is also a wonderful business partner. He is everything I’m not – financially conservative, operations oriented, strong in math and science. I’m the ‘outside guy’. He is the ‘inside guy’. I’m marketing, sales, the aquaponics evangelist, the visionary, the cheerleader, the ‘face’. He is the CFO, COO, accountant, order processor, head of manufacturing and product development and tireless editor of my writing. He is the yang to my yin. We are both strong-willed, type-A people and of course we have frequent conflicts, but we are learning how to deal with them in a way that is making our marriage stronger. And now we have something on which to focus when the children have left the nest that we have built together.
I am also incredibly thankful for aquaponics in general, and for having the ability to follow my passion through my profession. I sincerely hope all of you have as much to be thankful for in your lives. Happy Thanksgiving – in the US today and whenever it may be in every other place on earth!