Growth at the Farmery

After seven days without power, the aquaponics system turned on Friday evening without requiring the portable generator. This hurricane was quite the stress test for the system, but all of the fish survived and the plants are much happier now with a reliable source of water and nutrients. Even without power the tomato plants now have a handful of small green tomatoes where the flowers use to be, which will soon be ripe, red, and ready to eat.

As the plants continue to grow, so do Jake and I. We have had the great opportunity to be one of the five companies in the Technology Management and Entrepreneurship’s (TME) Foundry program this summer. Foundry has allowed us to work with a cohort of young entrepreneurs, get expertise from a variety of mentors, and get the funding we need to get started.

The companies in Foundry are all making a positive impact on people’s lives in very different ways. Kyle MacNevin and Kayley Reed have started a mental health conscious clothing line called Wear Your Label, Danny Nuguyen is providing Fredericton with delicious Vietnamese food at Beyond Saigon, Kati Waygood of Waygood Mobile Therapy is changing preventative health care, and Anna Haines of Ploome is enriching lives by teaching and selling fiber arts. Jake and I as the Oasis Farmery are part of this great group, and we all teach, support, and provide feedback to each other.

But as young entrepreneurs we only know so much, so Foundry has provided us with mentors that are experts in their fields. These mentors include Rivers Corbett (Serial Entrepreneur, Relish Gourmet Burgers), Philip LeBlanc (Artist & Designer, Fredericton Makerspace), Johnny Leroux (Architect & Designer), Gracen Johnson (Media Relations & Videography), and Dhirendra Shukla (MSc in Chemical Engineering, MBA, PhD, & TME Director).

Through this three month program, Foundry has propelled the Oasis Farmery towards being a successful business by providing us with a group of fellow entrepreneurs to lean on, mentors to guide us, and the money to grow.

Cheers,

Andrew

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We Survived Hurricane Arthur!

After winds up to 70 km/h and 2000 trees down, 87 000 customers across the province are without power, including the mini farm where the Oasis Farmery is located. Once I realized Saturday morning that the power at Anna’s was out, I rushed to her house to check on the aquaponics system. To those new to the Oasis Farmery community, Anna is my fiancée, and her mother Pam has allowed us to set up the aquaponics system at her house/mini farm. The whole family: Pam, Anna, and Olivia, Anna’s younger sister, take care of the animals on the farm, including a pug named Gracie, a cat named Daisy, 11 chickens and a budgie.

The problem was that the fish can’t live long without the electric pump running to circulate the water and provide oxygen to the fish. Luckily, Pam’s father was already at Anna’s setting up a generator to run the sump pumps for the house, and we were able to use the power as well. The recently installed fence on our first aquaponics system was able to withstand the winds, along with our taller tomato and basil plants. The rest of the plants; pea sprouts, sunflowers, kale, and cilantro were all short enough that the edge of the IBC protected them. Also, the electronics box, containing the credit card sized computer that runs the system, was able to withstand the weather after being held in place by a cinderblock and a few logs, so everything inside stayed nice and dry.

Hurricane Arthur has taught us that the fish can actually go for longer than we expected without the pump running, which is great since the power isn’t expected to come back on for the next couple days. Until then we’re running on generator power and starting to consider a solar backup system.

Arthur gave us quite the scare but we survived and are on with a full head of steam!

All for now,

Andrew

 

Our newly fenced aquaponics system, with the electronics box in the lower right and a raw IBC on the left.

Our newly fenced aquaponics system, with the electronics box in the lower right and a raw IBC on the left.

Our garden bed with Pam's house and barn in the background.

Our garden bed with Pam’s house and barn in the background.