Blood hungry mosquitoes to greet you at the aquaponics site.  Check.

Cold, slimy fish poo and calcium deposits to clean out by hand.  Check

Coir stained shirt and slacks.  Check

Grasping the knowledge of food security:  priceless.

Over the years, I have watched one agricultural system after another take center stage with the promise to eradicate hunger and to establish food security.  Like so many others, I viewed with gladness the awe-inspiring pictures and attended many conferences on what makes this new, revised system more sustainable and watched countless videos on people tapping into their individual greatness.  But what I have come to realize is that with any system presented, work must be done.  And not just work, HARD WORK. 

For the last month, I have been interning at Sahib Aquaponics in Winter Park, FL.  And believe me, the work is plentiful and the time goes by so fast.  But I enjoy learning about NFT’s, water pumps, timers and monitoring water levels in the koi pond.  I am grateful to be able to intern at a research farm.  Where trial and error are the norm and where I can grow beyond the textbook learning that I am used to.  For the last three years, I have been searching for a place to further develop my agricultural training.  From traditional farming to permaculture, each opportunity presented its own obstacle.  Either I kept calling to no avail, or the price point was such that I could not afford the education that I was desperately seeking. 

So last Saturday, we re-planted for the upcoming season.  Salad greens, basil, and tomatoes were a few of the seedlings that we worked on.  Not to mention cleaning up, and organizing both Phase 1 and 2.  And this is what my Saturday has become.  A day filled with hard work, blistering heat with little energy to do anything else.  And yes, there are times when I would wonder if what I was doing was worthwhile.   But as the saying goes:  “You get what you pray for.”  I asked for this opportunity and not every aspect of the journey will be planned perfectly.  There will be times where things will not go according to plan.  Or even my efforts may seem scattered.  But there has to be a focus on the big picture.  Food security is one of my many passions and I am willing to embrace different methods of learning to help others.  At least for me, that is the end goal. 

(A Picture of tomato seedlings transplanted in the Deep Water Culture Raft)


This is the start of a life long journey to establish food security.  I hope to advance my learning and bring awareness to an issue that will become a major point of interest as water sources dry, up, economies collapse and inflation increases.

Welcome to the life of an Aquapon!


Karolyn Oakley

Facebook:  Kurlyn Drums


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