Aquaponics FARM in TEXAS 🐟 + 🌿 = 🤠 Sustainable Harvesters


(upbeat music) – We’re Sustainable Harvesters. What you’re standing in is
about 12,000 square feet of controlled environment
greenhouse space. In this space, we can grow up to 7,000 heads of lettuce, in every week, utilizing growing techniques called Aquaponics. We grow a bunch of different varieties of leafy green lettuces, and we distribute that to restaurants all throughout Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and even in Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Sustainable Harvesters was really formed out of the necessity and the need for fresh and local produce in the Houston market specifically. We noticed that there was new restaurants popping up left and right, and all of them always had a gear towards local, fresh,
and sustainable produce that they were sourcing from. When we dove deeper, we realized there was only a few partners actually supplying these restaurants and these chefs with the
products they needed. That’s why we landed on growing lettuce. Every restaurant has a salad, and every chef really likes a fresh, new looking green. We seed all of our lettuce by hand, and we start them on these
grow trays right here. So, this grow tray has 162 spots of a one and one inch cube that we ultimately put one seed in and let ’em germinate in the dark for about two days. After that time period, they have access to the sunlight. They’re gonna grow their first leaf and specifically with
lettuce, that first leaf is called a radical. So, once they hit that radical stage, we bring ’em into the sunlight and we ultimately leave
’em under LED lights for about two to three weeks. When they get to about this size or a little bit younger
or a little bit older, we actually bring these trays down to the very back of the greenhouse where each one of these will pop out on a bed of pegs exposing
its cube’s material. This cube material is
made of 99% peat moss with a 1% elastic polymer, giving it a sponge-like effect, allowing us to submerge
this root structure into water for the life of the product. So, the first stage in
every day is harvesting. Harvesting, is really the only thing that we do, harvest and plant. And we try to do that as
sustainable as possible by recirculating that water, by utilizing the waste
water that we collect to our compost beds, and really try and use
as many efficiencies in labor and planting as possible. And so, when we were deciding what we should be called, we really thought about the two words that make us different, or at least make us what we are, and that is Sustainable
and that is Harvesters. (upbeat music) When we do harvest in the morning, it’s as easy as pulling this entire board out of the water and carefully bringing it to our food preparation area where we’ll ultimately
take each one of these heads of lettuce off of this board by pulling them out, exposing just a few of the bad
leaves that might be there. When we put these roots around this, it gives a shelf life
of close to three weeks in your refrigerator. Now, when we remove the boards, we leave a gap up in the front and then that allows us
to push all the boards toward us here, our
harvest area, and stack new boards in the back utilizing our germination cubes. So, we’ll pack it in these trays that we call our transfer trays, ultimately packing one variety in each one of these trays giving us the ability to
pack all seven varieties with a couple of these and keep ’em in our cooler to crisp up. Then, it’s time to pack our lettuce and make our mixed cases. So, early on when we were really trying to find that market for our products. We called upon Texas A&M
and Prairie View A&M, to come out and give us a little insight about farming. They looked at us and
said, “You know, you two “are young folk. “You should really go home and check “out this new way of
farming called Aquaponics.” That night we went home,
Googled Aquaponics. The next day when we came out here, we looked at each other and we said, “This is our goal. “This is gonna be what we’re gonna try “and establish in this market.” So, now it’s really time to get into the Aquaponics side, and what makes us different than most traditional growers out there. The basic definition of Aquaponics is the combination between aquaculture, raising fish, our freshwater fish, in a controlled environment, and hydroponics which is growing plants in a soilless environment. So, we utilize both ecosystems working together to simultaneously
create the nutrients and ultimately remove the nutrients in the form of uptaking and growing their beautiful
leafy green leaves. So, these tilapia are the real engine to our motor. They create that nutrient in its raw form called ammonia, and they create that by
excreting a waste product after we feed them every day, two to three times. Our next filtration, our biofilters. These are a simple baffle system that separates out the solids from the liquid ammonia
or broken apart ammonia. So after it removes its 50%, that other 50% of that waste heads down to our second filter we like to call our living filter. So that the water passing
below this walkway into our grow beds is
clean of any solid debris and just really rich in ammonia which the plants can ultimately take up in the form of that nitrate and remove it from the system before that water flows directly back to the lowest point in our system where we equipped a pump sending it eight feet directly above so that we can have fresh
water going directly to those fish tanks creating a closed loop
recirculatory aquaculture system by the scientific definition. (upbeat music) In finding this land, we were really lucky in the fact that we could partner with the Houston Oaks Country Club that was gearing their menu and their entire members’ dinner and lunch service to local, farm
fresh grown produce. And that inspired us to
really build our greenhouse and really promote that awesome
farm to table experience to a whole other level. Which we have a total of five greenhouses, 12,000 square feet of working greenhouse, and the expansion of
another 8,000 square feet coming in this summer. After securing the land, we really noticed that
the most important part about our system is a level pad site. All of our water has to be level so that we can flow it from a hundred feet from one side to the other without having much variance in the depth of that water. So, starting with a very flat base allows us to build upon that a very structural system and a very efficient and ultimately sustainable system. A lot of hurdles in the beginning days of Sustainable Harvesters weren’t so much with the system. It was really scaling
up at the appropriate time to supply the demand in the market. And so, we chose the
12 varieties of lettuce that’re found nowhere in the market. And that includes our green butterhead, and red butterhead, green and red oakleaf, green and red lollo
rosa, our summer crisp, red and green romaine, and of course, everyone’s favorite, boston bibb. So, our baby lettuce is
really what we marketed and promoted to our restaurants and they caught on like wildfire. So, the best advice, I believe, in starting any type of
agricultural enterprise or entrepreneurial adventure is to really know your market. Reach out to your local
colleges of agriculture or even your chefs at
your local restaurants and get their point of view and their perspective. They will tell you the answers that you need to know to start and build up your initial business plan. Consistency is key,
and so we are realistic with these chefs but we’re also as consistent with them as possible. We’re gonna be here not only in the Winter and the great growing
seasons of the Spring, but we’ll be there in the Summer when people want that salad or in the Fall when they really want something fresh and healthy for their diet. (upbeat music) Food is medicine and growing a healthy and a fresh product for people to consume that are really trying to
be as healthy as possible really gives me the
passion to keep on going. I think the most rewarding
part is going out to those farmers markets and seeing these kids
and parents of these kids try something new. As a kid, I never ate salads and to see a kid grab a head of lettuce that might have never had a salad before, see those roots, get interested about the way it was grown and then ultimately follow that interest back to the kitchen, hearing those parents come back and say, “You have
transformed our kid’s diet.” I think that is one of
the most rewarding parts of this system, and
part of this experience that we’ve been a part of. I think land is important
because you can’t create more of it. As we move closer and closer to the urban environments, there is less, less people living in these rural environments which means more and more food needs to be moved into
the urban environments. And so, a growing
technique like Aquaponics or Hydroponics allows you to really use a minimal amount of space to grow a maximum amount of produce. (upbeat music) We are here for a short amount of time, but the land is here for eternity. It’s here for a large amount of time and really, the things
that we do to it today impact it hundreds and hundreds of years down the road. I think that it might not be visible to see the damage that we’re doing to some of the land out there, but being mindful of that and utilizing land for an original purpose like farming or agriculture is something that I think we need to move back towards. Having a care and a need for this land even though we might not be utilizing it as much as we used to, we need to be proactive and really be sustainable in all ways that we have land management. LANDiO, LAND is OPPORTUNITY.

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100 thoughts on “Aquaponics FARM in TEXAS 🐟 + 🌿 = 🤠 Sustainable Harvesters

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  2. How much would it cost to start up one of those greenhouse hydroponic farms? Like I'd really like to start one (maybe more like half the size of one of those greenhouses), but like how do you even get started with the fish and trays and the greenhouse in general?

  3. it is really amazing!!. i just want to know how many tilapia you put in that tank. or what is your stocking density of per square meter ?

  4. How much does each head of lettuce sells for on average? I've done aquaponics on a small scale & plan on building a 4000sqf greenhouse for aquaponics in central California. Also what's your best cash crop?

  5. This is not a good way of occupying farm land, because nobody will be able to farm somthing after destroying these greenhouses.
    Aquaponics should be reserved to already dead lands (abandoned parking lots, industrial site etc)
    When the soil is alive it has to be cultivated , not destroyed to build off the ground greenhouses/

  6. Interesting that plants look really healthy because I see some brown roots (Pythium ) which means most of the time root rot.
    I know that some growers claim that this could be nutrient stain…but in my experience,only snow white roots are healthy roots that lead to maximum potential of health, aroma,quality product and of course yield of any plant.
    Try to use some Trichoderma Hartzianum and Bacilus Subtilis to obtaine the pearl white roots,and I’m sure you will up the yield to the max.
    👍✋️

  7. I'm not sure but ,if anyone else wants to discover
    s&s aquaponics
    try Proutklarton Surviving Instruction Plan (do a search on google ) ? Ive heard some incredible things about it and my mate got cool results with it.

  8. hey ,if anyone else wants to uncover
    how to build an aquaponics system cheap
    try Proutklarton Surviving Instruction Plan (should be on google have a look ) ? Ive heard some super things about it and my mate got amazing results with it.

  9. Agriculture especially Horticultural crops are converting to aquaponics and hope we will see the big future of aquaponics. what a marvelous greenhouse. Keep doing well like that. I studied Horticulture and hope to learn more practical works from you through your channel.

  10. Very clean facility, great looking layout, very expensive to build, but well planned and from the look of it, executed.

  11. Great video. Some great ideas for me to "borrow". Thanks for sharing. Do you have a facility yet to accommodate tours so that we can see it firsthand? Once again, THANKS

  12. You seem conscious… Those fish are way, way, way over crowded. It's cruel to them and bad vibes for you and everything you are doing. The freshness of their water is but one factor, kudos to you for considering the entire loop, and your whole op is enviable, but your cycling the water, nutrient and waste of a large pond through a few barrels, and the fish are paying for it. peace

  13. why there is no bug and root disease ? my family is farmer, If we dont use some chemical our lettuce and all of our plants will not live . Bug will eat their leafs even their roots sometimes , but in here there isnt single damage on leafs. it is incredible

  14. Is there no way to do this without using the plastics? Also, those fish bins seem incredibly crowded… seems like an awful life for the fish

  15. So hip and cool.. I almost forgot about generations of farmers inside US and outside, for instance the Netherlands my home country, that have fed their countries for centuries and that are now hit by Agenda 2030. The corrupt climate change bullshit agenda. Unless this young man is dealing with this corrupt UN agenda all I see is youthful arrogance pissing on history.

  16. Namasthe! Wow! The clarity of your thoughts &plans reflects in your words & results!
    Serving co-beings is equal to serving God!
    May you expand more & lead a self-satisfied life!

  17. funny how no one gives a fuck about fish, if ya put a bunch of cows in a tiny shed jammed in like that for there hole life people would go nuts

  18. Seu vídeo é muito bom pena que eu não sei o que você tá falando porque eu não entendo em inglês Gostaria muito de saber o que você tá falando para mim aprender com você Muito bom muito lindo sua plantação

  19. ผัก พืชอาหาร คือเครื่องแปรธาตุอาหารจากธรรมชาติเพื่อมาเป็นร่างกายของมนุษย์และสัตว์ ต่อไปคงมีเครื่องมือใหม่ที่ดีกว่ามาแทนพืช และไม่ใช่สัตว์ด้วย. ที่พระพุทธเจ้าห้ามฆ่าสัตว์รวมถึงคนด้วยอาจเป็นเพราะเหตุผลนี้ก็ใด้ ท่านคงรู้ว่าอนาคตจะเป็นอย่างนั้น.นี่เองที่ไอสไตน์ยอมรับว่าเป็นศาสนาที่ไปกันใด้กับวิทยาศาสตร์.

  20. Hi Matt,

    First I would like to praise you for all your hard and meaningful work.

    I own an urban farm in Ottawa Ontario Canada called Wizard Greens (www.wizardgreens.ca). I'm currently applying to a part-time position with a not-for-profit called SeedChange(weseedchange.org). They help over 35,000 farmers worldwide (including across Canada) and have been doing so since 1945.

    I'm proposing to focus my time on reaching out to influencers (like you). Those with a large platform that are able to broadcast a simple message that encourages people to donate.

    If I had your blessing, I would surely be able to get this role…and continue my quest in helping farmers worldwide. Just like you my passion is to encourage local urban farming. Your response would mean the world to me. Together, we can all make a difference.

    Kind regards,
    Josh

  21. So, to set up further North, indoor facilities would be more relevant to your system. Therefore, I'm concerned about mold controle. Also, do you test the water for contamination, such as saminella? How do you achieve consitant nutrient loading?

  22. Ha! No, when it snows it's warm -10C' or warmer. You'd think they would have shut the city down to let people shovel out. So really we're hanging around -7 today. If my conversion is right F'=1.8(-10)+32=14F' and today its 1.8(-7C)+32=19.4F'
    Happy New Year too Eh!!

  23. so far, I rely on premix soil plus add nutrient solution bi-weekly, the leaves maintain nice deep green. Since I'm new at the planter and video production expect better everything this season. I may mix peat moss 50/50 with soil and rely more on adding nutrient, as required this season as well. Either way, as a simple appartment dweller, this is about all a person can grow, without getting too expensive on the side with good ventalation system growing indoors. You have to be careful not to produce black mold for example I'll get away with starting seeds in March this year, by mid June the planter can stay on my balcony.

  24. Plus I like the cold, -25C' is more comfortable than -2 ish, cause it's less damp. Now snakes and spiders, are not for me. I'd get bit by something. Take care Steve

  25. "in 2020, this list helped me decide for the best greenhouse scafe.shop/tbg2020?9R hope it helps you out too!"

  26. How do you account for the 3 missing nutrients from fish food? Specifically iron, potassium and calcium I think? Definitely iron. I heard liquid kelp gives 2 of them.

  27. They are NOT the largest aquaponics farm in Texas. I have been to Sustainable Harvesters (an amazing operation) and a MUCH LARGER aquaponics farm in Texas- Doodley Dee's Farm. I modeled my own aquaponics system more after Sustainable Harvester's approach – but I took a lot of tips from Doodley Dee's Farm. Both places are quite interesting – but very different! My system is still in startup phase but I have posted a few videos of it on my channel.

  28. Don't get me wrong, I like a good salad with a steak but that's a lot of power being used to keep a vegan happy… That's a lot of plugs per week! Wonder what's in the fish lol
    Sustainable lol yeah, right up untill the power went out lol
    If you're that close to flowing water I'd be utilising that with solar.

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