Farm and Family Update December 2014

Its been a while since I posted an update. First for the farm:

2014 has been an interesting year. Summer season (our hot/wet season) was the worst we have seen in five years of farming at our current location. It was really HOT, really HUMID and really WET….all of these things combined to make the perfect “storm” for disease issues. By early summer we had a full blown disease issue with major spotting on most crops. Our organic methods of dealing with these diseases just stopped working. By July we were seeing black spotting on even very small plants and we went through a several week period where we had to toss most if not all.

We sent diseased lettuce and bok choi leaves to the lab to figure out what we were fighting. It ended up being two different fungus spores, very common ones that can set up shop pretty much anywhere in the world. They do like hot/wet/humid environments and go crazy when they get it. (These fungus can be found on plants kept in peoples bathrooms world wide, even in the desert). Once we knew what it was we were able to adjust our organic methods and get a little more targeted in the war on fungus. It worked and by mid Sept. were back on track with production going back up.

Pest and disease management (from an organic perspective) is one of the things we focus on in all of our trainings here at Living Aquaponics Farm. If you grow commercially you WILL deal with pests and disease. Knowing how to fight these things is very, very important. We learn new things all the time and give this info to all past and present students!

Fast forward to today in mid-December and we are in the middle of a good growing season with cooler nights, and way less rain. Winter is the dry season here in Kona. We are still doing our weekly pest and disease management strategies and the change for the better in the weather has meant a HUGE jump in production. We are back to producing hundreds of pounds per week and all the plants are healthy and happy 🙂

We are still working on starting a second farm. We are in the process of obtaining a long term agriculture lease and the process is moving slowly. We hope to start this new farm in the first quarter of 2015! I will write more on this when I have more details.

Next is a family update. I know that some of you following us and our farm want to know how Noah is doing. Noah made 7 years old on December 9th. This was a day for us to thankful. Thankful to have him and his brother alive and with us. Noah has been on Chemotherapy since he was 4 years old and had about a year left to go. He is kicking cancer’s ass at the moment and is in solid remission and has been since November of 2012. The continued chemo is part of the plan to make sure this Leukemia does not come back, or at least that is the hope. Noah is doing well. He deals with short and long term side effects daily but gets through them and most are not noticeable to those that do not know him. Since he takes daily chemo his immune system is compromised. This means he is not in school and neither is his little brother Isaac. Flus, colds, and fevers of any kind can get he and I airlifted to his hospital on Oahu. We try and keep that from happening. The classroom is a “germy” place so for now Noah and Isaac do school at home.
Isaac, Noah’s 5 year old brother is doing well. His hair is half way down his back again after shaving it a few years ago when Noah lost his hair. He is back to looking like a south kona hippie (or may be surfer…). He is funny and crazy and a joy to our family.
Becky and I are doing as well as we can. Raising a family when cancer comes knocking on your door is hard. It changes life in a lot of ways. We are tired and worried most of the time. We are also thankful and get to live with that thankfulness for our children staring us in the face everyday. We understand that we could lose Noah or even Isaac too. We are learning to be happy for today and thankful for this moment.
The farm is doing well, we are producing a lot of very healthy food, we are expanding our operations and we are still training others to farm with Aquaponics. Our children are alive and well today (all things considering).

Things are good today. We love what we do and we love our kids, that’s all that really matters right?

If you want to learn how to grow vegetables with Aquaponics you can come spend some time learning from us!

If you have healthy kids that are still with you, take the time to show them that they matter. Life is short and not guaranteed for any of us.

Aloha

zac