Aquaponics: A Short Summary
Hello, we’re a dedicated group of students that are trying to make our impact on the world. Here at the Ohio State University, Brandy, Nate, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to build the foundations of a social enterprise to help alleviate the nutritional needs of Hondurans due to local food insecurity. We’ve created a business plan, personally developed relationships with customers in Honduras, and have a strong long-term management team in place – we just need a little help getting our project off the ground.
Aquaponics is a remarkably robust and unique solution to food insecurity.
It’s a technique for sustainable food production that utilizes the synergistic combination of aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (growing vegetables without soil). The closed system reduces dependency on many other variables such as water, land, and fertilizers and provides a reliable dietary supplement of organically grown fish and vegetables.
Your contributions will be used as a start-up (“seed”) fund for Aquaponics: Bring Home A Fishing Hole. Each dollar raised helps an end-user feed their family.
Hook, Line and Sinker:
We are seeking $6000 for the installation of 4-6 more aquaponics systems in May 2014. This seed fund will be used for micro-financing and business start-up costs such as labor costs, initial installation and procurement expenses.
Since the local consumers cannot afford to purchase all upfront supplies at one time, funds for the initial implementation of the systems will be sourced from an initial ‘seed fund’ controlled by in-country partners in coordination with the World Gospel Mission (WGM). Funds will be placed into a women’s guild association in the community to receive the first aquaponics installations.
Procurement and distribution of supplies will be controlled by in-country managers who will request funds from the seed fund. These managers are workers of Larry and Angie and are also very familiar with the local community as well as the functioning of the aquaponics systems. Their function will allow bulk purchases of upfront building materials resulting in lower per unit costs. Supplies will be procured from a combination of local vendors and the lowest priced regional vendor. In order to maintain customer satisfaction with the systems, the local in-country managers will also perform regular maintenance and up-keeping checks on installed systems. Overall, the end user will benefit from the lower per unit cost of materials as well as enjoy a low repayment financing option.
Each customer’s unit will be funded by a loan in which the user will pay flexible monthly amounts toward the principle and interest. The payback period will be 24 months with monthly payments. This was chosen through the focus group results as their preferred payback timing.
In order to cover overhead costs of operation, the labor of the managers, as well as grow the fund, an interest rate will be charged in addition to the principal repayment of the loan. Some expenses include the gas, labor, and vehicle expenses of maintenance workers as well as profit to motivate their work. With the initial five to six units being installed, it is estimated that the payment to the manager will be around 40 USD per month, or $7 per unit. This wage, along with the number of managers, may increase as more systems are installed.
Beyond nutritional impact, the system installations and everyday functioning serve as an educational tool both for the individual as well as the community. An understanding of the components and dynamics of the system also helps users comprehend important agricultural, scientific and social concepts. Moreover, the loan structure provides educational lessons about fiscal responsibility and accountability. Repayment will enable a community or “seed” fund to grow and allow others in the community to install their own system.
Ownership of the system also raises the personal wealth of one’s assets and their individual satisfaction as the end user has something to “show-off” to the community and to visitors. Finally, the system business provides useful job skills in construction, maintenance, and agriculture as well as and training opportunities which can lead to employment opportunities within a community.
Overall, this multidisciplinary project has broad implications socially, environmentally and economically for the citizens of Siete de Mayo and potential areas around the world. It is a relatively simple but sustainable solution to alleviate food scarcity as well as assist those who are in need with a powerful tool to improve their daily lives.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you cannot make a monetary donation, please don’t hesitate to help out in other ways. Mainly, we just need you to spread the word! Send a few friends our link, show them the video and just share our cause with others. The more people who know, the more people to can help.