Eastern to offer Aquaponics certificate course Feb. 4


WILBURTON, OK (Jan. 25, 2017) – The public is invited to participate in a one-day aquaponic certificate class on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The class will be hosted at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton and be presented by EOSC faculty in conjunction with Symbiotic Aquaponic, a nationally-recognized company.

Aquaponic agriculture is an innovative method of growing all-natural produce and fish using a re-circulating water system. Using this approach, water from the fish habitat provides the necessary nutrients for growing a variety of plants such as cherry tomatoes, leafy greens, herbs, strawberries, and even flowers. In return, the plants act as a filter and clean the water for the fish.

Due to the reduced water usage, increased crop yields and expanded growing season, there has been a growing interest in aquaponics throughout the region indicates Kaben Smallwood, Symbiotic Aquaponic CEO and co-owner and EOSC Business Administration professor.

“Aquaponics is especially valuable in places like Oklahoma where drought and water-shortages are constant concerns,” said Smallwood. “Our patent-pending aquaponic systems can be done at home by the hobbyist home-gardener or on a commercial farm. No matter the scale, our systems use approximately 1/95th the water of traditional agriculture.”

The class will provide an introduction to aquaponic topics such as system designs, the scientific principles in action and a suggested selection of plant and fish species. Participants will engage in classroom discussions and gain hands-on experience in the EOSC greenhouse. Participants will also sample produce from Eastern’s own aquaponic system for lunch. All course materials will be provided the day of the class.

“We’re excited to bring aquaponics to Oklahoma,” Smallwood said. “There’s a real need for sustainable agriculture and access to nutritious foods to address Oklahoma’s problems like water shortages, food deserts, and diabetes. I think people realize that and that’s part of why they’re interested.” Smallwood went on to say he believes the class is a good start towards positive social change in Oklahoma.

The cost for the class is $129 and includes materials, refreshments and the aforementioned light lunch. Special group rates are available for parties of four or more. Prospective participants can visit symbioticaquaponic.com for registration and payment online. Please contact kaben@symbioticaquaponic.com for more information.

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