Pawhuska, Ok. – July 2019, the Osage Nation (ON) Aquaponics initiative successfully moved from its previous location in a building under Osage Nation Environmental Solutions to Bird Creek Farm saving the Nation $1,800 per month.
The move couldn’t have come at a better time. ON Aquaponics Technician Brandy Supernaw attended a class through Nelson Pade, Inc. Along with a certificate in Mastery of Aquaponics through Nelson Pade, Inc., he also received clarification on several aspects of the system currently being used with the Osage Nation.
The company originally designed the MicroFarm to meet the criteria of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Micro Loan program. MicroFarms are ideal for indoor farming of diverse crops, highly effective, and budget-wise. The specific system ON uses is MicroFarm 3. This design includes four 200 gallon fish tanks, filter tanks, degas and sump tanks, plumbing and aeration systems, plumbing and aeration systems, 2-8’ x 24’ raft tanks and a 10’ x 12’ accelerated plant nursery. This system uses the “conveyor-belt” method of growing lettuce, moving plant rafts forward in accordance with crop maturity.
During the move, Craig Walker of ONES implemented the plumbing for the system. He added transitional expertise to the move that contributed to the overall success of moving the project. “We got it all finished and up and running by the beginning week of June,” said Supernaw.
The MicroFarm system currently holds approximately 75-100 tilapia per tank. The plant nursery entails over a thousand heads of romaine lettuce. “The training I received at Nelson and Pade basically taught me to match the grow lights to nature giving the plants recovery time at night just like the sun would,” said Supernaw.
The ON Aquaponics program currently yields up to 6,000 pounds of produce, with a goal to double that for the new year. They currently work with Norris Bighorse through the ON Career Development Program and two ON Summer Youth workers. The outreach of the program doesn’t stop there, “The most rewarding aspect of putting so much work into this program is that I get to see the production go to Elder Nutrition, the ON Head Start, Daposka Ahnkodapi, and the WELAs.”
For more information, please visit: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/communities-excellence/bird-creek-farms
Pawhuska, OK 74056