Mother Earth News Fair | Asheville NC

The first annual Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC was just held and what a great turnout they had. Over 15,000 attendees to see workshops and presentations from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, who showed how to dress a chicken and Sylvia Bernstein of the Aquaponics Source, who talked about the basics of aquaponics.

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Along with lots of booths proudly representing their innovative and sustainable products and services.

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Let’s not forget the livestock.

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As executive board members of the Aquaponics Association, Meg and Astrid manned a booth for the Aquaponics Association handing out lots of brochures as well as explaining aquaponics with the representative mini aquaponics system on display. The response was phenomenal.

For more information on the remaining Mother Earth News Fairs this year in other parts of the country, see their website. Next is Puyallup WA 5/31-6/1, then Seven Springs, PA 9/12-14

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DIY BSF Biocomposter

DIY Black Soldier Fly Biocomposter

The black solider fly, also known as hermetia illucens or BSF for short, is a composting marvel and it even self harvests, so we can feed our fish by turning organic waste material into protein packed feed 🙂  Native to the warmer climates and available as juveniles for sale to those in colder climates for summer time fun and feed.

Here is the BSF Biocomposter that we built. We modeled ours after the one that we list in resources section at the end of this post; however, our container is a bit larger than the original.  Our egg laying material is HVAC filter squares cut into small sections and we filled the composter up to the drain tube with charcoal and a few inches of coconut coir chips.

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IMG_4531Our DIY composting bins utilize self-harvesting by capitalizing on the natural life cycle of the BSF.

When the larvae have completed their larval development, they enter a stage called “prepupae” wherein they stop eating, they empty their guts, their mouth parts change to an appendage that aids climbing, and they seek a dry, sheltered area to pupate. This prepupae migration instinct allows us to self-harvest the mature larvae. Our container has a ramp on the side to allow the prepupae to climb out of the composter and drop off into some plumbing fitting that end up into a collection area. They are then frozen and feed to the tilapia as a protein source. Don’t forget to rinse weekly. Will keep you updated as we progress.

Picture credits – Wikipedia

BUILD YOUR OWN BSF BIOCOMPOSTER

The best info on how to build and care for your BSF biocomposter can be found at the following resources:

Saving the goat barn

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The goat barn and milking barn were built in times gone by as part of a previous family farm; but it has not been used in about the past 10-12 years, so it is largely overgrown and in need of some serious TLC. It survived hurricane Charley in 2004 thanks to their great construction skills…but now it needs some roofing, a little wood replacement and lot of clearing.

We hope to give it new life as a small livestock barn for rabbits and chickens coming up in 2014!

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Milking barn