Despite a seemingly unending rain and enough mud to sour the mood of even the most enthusiastic intern, I get it…
Here is what I mean, the large collection of “stuff”, the aquaponics, the alpacas, the quarry, Raisin’ Roots Farms and Sara’s chickens all are a part of what appears to be a grand experiment. When Wayne explained to me the concept of a Shared Economy and utilizing assets, the concept of ‘Ecopreneurship’ and ‘Ecolonomics’ suddenly made sense. In an instant the chaos of all the pieces and projects happening on the ranch all fell into place. They are all a part of a vision to capitalize on the abundance of resources that are provided by the earth herself and brought into utilization by the passionate individuals who also share in this vision.
For instance, the herd of alpacas can be a stand alone venture, valuable for their fleece. However, if we look at the herd as a part of a larger whole, their poop is also a resource (fertilizer) and used by Ben’s Raisin’ Roots Farm. The quarry too, provides a substantial amount of income for the ranch, but the rocks are used for just about every other project on the ranch in some form or another and the ‘pit’ makes for great storage space. The aquaponics at some point in the past were used to grow micro greens for the herd of alpacas and though the results were less than perfect we are still talking about an experiment. However, I am beginning to see aquaponics and aquaculture as more of the R and D department of this shared economy, where aquaponics may not be the flagship money maker, but still serves as an avenue to design and build solutions for the future of food production in a variety of environments.
Even myself as an intern fit into the grand puzzle. I contribute my time and work to the ranch and in return receive an opportunity to participate and learn about a new style of cooperative and sustainable business. What is surprising, is that I went into this internship with what I now understand to be a rather narrow expectation of the ranch. With that in mind I am now trying wrap my head around ALL of the pieces and the economy of the ranch as a whole. What are the assets that are still underutilized and how can they contribute to the larger vision? How can this model of cooperative and sustainable business be replicated with different kinds of assets? What can I do to maximize my own assets and how can I contribute to the larger picture?
One last thing to keep in mind…
“Aquaponics is like fine wine, the older it is the better it gets.”
– Dr. Wayne Dorband
– Steve Chang