Fourth-Generation Family Farm Turns To Aquaponics

Image: Erik Daly | Lee Newspapers

Family farms have been a long tradition in the U.S., but the march of progress has made it more and more difficult for many of these smaller agricultural operations to stay in business. Without the advantage of scale that many “factory farms” have, these small operations struggle to make ends meet.

But one Wisconsin family thinks they’ve found a solution for their particular problems in the form of an 8,600 sqft aquaponics greenhouse they plan to open this spring, reports

Tim Goodenough, his wife Bonny, and their four children are trading soybeans and corn for tilapia and lettuce, and a new project called Floating Gardens LLC. The inspiration for the aquaponics system came from trips to Hawaii, Chile, and Ecuador, where Tim experienced different aquaculture operations that got the gears in his head turning.

Although the 8,600 sqft greenhouse is just a small part of the 700-acre farming operation, which has been in the Goodenough family since the 1930s, Tim and his family sold their last corn and soybean crops in 2013, and auctioned off their farm equipment the next year to finance the aquaponics operation.

Tim expects to start selling fresh produce in April and the first Tilapia in July.

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