About Us

Scott and Kim have shared their lives together for the past 12 years and now live in Acworth, Georgia (about 35 miles northwest of Atlanta) with their two young children, ages 1 and 3, and two old dogs.

They have a strong interest in developing and maintaining an independent, self-sufficient, and sustainable lifestyle that will benefit their family and their community.  Aquaponics is a step in that direction.

Initially, they plan to feed their family with the healthy, organic food they grow in their backyard system. Within one to three years they hope to build a commercial system so they can earn a living feeding their community.  Then, within five years, they plan to teach others (individuals, families, homeless shelters, schools, etc) how to build and operate their own aquaponic systems so they can feed their own families and communities.

Scott was a police officer in a major U.S. city, but he was injured in the line of duty over three years ago.  While his bones have healed, he still has nerve damage in his legs, neck and back, and now suffers from a terribly painful and rare condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  It is also known as Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  Basically, this disorder causes the sympathetic nervous system to go crazy as it constantly sends out pain signals.  Scott describes the pain in his legs as feeling like someone has poured gasoline on them and then set him on fire.  It never goes away.  He has spent most of the past three years in bed while taking a dozen medications to help relieve some of the pain and swelling.

The good news is that this aquaponic project distracts him from the pain as he focuses on feeding his family healthy foods in a sustainable and ecologically friendly way.  He is also excited that his children are learning about aquaponics and growing food from a very young age, and the entire family is working and playing together as the family grows their own organic food.

Prior to his injury, Scott enjoyed white-water kayaking, hiking, camping, long-distance bike riding, traveling, learning foreign languages and target practice.

Kim was a very successful real estate agent for many years before the market crashed in 2008, and now she thoroughly enjoys being a mother of two beautiful children while she works part-time from home.  When she has a spare moment, which is not that often, she also enjoys traveling, gardening, sewing, crocheting, making glass beads and jewelry, teaching English as a second language . . . and shopping.  Kim is also tri-lingual and truly enjoys speaking with Spanish and Mandarin-Chinese speaking friends.

Scott says that Kim has never met a person she didn’t call her friend.

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112 Responses to About Us

  1. Lora K. says:

    Thank you for sharing. Best to you and your Aquaponics plans. Food security is so important. Aloha.

  2. Hi Lora, Thanks for stopping by. You would definitely know about food security. From what I hear, most of Hawaii is truly dependent upon imported food, and the ships and planes that transport it. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if they were held up for an extended period of time. Hopefully, we’ll never have to find out. At least you’re growing your own food. BTW, I love your blog. – Scott

  3. nano_entity says:

    Greetings from Australia!. Great work! looking forward to seeing how you are going to integrate this with your other home food production. Would love to know what you are growing and what’s working for you in your climate and locale.

    • Greetings! I have added a new post that lists what we are growing this year just for you…and anyone else who’s interested Well, we hope it all grows. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Greetings from North Carolina! Thanks for visiting my site and thus introducing me to yours: what an amazing system you’ve set-up to feed your family. Very, very cool.

  5. Rob Shepler says:

    I love your system! Great job with the design and construction, and a great job documenting it. Your system is about 3 times as large as ours is, very nice! I can’t wait to see what you grow after it is cycled in. Sweet.

  6. Natasha says:

    Thank you for visiting my site and liking my gardening post. I find your blog fascinating and look forward to perusing it!

  7. Thanks for visiting my blog and yours is fasinating!!! and your kids are adorable!

  8. Thank you for visiting my blog and let me know that you like it. I enjoyed reading yours how you are enjoy eating healthy, organic food they grow in a backyard system.

  9. seniledenial says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Fascinating blog!

  10. greencat365 says:

    Hi, Aquaponic Family! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I think aquaponic gardening is pretty neat, too, but never had the chance to try it out.

    I admire that you’re thinking of going into a small business with this.

    • Hi GreenCat. I hope you get a chance to try aquaponic gardening. There are plans ranging in size from a small table top system to a huge commercial system. We started with a medium size, but you can start smaller if you just want to try it as an experiment.

  11. I just read an article about Aquaponic gardening. I’m excited to read and see how it’s actually put into practice!

  12. Looks like you are off to a good start! I look forward to seeing how it develops.

  13. whileeveryoneelseissleeping says:

    Wow! You have just introduced me to a whole new way of gardening. Can’t wait to come back and track your progress. Thanks for recently visiting my site and liking my post on gardening. Good luck with your growing!

  14. Pingback: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Mule Massage And A New Kind Of Donut. « cadmefoghlaimethainniu

  15. Anthropogen says:

    Although you work with fresh water, you’ll probably find this article on seawater aquaponics interesting. Very interesting project you have going. I’ll check back for more. http://theharvestgypsies.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/hawaiian-fish-pond-2-0/

  16. tamraf says:

    Love your blog and your DIY approach. Great job and happy eating!

    Tamra

  17. What an inspirational life the two of you lead. Thank you for sharing it with others.
    Though my pain is nothing like Scott’s, I too suffer from nerve damage in my back and legs due to parasites that got into my blood stream while studying biology abroad in the Amazon Rainforest at 29 years old. At 36, I feel I should be at the prime of my life physically and yet I watch the muscles atrophy as I fight tooth and nail to keep them alive. I am no longer able to do what I once could and though I’ve heard adjusting to the “new normal” takes time, the fact that my once stunning legs are now full of cellulite, and are no longer strong enough to take me on six mile hikes, I can still hike one mile. And I too distract myself growing healthy food and experimenting in the kitchen—things I may not have taken the time to do if this hadn’t occured.
    Hang in there. And fight the good fight. We’re with you in spirit.

    • Thank you Jennifer! I admire you for focusing on the things you can still do, instead of dwelling on what you have lost. You are an inspiration, and you are a living example of this quote:

      I used to complain about having no shoes, until I met a man with no feet.

  18. Thanks for popping over to my blog for a visit, I’m glad you liked the story. I’m so glad to hear that your project is so therapeutic and life affirming (I feel much the same about mine), you are a wonderful example for your children. Be well, I look forward to following your adventures.

  19. Julia Swancy says:

    hey, you’re not far from me at all! I drive to ACworth/Kennesaw at least once a week! excited to follow along and learn from you here, aquaponics is on my “skill up” list! great blog!

    • Hi Julia! You’re the second blogger I’ve met in the past week or so who’s farming/homesteading near me. It’s a small world. Love your blogs! Sorry to hear about your calf. I hope you caught the guilty coyote, dog, or cat so it doesn’t do it again.

  20. Great blog! And thanks for stopping by our little multi-subject blog at http://michaelepicray.com/. We have been interested in doing the water/tilapia thing, but haven’t had the time or money to get it started. We were thinking more along the lines of putting the fish tank in a sunny place in the floor/ground (like in a living room) where it would not only raise fish, but also act as a heatsync and help to keep the house warm and humid in the winter. Since we have a lot of space, we are developing our outdoors resources first. If things go well this year – I see farmer’s markets in our weekly schedule! ;-D

    So…. will you bake, fry, or grill those first fruits from the fish tank? 😮

  21. Hi y’all. Thanks for visiting Storyteller. — Ray

  22. THanks so much for visiting my blog! I wish you the best of luck in your venture- it sounds very interesting and I look forward to reading more about what you are growing!

    • Thank you for your well wishes. I look forward to reading about your new chickens when they arrive. You must be very excited. We have been thinking about getting some Ameraucanas for their Easter eggs and because we hear they are relatively quiet.

  23. barnyarn says:

    Thanks so much for liking my story. Something I didn’t mention (although it’s explained in one of the links) is that fish are able to undergo a natural gender change as well. But I bet you already know that! Wierd, wild stuff.

  24. It is a small world – I used to spend my summers in Acworth when I was a child. After my parents divorced, my father was transferred to Dobbins AFB.
    I recently came across an organization that is doing aquaponics in a big way – it’s called Growing Power. If you haven’t heard of them before, you may want to check them out. They are growing tons of food and doing lots of good things for their community.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck to you with your project!

  25. Thank you again, for looking at Storyteller. — Ray

  26. weezmccarty says:

    Very interesting project. Not sure if it would work up here in the hills of western Ma. Don’t think the season would be long enough for an outdoor venture like that and there’s not enough room in the house. Thanks for stopping by my blog. We are also taking the chicken plunge in a few weeks. We’ll be attending a chicken workshop and coming home with 3 chicks each. Most of what I’ve read is that they’re easier to take care of than dogs and we have 3 of them. I’m sure I’ll be posting about that adventue!

  27. attemptinggreen says:

    I am in the beginning stages of planning a permaculture in my backyard. I keep fantasizing about a pond in the yard that will be a rain water resevoir as well as be a place where I can stock fish. Do you have any reading material advice on this topic, and how to implement it? I live in Cleveland so weather factors may be tricky.

  28. Micki says:

    We’re finding so many interesting blogs; thanks for visiting mine. Yours is fascinating. I thought we would be farming fish ourselves when we lived in town and dreamed about moving out to the country. The land we bought turned out to not be good for ponds and we ended up with poultry. It’s fun to read about your experiences.

  29. ADfarms says:

    Wow! What an amazing adventure you guys are on! We look forward to hearing more.

  30. Thanks again. 🙂 Fans. — Ray

  31. Mary says:

    Thanks for reading part of my story! I also LOVE aquaponics and am so happy someone is so close to me (Camp Lejeune, N.C. area) that are doing aquaponics. I’ve read a lot about it and hope to have my own system some day soon. Good luck and I look forward to reading about your adventures in Aquaponics!

  32. Michelle says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m looking forward to reading yours and maybe one day I do this as well!

  33. HI, and thanks for liking my post. Sad to hear of your pain – I havebad arhtritis and it is incredible how it changes your life. Good luck with all your endeavours.

  34. Bee says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Scott’s painful condition. I was diagnosed with RSD after arthroscopic knee surgery, and was given spinal nerve blocks for two months, which resulted in a staph infection which went to my vertebrae, disc & muscles in my spine. Unbelievable pain and disability ever since. After all that, the doctors said I was misdiagnosed and never had RSD. But I have to say, after multiple major spinal surgeries, tons of meds, constant chronic pain…I feel so bad when I hear of others suffering. My thoughts and prayers are going out to you. Thank you for your service to our country, and may you be blessed with relief from pain.

  35. kansasqueen says:

    Wow! What your family is doing is truly inspiring! Your posts are so interesting and compelling. Food sustainability is so important. I also pray that Scott finds relief. I’ll be following.

  36. Joanna says:

    What a fascinating project. Thanks for visiting my blog – I am glad to have found you.

  37. cp says:

    Love your site and your work!

  38. thanks for this. will look into it. A lot of mine is brought on by stress. I seem to be gettign to the end of a very bad run so am hoping it will sort itself out. I often deal with it like standing in a wind. It’s just somethng that is there. If you take away the distress, it can almost become bearable.

  39. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    You two sound like a beautiful couple. 12 years is great strength of a relationship. And wholesome as! In this day & age, that’s an achievement in itself.

    Thanks for coming by my blog, am honoured. Love your header 🙂

  40. Great site and the system is pretty awesome . Hope to get mine started soon. Thanks for sharing your experience

    Eddie.

  41. thanks for the work you are doing in aquaponics and for liking the CityFood blog.

  42. Felicity says:

    What an exciting venture! I wish you well and look forward to following your blog.

  43. Thanks for coming by and liking my post. Your story is amazing!!

  44. kcwritermom says:

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! I so enjoyed reading about your family and encouraged to see the progress your family is making. Keep writing – I will definitely be following!!

  45. pierrmorgan says:

    Thanks for the like – ohh, you must love dirt too!! Soon I will venture into some raised bed veggie growing. You two are certainly an inspiration. All the best to you and your family. Thanks for making a difference on the planet.

  46. df says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog; it’s been really neat discovering your story – best wishes!

  47. Eleanor's Corner says:

    Welcome to the blogging Community. I wish you great success.

  48. junoroche says:

    It’s so nice to hear and read stories of people who have found an easier, more sustainable way to live their lives. I don’t know much (if anything) about aquaponics but I like the feel of your blog, it’s comfortable.
    Juno

  49. Thank you for taking the time to view my photography. Your story is inspiring and reminds me that there are people like you that set you’re obstacles aside, finding meaningful and new ways to enjoy life. I became disabled about 2 years ago. It came from out of no where, however I too have taken to organic and sustainable gardening which IO find extremely fulfilling. Your experience is reassuring. Keep it up and I am sure you’re story will continue to inspire other people

  50. Thanks for stopping by my blog – I look forward to seeing what you are up to. Pretty interesting stuff! Best, Kim

  51. skadhu says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. You’re doing some really interesting things and the detail you’re providing is going to be a great guide for others. I’ve added a post pointing people in your direction. Good luck with everything!

  52. Thanks for following Storyteller. I enjoy reading about the things that you are up to. — Ray

  53. So glad you dropped by my blog, or I wouldn’t have found you. Thanks for sharing your story. We also grow our own fresh vegetables and have a few hens who lay us some wonderful eggs. I enjoyed reading about your family and the aquaponics project you are undertaking. Kudos to you.

  54. attemptinggreen says:

    I’ve nominated/awarded you with the Versatile Blogger Award! http://attemptinggreen.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/versatile-blog-roll/
    Thank you for having such a great blog

  55. I enjoyed reading your story and admire your strength. Chronic pain can be so debilitating. Best of luck with your project.

  56. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Interesting work that you do.
    I remember visiting Ben and Jerry’s in 1994 up in VT and at the time, they had an experimental aquaponic system.
    We also had a large operation here (in Sunderland, Mass) which grew basil and raised fish. It is no longer running, not sure why. It was pretty cool.
    For pain, try a really, really good neuromuscular massage therapist (St. John method is what I trained in many, many years ago and it helped a lot of chronic pain sufferers) and the Alexander Technique. Anything that can get a foot-in-the-door to interrrupt the pain loop.
    Best wishes with your endeavor. twinkly

  57. Lilly Sue says:

    This is absolutely fantastic! I am very intrigued by what you are doing. I will definitely keep checking your blog because I find this stuff fascinating. Props to you and your family for doing this! 🙂

    Also, thank you for stopping by my blog!

  58. Thank you for visiting “Poet’s Paddock” and liking “A Fowl Poem.” … Looking forward to hearing about your aquaponic carrots 😉 … All the best and see you anon … Shakespeare “The Equine.”

  59. Jennifer says:

    Hello Kim & Scott,
    I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award (http://harvestliberty.net/2012/04/18/versatile-blogger-sunshine-award/). I mean no intrusion and please feel no compulsion to take on the nomination. I simply want to let you know that I truly dig your site and your adventures in unique gardening. May this find you more than well.
    -Jennifer

  60. karencotton says:

    I’d love to do a story about you both on my blog

  61. ZenGwen says:

    Hi from Scotland! I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about aquaponics for a while, and it sounds really interesting. I’m looking forward to reading more from you guys, keep it up!

  62. So much to learn about veggie and food gardening!

  63. Wei-Chuen says:

    Hi, I live in kennesaw/acworth area, too. This year I just started aquaponics and have been doing it for a month or two. my results are not good as yours but i definitely want to know what steps you are doing to keep your plants healthy. my plants after the initial growth like 3 weeks of growth boom, they started to dry up, turn brown, and die. they have plenty of water, ph level is normal, low ammonia, very high nitrite and nitrate. my guess would be no minerals or nutrients. let me know what you think

    • Are you using a dwc system?

      If your nitrates are high, your system could be going through a nitrite spike which could be toxic to your fish. When this happened to us, we watered our traditional garden with up to half of the system water and simultaneously added dechlorinated water.

      I’m not sure why your plants are drying up. We haven’t had that happen yet. Maybe this will help…

      When the leaves of the plants started to turn yellow, we added a couple of teaspoons of organic Iron Chelate to a 5-gallon bucket of water, mixed it well, and poured a cup of the mixture in the system water at the beginning of the growing bed every 3 or 4 hours for two days. This will add iron to the water.

      We also followed the same process with lab-grade Potassium Carbonate. This will add potassium to the water.

      We also added crushed coral to buffer the pH and to add calcium.

      We have heard this is needed because the fish typically use all of these nutrients from their food, so there won’t be enough for the plants.

      I have also heard that we may experience magnesium deficiencies, but we haven’t added Epsom salts to the system yet.

      I hope this helps.

    • I just thought of something else that might help you.

      When we first started, we germinated the seeds and grew the seedlings indoors and under a grow light until the roots were growing out of the bottom of the net pots. Then we put the seedlings in the rafts to continue growing outdoors in the aquaponics system.

      Then I got the bright idea to germinate the seeds and grow the seedlings in the aquaponics system. Unfortunately, most of these seeds never germinated, and the ones that did germinate either died quickly or their growth was significantly stunted.

      Needless to say, we are going back to germinating the seeds and growing the seedlings indoors from now on.

  64. Bibliopharm says:

    Although you’ve been nominated before, I think your amazing site deserves another thumbs up so I nominated you again for the “Versatile Blogger Award.” Congratulations! If you go to http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/ or my site (http://bibliopharm.wordpress.com/), you can find out more. Keep up those creative posts. I learn so much and enjoy reading about your aquaponic farm.

  65. Dennis G @Matthew-Otis Farms says:

    Hey neighbors,

    I’m down the expressway in East Point. I’ve been to a couple of the aquaponics course in the past few years, friendly aquaponics included. I’ve put together a functioning system with one trough in my house at one point about a year ago. Limited success due to lighting mainly. That was a learning experience. I’ve since taken it down. I’m in the process of planning to get everything setup outside. I’d love to be able to see your experiences. I found you by accident googling for the blue board, which I haven’t been able to find in the 2″ size. I’m checking with Woolley & Company on Monday and going to go through the rest of your blog posts also.

    Hope to hear from you.

    Dennis

    Dfglover62@gmail.com

    • Hi Neighbor…I hope you found the blue boards you were looking for. What did you think of Friendly’s course? Have you been to the Green Acre’s course? I would love to go to both places, even though Florida and Hawaii probably offer the same material. Sorry to hear about your indoor system. The extreme heat has taken its toll on many of our plants, so our system is struggling right now. It’s really my fault though, because I didn’t plant heat-tolerant plants at the beginning of summer. Live and learn.

  66. Dennis G @Matthew-Otis Farms says:

    The FA course was great. Two other folks and myself were in the commercial course together. We’ve been working on some projects together. We met at a Growing Power workshop, they were a part of a longer training course. It’s all good. We’ve one of our group has a media based system going. I’ve not been to the Florida course, but one of our group has. When is a good time that I could take a look at your system and talk to you all in person? I’m getting a lot of practical tips just going through your blog.

    See you soon!

    Dennis…

  67. Just to let you know that I have nominated you for a ‘One Lovely blog’ Award (http://wp.me/p2mlPL-6x)… just to show my appreciation for such interesting posts.

  68. Hi, Scott and Kim. I haven’t been reading your blog for long but I was so excited to find it because we are setting up an aquaponic system in a newly-acquired greenhouse, with exactly the same plan you have as far as sustainability, growing, and teaching. We live in Wisconsin so it is going to be extra challenging to keep it warm through the winter. Anyways, we are busy moving things around in our yard right now to make room for the greenhouse, but when we actually get it underway it will be on the blog. In the meantime, I have nominated you for an Inspiring Blog Award. You need do nothing but bask in the glow. I hope it sends new readers your way. http://thefarmerstaft.com/2012/08/06/feel-the-love-inspiring-blog-award-and-15-bloggers-you-should-visit/

  69. Scott and Kim thank you for your great blog. My wife and I share your desire to become self sufficient. We have built an nice little garden and are venturing into aquaponics this year. I’m sure your blog will be a big help as we learn. I look forward to speaking with you in the future to discuss aquaponics. Cheers!

    • Good luck with your new system. We had a lot of fun, and some disappointments, during our first year. Consider every day an opportunity to learn and you’ll enjoy the process even more. We had challenges with insects, growing plants at the wrong time of year, chickens eating the styrofoam, etc, etc. We will do a number of things different this year.

  70. Dave says:

    Scott and Kim, After reading through your blog posts, I’m wondering about how your second season of aquaponics has been going. I’m wondering how you handled the Winter with an outdoor system, whether you have been able to maintain any of the biology of the system. I would enjoy hearing an overview including any changes you have tried, problems you have faced, and what kinds of foods you have planted this year, and how much carryover you had from the preceding year. I appreciate how much detail you offered during this series, and am glad that I came across it in one of my searches.

    • Unfortunately, we lost all of our tilapia due to the cold winter 😦 And we weren’t able to restart the system this year due to health reasons. It was a fun experiment while it lasted, and I would encourage anyone to garden in an aquaponic system. It’s amazing!

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