Intro to Aquaponics Workshop

9am to 2:00pm Saturday May 4, 2013

Due to the popularity of this workshop, we have set up this extra one this spring! Also, participants in the last one requested it be longer, so we lengthened it by an hour!  Sign up fast to reserve your spot!

Located at The Plant, 220 Lorax Lane, Pittsboro, NC. For directions, click here.



AquaponicsIn an age of rising populations and diminishing oil reserves, how are we going to feed ourselves? Aquaponics, a self contained, sustainable system for growing fish and veggies is one answer! These backyard food systems are one easy way to grow some of your own food.

Join Mike Yablonski and Rachel Tinker-Kulberg for an introduction into the world of aquaponics. During this hands-on workshop, Mike and Rachel will show you how to build your own backyard system. Just add plants, fish and water and you will be taking another step down the path to self reliance!

“Aquaponics is proven worldwide as the most efficient and sustainable way to grow food, on any scale.” – Bevan Suits, AquaPlanet


What is Aquaponics?

In a nutshell, aquaponics is the practice of growing fish and plants symbiotically in a re-circulating, soil-less environment, without the need to add chemical fertilizers. Utilizing natural bacterial cycles, fish waste is effectively converted to nutrients to feed the plants, filtered water is returned to the fish, and the re-circulation continues. Many variations of an aquaponics system can be created, but the basic premise remains the same. Examples of types of aquaponics systems include:

• Basic Drip/Gravity System (utilizing media filled grow beds for plants)

• Ebb & Flow System (utilizing media filled grow beds for plants)

• Deep Water Culture/Hydroponic Raft System

Why Try Aquaponics?

• It uses much less water than traditional gardening.

• Vegetables grow amazingly fast.

• You will get fish AND chemical free vegetables from your system.

• Its interesting and fun.

• Your friends will think you are super cool.

In this workshop, we will give you the benefit of our recent experience, by teaching you how to:

• Build simpler aquaponic systems with no bulkhead fittings, and with removable pipe-fittings.

• Balance the fish, bacteria, nutrients, and plants in the aquaponic system.

• Supplement plant nutrients lacking in fish waste.

• Make better plant beds by considering media particle size and plant root structure.

• Save energy by using less water pumping.

• Use light efficiently for optimal plant growth.

• Use duckweed and other aquatic plants to control water quality.

• Obtain or grow local fish food.

• Save heating costs by using cold-tolerant fish and plants.

• Improve greenhouse designs specifically for aquaponics.

• Build aquaponic systems at all scales, from small aquariums to large commercial tanks.

• Discuss special considerations for large earthen ponds.

• Give you hands-on experience with drilling large holes in plastic, specific plumbing construction, and making easier plant beds with un-screened gravel.

• Let you participate in the construction of a small, aquarium-size aquaponics system, which can be set up and operated indoors on a table-top.


Registration limited to 50 people – Pre-registration and pre-payment required


$50 – Aquaponics Workshop plus a delicious lunch from Angelina’s Kitchen!

Pay online with Google Secure Checkout:

Or mail your check to:

The Abundance Foundation

220 Lorax Lane #5

Pittsboro, NC 27312


Call 919-533-5181 or



About the Instructors:



Mike’s and Rachel’s combined backgrounds in biology coupled with their experience with Aquaponic Systems makes them the perfect pair to introduce you to the world of self contained food systems!

photo of Mike YablonskiMike Yablonski, PhD, was educated as a biologist and biochemist. He has worked on the function of proteins and enzymes in an academic environment, and later worked in pharmaceutical and plant biotechnology companies. After becoming acquainted with the aquatic plant duckweed, he studied its use for making ethanol biofuel.

Mike is currently interested in using duckweed to purify agricultural wastewater, as a way of creating efficient and sustainable agriculture. His personal interests include ecology and landscape gardening, and he has much experience in growing perennial woodland plants.











Rachel Tinker-Kulberg, Ph.D. is a Molecular Biologist by training and has scientific expertise in three different model systems: bacteria, yeast, and plants.   Being an avid gardener and healthy living advocate, she is committed to using aquaponics as an educational tool to promote sustainable agricultural practices that support local food production & self- reliance. Applying her research skills to aquaponics, she is currently optimizing growth conditions for a variety of plant species using table-top aquaponic units. Her future interests are in large-scale integrated agri-aquaculture projects, as well landscape aquaponic designs.  Racehl’s website on aquaponics is here:

Sandwich Choices from Angelina’s Kitchen

Chicken Gyro Sandwich – marinated boneless chicken on pita bread with toppings on the side that you can add. See list below.

Falafel Sandwich – Three homemade chickpea, herb, and veggie patties served on a pita with your choice of toppings. See list below.


Salad with Sliced Red Onion, Banana Peppers, Local Lettuce, Local Tomatoes

Pitted Kalamata Olives

Feta Cheese

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Roasted Green Chili Strips

Tabouhli –parsley and quinoa salad (Gluten Free!)

Tzatziki –strained yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip

Hummous –chickpea, garlic and lemon dip

There will be enough extra hummus, salad, etc. to have sides beside your sandwich.

Plus you get a brownie.