[email protected]

Sweet Water Veterans Aquaponic Miniatures for Schools, Churches, and Veterans Groups

Sweet Water has an expensive miniature system as a center piece of a UWM Art Gallery “Watershed” exhibit, which will probably be traveling all over the place in the upcoming year or two. Professors Deal and Lane of Art Department are jazzed about Sweet Water and highly competent eco-preneurs.


At the Workshop One Miniature Break Away sessions, volunteers Dave Mangin and
Jesse Blom presented their “Barrel Ponics” miniature, a very nice system with a free 90 page how to booklet available, which took them 32 hours to make but could not take all that much time at all if there was an order for 10 of them so the materials were all laid out. Dave speculated that the two of them could fabricate 2 or 3 per day with ease if they had a number of orders. This does not speak to the issue of plants and fish, nor to the “software” training and ongoing tending of the systems to maintain balance among the ingredients, i.e. water, air, plants, fish, bacteria, lighting.

They said they could build one of these systems spending no more than $300 for the materials, which would include time spent running around for them.

We will be meeting with the Black Vets this week.

It is my notion that this would be one step toward the establishment of a Sweet Water Miniature Showrooom, with design, installation, and tech-support provided to a widening web of “partners.” We already have exhibits in the Great Hall of the Tulip building.

Would be quite an event to find our SW team teaching some veterans how to make a barrel ponic system and the vets winning a grant to build some for local schools and churches headed by honest preachers.

What say?

Why not?


Community Colleges Embrace Aquaponics & Urban Agriculture

Community Colleges Can Help Substitute For The Good Old Factory Jobs

Last night Tom Brokow told nation that the key investment for addressing
the deep “structural” challenges of our economy would be in our urban community colleges, which, he said, are going to get much more funds and attention as a location for technical skill sets for the 21st century economy, much as the factories of yesteryear were the path from rural poverty and destitution.

Sweet Water has been in conversation with Kennedy King Community College, Chicago State University, and now the mayor’s office of Chicago, which hopes to give the Sweet Water Foundation the Masonic Temple across the street from Kennedy King’s incredible culinary and multi-media facilities, and adjacent to a very large site they hope to get our help developing into a 4 season aquaponic green house.

Help Citizens Make Miracles of Loaves, Fishes, and Productive Habitats

The web of partnerships available for crafting between Chicago and Milwaukee resourced teams could go quite a way toward realizing Dr. Watson’s dream of CSU and KKCC become renowned urban agriculture centers. Young and life long students at such an accessible campus could acquire:

  • a combination of food growing and preparing skills;
  • multi-media communication capacities;
  • old home green conversions into not just energy tight/efficient dwellings but also family enterprise providing large shares of home grown and prepared foods and the marketing of the skills acquired by such start-up family enterprisers:
  • enterprise “consciousness”, i.e. market place self promotion/reliance in the context of community building

Transforming a Historic Masonic Temple Into an Eco-Tourist Destination and Urban Aquaponics National Nerve Center

Emmanuel Pratt, executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation and dissertator from Columbia College, has pulled together a national network that just might be able to pull this off, with a little bit of help from his and Sweet Water’s friends, which may soon include IBM’s Smart City support teams.

Let me know if you or any of your team would like to become part of this phantasmagorical
story. Sweet Water adventures to date have disciplined that part of me that says “this is way to utopian” to back off and allow that part of me that says “Why not?” along with the spirit of Bobby Kennedy, may he rest in peace.

What say?

Why not?


Seek Correspondence With Aquaponics “Creatives” and “Wisdom Workers”

Aquaponics Going Mainstream!

It looks now like aquaponics is going main stream, and quite possibly in a dramatic
way if our dreams about collaborations with a number of Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, and Minneapolispeople and institutions manifest.

Aquaponics “Creatives” and “Wisdom Workers” are needed to respond to requests made of Sweet Water to help people develop aquaponic projects, large and small, in schools, store front enterprises, community centers, spiritual centers,and commercial scale social businesses in abandoned factories, Masonic temples, YMCA facilities, and more, throughout the Great Lakes Heartland and Seaboard old industrial cities.

We cannot possibly help all of the people seeking help and would like to do our
best to develop a team of aquaponics mentors, installers, maintenance and tech supporters, horticulralists, water and fish scientists, mechanics, and more.

Looking forward to 34.5 years of mighty collaborations, on up through my 100th birthday party!


Sweet Water To Help Launch Start-up Aquaponics Companies

I have been obsessed with earn while you learn concepts my whole life.
As I have also been obsessed with not building a large firm of employees
but an expanding web of interconnected custom shops of closely managed
small enterprises, similar to how Community Roofing & Restoration has evolved
with a web of custom artisinal shops, including historic home roofers, copper smiths, rough and architectural carpenters, masons, painters, and more.

Buy a Sweet Water Miniature, Turn It Into a Social Business

So Community played an enormous role in launching a number of small restoration enterprises and providing various kinds of business support services that sustained them over the years. And many of these “self-managed firms,” have in turn have matured and now are very important Community “assets.”

In the same way I would like to explore developing a contract with some of the
people who buy our miniatures. It would structure not only the purchase of
the aquaponic system, but also the support resources and personnel
that would be necessary to gradually amp up their first start-up miniature into
a start-up business, connected not just with Sweet Water resources but also the resources of the web of start-up aquaponic firms. We would be providing not just aquaponic expertise, but also small business support. Some of my high school mates at St. Louis U. High are thinking about buying our school or a sister school a Sweet Water Miniature. I would also like to offer them the opportunity to buy into a small business we would help them launch.

We would charge for a menu of support services according to formula we develop with our various experts and expanding web of partners.

Sweet Water One Hundred Aquaponics Jobs Initiative: A 21st Century Green Project of:

Sweet Water Organics

Sweet Water Foundation

Sweet Water, i.e. The Farm and The Academy

Radio Interview Best for MY Sweet Water Visions

We are having a major workshop January 8th. We have tours all of the
time. My phone is 414 232 1336. Feel free to call anytime.

Here is a radio interview that best captures my vision:


Sweet Water is a:

  • science lab

  • school and university hands on learning station, curricula development, and distant learning hub

  • a hybrid social business with multiple income streams and multiple bottom lines

  • a community center, gathering place, eco-tourist destination, an inspiration for

self-reliance experiments in the context of expanding webs of close in and expansive
communities, geographic and “of practice.”

Every community deserves a Sweet Water!

Mother Nature demands we re-acquire Sweet Waters!

Sweet Soil and Sweet Water will renew our cities!

Response to Question: How Do I Get Started in Aquaponics

I hope you will consider designing a test aquaponic system as complex as is the competence of your support team.

You can feel confident getting help designing and developing a $50,000 to $100,000 system, as long you have people available to help you deal with If you are not blessed with an experienced and competent support team quite yet, then fix your eye on the prize of experimentation periods with systems that can be as modest a cost for you as $1,500 to $5,000, including some of the fees for workshops and consulting services.

Aquaponics Support Team

  • the mechanics of developing aquaponic systems hard ware, e.g. plumbing, electrical, green house fabrication, pumps, air blowers, heating/cooling, etc.

  • the water chemistry aspect, as important as the fish aquatic science part of it

  • the horticulture and beneficial bacteria aspect of it

  • the business, social enterprise, marketing side of it, i.e. a “creative” of diverse skills

You can begin by talking with local high school and college biology teachers and what I call “citizen creatives” from all walks of life about exploring aquaponics fish produce growing technologies.

Bring them into some on-line conversations with people like myself, and there are many of us, who are passionate about spreading these “organic engineering systems” across the nation and beyond our borders, especially arid and rain forest nations.

Here is a radio show that best captures my passion for beginning with Sweet Water Miniatures, to develop your information, understanding, hands-on experience, wisdom, and your support team.


Here are some nice national, even international, news stories about Sweet Water that you can show around to iimpress upon your local connections that aquaponics appears to be:


Here are some of my “concept notes” for your consideration to pass along if you judge them worthy.

We are scheduling some winter workshops here at Sweet Water, and I am available for on-line brainstorming with you and yours immediately.


Finally, here is a simple equation that captures what we are all about:
Sweet Water Theorem

FW + BB = SW + SV + WWWW


FW is fish water

BB is beneficial bacteria

SW is swet water

SV are sweet veggies

WWWW are world-wide wisdom workers web

Sweet Water Theorem for Sweet Water Aquaponics Miniatures

  • for 10% of Great Lakes Schools, i.e. Sweet Water seas, by 2020, starting with Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Toronto
  • 5% of the planets schools by 2030, with focus on arid and rainforest nations

Best regards,

James Godsil, co-founder
Sweet Water Organcs
President, Sweet Water Foundation

Aquaponics is an exciting and complex farming technology.

Google “aquaponics wikipedia” to start you journey.

Here is a seminal article by the modern father of aquaponics:


Google “aquaponics you tube” and “aquaponics facebook.”

Watch the films.
Read the web pages.
Become facebook friends.

We will be hosting a workshop Jan. 8 and others in the winter months.

Google “aquaponics (your city name) and see if anyone shows up.

Do volunteer work for them if they will accept you as an intern.

Let me know of your progress!


Sweet Water a Hybrid Aquaponics Social Business

Here’s a first draft for some more conversation:

Sweet Water is a hybrid social business that has three enterprises In this note I’m creating some rough sketches of the first “enterprise” of Sweet Water, namely

Sweet Water Organics, Inc

“the world’s first commercial urban aquaponics fish vegetable farm in an historic factory building selling to locall markets”


  • Aquaponic Urban Agriculture Intellectual Property

including design and stewarding of organic engineering systems in urban agriculture architecture, Sweet Water software support for installations large and small, especially school aquaponic systems, re aquatic science, horticulture, energy systems, mechanical systems, business structuring, work configurations, information technology systems monitoring, collaboration platforms, source of
aquaponics industry personnel needs and development

  • Perch…Great Lakes Water Institute developed “the purist perch on the planet”

  • Produce…lettuces, micro-greens, herbes, mixed greens, peppers, tomatoes

  • Tours…eco-tourism, clubs and associations, schools, elder groups, spiritual communities

  • Workshops…local, national, and international

  • Installations…first focus on local, then regional, then national and international, depending upon evolution of teams competent to install, develop, and steward the systems

Sweet Water has brought Aquaponics mainstream! Combined with
Will Allen’s Growing Power, and a newly mobilized movement I’ll
call the local global creatives, Sweet Water and its wide and deep
partnership networks are poised to accelerate the translation of a new found
awareness of aquaponics into the practice of aquaponics, starting in
our schools with Sweet Water Miniatures.

Sweet Water is the world’s first commercial up-scaling of an aquaponics
system in a re-purposed factory building. Aquaponics is an effort by
humans to mimic nature, i.e. biomimicy innovations inspired by nature.

Sweet Water Is the Main Frame.

Main Frame “Generations.”

Sweet Water has, in my mind, 4 iterations in the works, each of which
is an improvement upon the previous. The proof of concept, narrowly
defined to exclude revenues that will arrive through our training, tours,
Sweet Water miniatures, consulting, and publications, will very likely come

 somewhere at the moment of Iteration Three and Iteration Four achieving their peak

performance levels.

Iterations One and Two had to occur for us to acquire
the know-how and coherent team required for Three and Four.

What follows is a highly simplified translation which can be presented in more
depth with the help of some of our scientist/technicians.

In Iteration One, we simply drew upon Will Allen’s Greenhouse Model for
Tilapia. This quickly proved itself inadequate, primarily because of the
issue of lights. Grow lights of the kind used in Will’s greenhouse did not
come close to supporting healthy plants, and thereby sufficient colonies
of beneficial bacteria.

Iteration Two is currently being tested. This model dramatically improved
upon the lighting and made a less than perfect effort to augment the
filtration of the water, to allow for more vigorous fish, thereby eating,
thereby providing nutrients for the plants. This model was also upgraded
through the use of compost teas, to provide for nutrients like iron, phosphorous,
potassium, and calcium for fruiting plants like tomatoes and peppers.
The productivity of this iteration greatly exceeded model one, and will further
be improved upon with the help of a new clarifier with the help of Dr. Charlie Price.
I do not anticipate very robust returns on our investment in this model, even if
we develop the world’s finest aquaponic bio-filtration design. This is because of
the issue of lighting and the issue of surface area available for plants.

Iteration Three. This is our outside model in the green houses under construction.
The narrow proof of concept has a good chance of arriving for these systems in
the 12 months following their expected rolling out sometime in the middle months of
2011. The power of the sun for plant growth is dramatically more than that provided
by any kind of artificial lights. And our incorporation of vertical pots, 4 plants to a pot, stacked 7 pots high on a hollow tube that allows the nutrient rich water to filter through the roof structures, will increase greatly increase plant yield, given that 28 plants will now reside where our current system now hold 4 or 8.

Iteration Four. I think this will basically duplicate model three, with the difference that it will be a green house on top of the roof. More to come on this, the subject of a $500,000 NSF grant proposal by Prof. Matt Trussoni of Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Miniature “Generations”

Sweet Water Foundation

Sweet Water Mondragon Like Co-ops

to be continued

Visions of Sweet Water Chicago, Dec. 2010

From: James Godsil <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 6:50 AM
Subject: A Sweet Water Press Release for Chicago


Sweet Water Organics and the Sweet Water Foundation have announced their intention of
co-creating Sweet Water Two in the City of Chicago. Milwaukee’s Sweet Water One has
recently introduced the nation, and even the world, to the possibilities of aquaponics farming in historic industrial buildings and their adjacent properties. Here is a link to NBC, NPR, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times coverage of their aquaponics fish vegetable farm growing perch and produce for local markets.


Chicago Partners First Focus: Sweet Water Miniature Showrooms in East Garfield Neighborhood

Sweet Water Organics has partnered with a wide range of institutions, engineers, biologists, aquatic scientists, artisans, mechanics, artists, and entrepreneurs to create the world’s first commercial scale aquaponic system, now home to 70,000 perch and tilapia and thousands of lettuce, basil, chard, water cress, and other plants being enjoyed fresh daily by Milwaukee restaurant patrons. In collaboration with the Sweet Water Foundation and Dr. Charlie Price’s Aquaponics UK, Sweet Water has developed a series of Sweet Water Miniatures for installation in schools, small and large urban agriculture enterprises, and museums. The Smithsonian and Shedd are in conversation about partnerships not only to provide hands on learning experience for young and old, but also to support the democratization urban agriculture, starting with a vision of equipping 10% of Chicago and Milwaukee schools with aquaponic minatures by the year 2020. The diffusion of these small systems will accelerate the acquisitions of skill sets necessary for major
commercial up-scaling of aquaponics in the urban centers of America and the world beyond.

East Garfield Urban Agriculture and Aquaponic Demonstration Sites for Home, School, and Main Street Business

Two Chicago entrepreneurs may provide the start-up capital and the sites for the introduction of Sweet Water to the Chicago market. Sweet Water Chicago will begin with miniatures in a number of East Garfield properties, prices ranging from $1,500, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000. These aquaponic project sites will provide hands-on urban agriculture experience for Chicago citizens young and old, starting with aquaponics, and including composting, vermiculture, raised bed gardening, compost tea development, and multi-media information collection, storage, and distribution to diffuse the innovations beyond the immediate area into the city and region beyond.

The East Garfield initiative will be supported by the Milwaukee Sweet Water teams, which include the Great Lakes Water Institute, the School of Fresh Water Sciences, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, the Milwaukee Water Council, and a number of Milwaukee’s thriving pathfinders in urban agriculture methodologies. Phase Two of the Sweet Water Chicago initiative will be to upscale to a commercial replication of Milwaukee’s Sweet Water Organics in one or more of Chicago’s classic factories from the industrial era.

Emmanuel Pratt, executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation, will be connecting the Sweet Water East Garfield demonstration sites with Chicago partners, which include:

  • The Office of the Mayor
  • The Presidents of Chicago State University and Kennedy King College
  • Science Teams from the Shedd Aquarium
  • The Whitney Young, Ravinia, and St. Ignatius College Prep Communities
  • Black Oaks Center for Sustainability
  • And others provided upon request

The Sweet Water Foundation and the Chicago enterprise teams may jump start the Sweet Water Chicago developments in a collaboration with Kennedy King College and Chicago State University at the Masonic Temple site across the street from Kennedy King College’s culinary and multi media facilities, adjacent to their proposed urban farm demonstration model.

The Sweet Water Garfield Eco Tourist and STEM Training Destination

The Chicago Sweet Water alliance will work with the Visitors Bureau and various Chicago area school systems to transform the work sites into science labs and tourist destinations while the project is in development. In collaboration with students from Kennedy King a documentary film and learning modules will be developed and distributed, possibly in concert with Sweet Water Milwaukee’s collaboration with IBM’s Smart Cities Smart Planet initiative. The Sweet Water Milwaukee site just yesterday astonished 50 tour organizers from Minnesota, each of whom paid $8 each for an hour tour and were eager to spread the good word about the stunning beauty of this 21st century earth friendly industry ready to burst forth in the civic culture of Chicago.

Crafting the Deal to Roll Out the Sweet Water Chicago Initiative

Dr. Charlie Price will be working with the Sweet Water team to produce a Sweet Water Miniature Manuel ready for sharing by the beginning of 2011. “The Sweet Water Aquaponics Book” will present the miniatures that will be developed at the
East Garfield sites. Sweet Water aquaponics design teams will survey the possible sites to introduce the first showroom in December as well. Construction of the first miniatures and their supporting show rooms will begin in January. By April 1 it is expected that 4 models will have been created, prices ranging from $1,500 to $10,000. Over the course of the summer the $25,000 and $50,000 models will be developed.

Good deal! You should come visit Sweet Water! Know that
we hope to help you learn as much on your own as possible
and supplement that with some workshops and on-line, phone,
etc. consulting. Send me a bit of your story! It’s very important for
you to assemble a team if you are thinking commercial scale.
If you are thinking family food supplement or additional income
stream, we are soon to be introducing Sweet Water Miniatures.

Retiring Boomers Equip Their High Schools with Sweet Water Miniatures

IBM May Soon Advance The Concept “Smart Cities Feed Themselves”

Some of my friends from St. Louis U. High are gearing up to develop a
Sweet Water Miniature at some local high schools with challenged
children, families, and neighborhoods. Would you like an introduction?
I was hoping to inspire some friendly competition among St. Louis boomers
from different schools, starting with SLUH, U. City, Priory, John Bourroughs,
Chaminade, and Ladue. Parnering with Vashon, Sumner, Hadley Tech, and
so forth could accelerate lots of good things!

IBM met with us yesterday to explore collaborating to advance the concept

Smart Cities Feed Themselves

The Smithsonian, Shedd Aquarium, Mayor’s offices of Chicago,
Boston, Kansas City, and are tip toeing in our direction. A number
of universities environmental and sustainability departments as well.
Today we are finishing a Sweet Water Miniature at the First Lady’s
alma mater, Whitney Young H.S. in Chicago.

With Will Allen’s Growing Power and Sweet Water, Milwaukee has
become something of a hub of the grow local movement.

From Rustbelt to Arugula Cities!

Sweet Water is an applied science lab harvesting and marketing
urban agriculture/aquaponics information and technologies.

It’s a guild school and a university, developing training programs,
with the help of the Sweet Water Foundation and lots of partners
in the educational circles of Milwaukee and beyond.

Sweet Water is an aquaponic fish and produce experimental farm,
selling gloriously fresh and sweet fish and produce to local markets.

And it’s a center for imagination and inspiration, drawing eco-tourists
from all over the planet into a factory building once cold, dark, and ugly,
now warm, aromatic, bright, and stunningly beautiful.

If you’ve followed me to this point, and want to dig deeper, there are
hundreds of pages chronicling this at:




and about 5,000 pretty well disorganoized and uneven
pictures of many steps along the way at:


Once No Pencils, Books, Computers, Aquaponics Systems

No Alphabet No Pencils

There was a time when schools had no alphabet;
then no paper, no pencils; then no books.

But then the alphabet, paper, pencils,
and the books arrived. Learning advanced.

And there was a time when schools had no social workers,
no computers. But they came as well. Learning advanced.

Now is a time when schools have no aquaponic systems,
to inspire deeper interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

No aquaponic systems to inspire the notion that “I can grow my own food!”
And the food that I grow, even vegetables, tastes…fantastic!

But then the aquaponic systems arrived, little by little, greatly accelerated
by hands-on exhibits at the nation’s top museums, starting with the Smithsonian.

And aquaponics as a birthright training experience became a meme,
then a desiderata. Learning, and health, advanced.

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on March 31, 2012

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