IT’S “MEET YOUR FARMER MONDAY”!
Inspiration can come to us in many ways and for Doug and Lisa Dojan, owners of Fisheads, it was a 60 Minutes episode that initially sparked their interest in farming. This particular hour of news first exposed them to a farming method called aquaponics, which is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture.
Built three years ago, their 3,500 square foot passive solar greenhouse in rural Sardis, Georgia offers different varieties of lettuce and microgreens. Tilapia and coy fish are kept in separate tanks and, without the introduction of chemicals, the natural process of the fish waste decomposition provides nitrates that the plants would normally receive from soil.
Doug Dojan says there are about 250-300 fish with about 14,000 gallons in the tanks, and describes the delicate balance as something they monitor closely. Aquaponics is a subject the Dojans often have to describe. Luckily, Doug enjoys telling others about this unique approach to farming. Their methods are as sustainable as they are efficient, allowing them to grow on 1/12 of an acre the amount of produce that would traditionally occupy four acres.
A lot of the operation’s planning and maintenance comes from the head, but the Dojans also have a lot of heart. They have plans to build as many as ten more facilities in Sardis, ultimately providing local employment and serving as a model for other towns.
Lisa works at the facility full-time and Doug works as a project manager. Things are going swimmingly for these aquaponic farmers. Be sure to look for their veggies at the market!