Other than its inventor, I probably spend more time than anyone else wondering why iAVs never took off – in the same way that aquaponics did – back in the mid 2000’s.
My recent re-reading of Steve Diver’s ATTRA aquaponics document revealed some interesting insights including:
My initial impression of iAVs was heavily influenced by Diver’s description of “trickle irrigated” – the mental image was nothing like iAVs actually turned out to be.
Any reasonable person who read Diver’s accounts of the NCSU System (iAVs) and “the Speraneo Model” would have to conclude that the Speraneo model was an improvement…..particularly given his use of the words…
In the early 1990s, Tom and Paula Speraneo – owners of S & S Aqua Farm near West Plains, Missouri – modified the North Car- olina State method by raising tilapia in a 500-gallon tank, with fish effluent linked to gravel-cultured hydroponic vegetable beds inside an attached solar greenhouse. Later, they expanded to a full-size commer- cial greenhouse. The Speraneo system was practical, productive, and wildly successful. It became the model for dozens of commercial aquaponic greenhouses and high school biology programs.
Coincidentally, a few day’s after my reading of Diver’s summary, Mark McMurtry asked me why iAVs failed to capture my attention (to the point where I’d investigate it more fully)……and the penny dropped. When I read the North Carolina State University System excerpt, and the one on the Speraneo System, it’s patently clear why the Speraneo system gained ascendancy over iAVs.
Diver’s document was very influential in the aquaponics renaissance in the mid 2000’s – it was on Page 1 of the Google response to the search title “aquaponics” – for years. There must have been thousands of people who read that document and formed their impressions of what aquaponics was about from its contents.
On reflection, I can’t think of any single greater influence on why the Speraneo Model rose to prominence while, at the some time, iAVs slipped into obscurity.
The hype generated by the Speraneos…coupled with that of their successors…in the face of the relative inactivity around iAVs…was the final nail in the iAVs coffin.
I can still recall how I reacted to the document at the first time I read it – and how it affected my perception around aquaponics…..’til now!