Episode 73: Solving the Biggest Problems Facing Agriculture Using Aquaponics with Kurt Wagaman of Superior Fresh

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The Produce Moms Podcast

“When you marry aquaculture and hydroponics, you get aquaponics.” – Kurt Wagaman (5:04 – 5:09)

Kurt Wagaman is the GM at Superior Fresh, an industry-leading aquaponics facility specializing in leafy greens, Atlantic salmon, and Steelheads. Their facility is situated on a 720-acre native restoration property nestled in the Coulee Region of Wisconsin. Superior Fresh’s flagship facility is the largest of its kind, filled with state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics can be broken down into two separate technologies

Hydroponics, which is growing leafy greens in a greenhouse, and aquaculture, the practice of raising fish in a facility. When you marry the two, you get aquaponics.

Aquaponics lets companies like Superior Fresh get certified as organic and achieve rapid and sustainable growth. 

Superior Fresh’s Incredible (and Sustainable) Output

Superior Fresh can produce 8 million pounds of leafy greens annually and 1.6 million pounds of fresh fish. They use a fraction of the land and water when compared to the same output from regular land and water farming. 

Superior Fresh is the first landlocked Atlantic salmon farm in the United States using recirculating aquaculture technologies. Their state-of-the-art systems allow them to bring in certified disease-free eggs and have complete control of the life-cycle from hatch to harvest.

A Commitment to Sustainability

Superior Fresh isn’t backed by your regular venture capitalists. They’re funded by philanthropists who want to create an example of using aquaponics to grow large amounts of healthy foods in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to the local area. 

Superior Fresh has led restoration efforts to the point where they’ve restored hundreds of acres of land and water to where they were a hundred years ago.

“Our commitment to sustainability carries as much gravity as one can possibly imagine from a startup.” – Kurt Wagaman (12:48 – 12:59)

Superior Fresh is focused on nutrient recycling. The vast majority of the water they use is recycled and plays a role in farming for both their fish and leafy greens.

Superior Fresh supports local organizations, including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as well as local high schools. They participate in focus study groups for the University of Wisconsin’s marketing programs. 

“Superior Fresh is a solution to some of the threats and problems that agriculture is facing.” – Lori Taylor (9:24 – 9:33)

Two of the biggest threats facing agriculture are sustainability and the ability to feed an ever-growing global population. Superior Fresh addresses both of those problems by providing healthy nutritious (and delicious) food in a way that benefits the planet, and the local communities they operate in. 

If you want to experience first-hand what Superior Fresh is offering, pick up some of their products at a local retailer near you.

How To Get Involved

  • Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week! 
  • Learn more about Superior Fresh.

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Other Episodes You May Like

What would you like to know about aquaponics? We’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments below or in our Facebook group.

About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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