University of WI Offers Recirculating Farming Class!

The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (UWSP) in partnership with Nelson and Pade, a Wisconsin-based company specializing in aquaponic systems and training, is now offering a 3-credit, full semester course in aquaponics. Aquaponic growing is a type of recirculating farming method that combines other types of recirculating farming techniques – aquaculture (raising fish)  and hydroponics (growing plants) – in one system. Plants and fish are grown together in a closed-loop farm that uses constantly cleaned and recycled water as the basis to grow food (with no soil). To learn more about recirculating farms, click here.

Recirculating farming is expanding worldwide and is becoming very popular in the U.S., especially in urban environments, as people look for sustainable and efficient ways to grow fresh, healthy food. See photos and videos of recirculating farm systems, including aquaponic systems.

The course “Introduction to Aquaponics”, will first be available for the Spring 2012 semester and is offered through UWPS Continuing Education, Department of Biology, and the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility. The class was jointly developed by Dr. Chris Hartleb, Professor of Biology at UWSP, and Rebecca L. Nelson and John S. Pade of Nelson and Pade. Online lectures run from March 1 – May 11, 2012, each with a self-study session followed by a live chat with one of the three instructors. The hands-on lab sessions will be held at Nelson and Pade’s demonstration greenhouse in Montello, WI, May 21-23, 2012.

One of the main challenges for widespread development of recirculating farming is a lack of trained growers to become farm designers, managers and workers. This new course will help to propel development of aquaponic farming forward by providing comprehensive training in recirculating growing techniques at the university level.

Rebecca Nelson says “This course has the potential to grow into an aquaponics minor and eventually an aquaponics major at UWSP.”

The course covers an introduction to and history of aquaponics, applications and benefits, system components, water quality dynamics, environmental control, plant crop choices and plant biology, fish selection and fish biology, integrated pest management and biosecurity, daily operation and record keeping, good agricultural
practices, economics of aquaponics and marketing.

Students at UWSP as well as students from other colleges and universities may attend the course, through UWSP Continuing Education. Registration is through UWSP Continuing Education Office:

For more information, please contact Nelson and Pade.: email:, phone: 608-297-8708.

Nelson and Pade also offers 3-day Aquaponics and Controlled Environment workshops. Please check the 2012 schedule here.

Attendees of workshops can earn one credit (graduate or undergraduate) or Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) through UWSP. Click here for more information on aquaponics workshops.

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