Aquaponic Farm

“I believe someday great chefs will be known not only by the
recipes and methods they cook their food with, but by the
recipes and methods they grow their food with.”
Adam Navidi

Aquaponic Farming

Chef Adam Navidi, at his Future Foods Farm

Unless you live under a rock, you undoubtedly have heard about the drought situation in California. All of us in California are working to curb our water use. But, there’s one man in Southern California doing his part to save water.

Adam Navidi’s daily ritual involves harvesting fresh greens and other vegetables from his future farm. But it’s how he grows them that’s far from routine.

Adam has figured out a way to produce organic fruits and vegetables in the middle of a severe drought. He owns and operates Future Foods Farms in Brea, California. His farm is an aquaponic farm, which means the tomatoes, kale, microgreens and even edible flowers don’t grow in soil. Instead, the roots sit in water, and the plants are held up by a raft made of recycled Styrofoam shipping containers.

Inside each of the 10 greenhouses on the farm are small pools containing tilapia. The fish produce nutrients that feed the plants organically. The plants absorb those nutrients and also filter the water that goes back into the fish tanks.

There are huge benefits to aquaponic farming. Aquaponic plants grow two to three times faster as they do in soil and use a reduced amount of water. In fact, he produces one head of lettuce with one gallon of water versus conventional farming, or growing in the soil, which takes 10 to 15 gallons of water to produce a head of lettuce. Aquaponic farming also takes up less space and there is less evaporation. He has lettuce growing vertically in one greenhouse.

His water bill for the nursery that used to sit where his farm is now averaged about $1,200 to $1,600 a month. His current water bill ranges from $140 to $160 per month.

Mr. Navidi not only sells to local restaurants through local farmer’s markets, he also serves fresh greens daily at his own restaurant called Oceans and Earth in Yorba Linda.

Future Food Farms has opened the farm up to local colleges for research. He also hosts tours and tastings for people interested in learning how to start their own home aquaponic farm.

Shine On

Our Men of Honor

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces,
but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
John F. Kennedy

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. This nineteen-foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln emerged from the design of Massachusetts sculptor Daniel Chester French whose attention to detail, accuracy, and composition created a masterpiece.

Today, March 3, 1865 marks the 150th anniversary of the day President Abraham Lincoln signed a law to establish a national soldiers and sailors asylum. It was signed a month before the Civil War ended and the day before his second inauguration. Its roots can be traced back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians.

The Pilgrims passed a law that stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony. Later, the Continental Congress of 1776 encouraged enlistments during the Revolutionary War, providing pensions to disabled soldiers. In the early days of the Republic, individual states and communities provided direct medical and hospital care to Veterans. Then, in 1811, the federal government authorized the first domiciliary and medical facility for Veterans. Also in the 19th century, the nation’s Veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits and pensions not only for Veterans, but for their widows and dependents.

Home for Disabled Veterans

An illustration of the Milwaukee location of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, from the 1885 edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book.

It wasn’t until 1873 that the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established. It was the first-ever government institution created specifically for honorably discharged volunteer soldiers. The first national home opened November 1, 1866, near Augusta, Maine. These national homes were often called “soldiers’ homes” or “military homes,” and only soldiers who fought for the Union Army—including U.S. Colored Troops—were eligible for admittance.

The sprawling campuses became the template for future generations of federal Veterans’ hospitals. Because of President Lincoln, today the United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for Veterans of any nation in the world.

Thank you President Lincoln for being the first in our government to have the compassion and the forethought to look after all of our past, present and future war veterans. Our men of honor.

Shine On

The Great Desmond Morris

“We may prefer to think of ourselves as fallen angels,
but in reality we are rising apes.”
Desmond Morris

The Naked ApeToday I just started reading The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. As usual, I wanted to know more about Desmond Morris, so I Googled Mr. Morris and found out he is still alive at age 87. Amazingly, he wrote his first book, The Naked Ape in four short weeks in November 1966.

He was born Desmond John Morris on January 24, 1928 in Purton, Wilshire, England. His father, Harry Morris was a children’s fiction author. When Desmond was 14, his father was killed while serving in the armed forces. Ever since then, as noted from a 2008 interview, “It was the beginning of a life-long hatred of the establishment. The church, the government and the military were all on my hate list and have remained there ever since.”  He said in another interview, that “my reasoning behind drifting towards the surrealist subculture is rather profound. In a time living as a child in the Second World War and then losing my father to the repercussions of that violence, an inner urge for rebellion against authority struck me.”

Desmond grew up around all species of animals. In his twenties he developed a passion in both natural history and writing and his interest continued throughout his adult life. He was not only a zoologist, ethologist and a writer but he was also an established artist. He had major art exhibits throughout the world up until 1999.

As a result of his research study into the drawing abilities of apes, in 1957 he organized a chimpanzee paintings and drawings exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. In the spring of 1967 he resigned from his post of Curator held at London Zoo, and became executive director of the London Institute of Contemporary Arts for only a year, until 1968 with the release of The Naked Ape, sending Morris on an absence from the arts world of over twenty years, while his sociobiology career took the front seat.

In the 1950s up until the 1990s Desmond Morris wrote and directed television shows and movies. He’s still writing and publishing books and has published 84 books. Recently, in 2014 he published two books. One called Leopard and the second called Headworks, which is a volume of his collected poems from 1945 to 2014.

Desmond Morris’ art and writing continues to push the limits of mans curiosity about himself and other species on this planet. In his 2013 book The Artistic Ape; Three Million Years of Art, he sets out to answer why it is that the human species has been so intensely creative for thousands of years. This is another Desmond Morris book I plan to add to my 2015 reading list.

Here’s a recent comment from an interview with Desmond Morris about his book The Artistic Ape; Three Million Years of Art:

“Art is something that all humans feel compelled to pursue in one form or another. A culture without art is a dying culture. But art is everywhere and we have had too narrow a definition of it in the past. When I was writing a book about football, many years ago, I noticed that even the scruffiest of football hooligans would talk excitedly about “a beautiful goal”. They didn’t say ‘an efficient goal’, they were judging the goal aesthetically – although they would have laughed at me if I had told them they were making an aesthetic judgement – but that is precisely what they were doing. Every time a man buys a necktie he makes an aesthetic judgement. Every time he chooses a new car, he does the same. Our whole world is governed by aesthetic judgements, only we don’t see it that way – we say art is in a gallery or a museum, but the truth is that it influences us in many ways every day of our lives.”

To learn more about Desmond Morris and find information about his recent books, go to his website at:

The Great Desmond Morris.

Shine On

That’s Why I Love Him

“What made me love thee? let that persuade thee
there’s something extraordinary in thee.
I cannot: but I love thee; none  but thee;
and thou deserves it.”
William Shakespeare


One of my favorite fretted instruments is the banjo. After all, you can’t help but smile when you hear the sound of a banjo.

For Mother’s Day 2014 my son bought concert tickets for us to see “Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers” at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert was fantastic.

I was so inspired by the concert, that I decided it was time to learn to play the banjo. I didn’t own a banjo, but there’s a music store near my son’s apartment, and they just happen to have used banjos. After hearing the store owner play one of the banjos, I bought a used 21 fret, open back, 5-string banjo. I was absolutely thrilled to start learning to play the banjo.

However, when I got home with my fretted friend, my husband was not as thrilled as I was. His response was, “you’re not going to practice that thing in the house, are you?”

Relationships are all about compromise. We are both supportive of each others hobbies and interests. He likes me to go with him to the shooting range and go to car shows. And because he knows how much I enjoy banjo music, he has become more supportive of my banjo playing.

After lots of practice and lessons on the banjo, he now wants me to learn to play the guitar and the mandolin.

That’s why I love him.

Happy Valentine’s Day To Everyone

Shine On

Explore – Dream – Discover

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by
the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


Twin sail boats sailing along the Esplanade bay.

Shine On