#Holy Shade Balls

“Water is life’s matter and matrix,
mother and medium.
There is no life without water.”
Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt

Holy Shade Balls, Batman

Shade balls released into the Los Angeles Reservoir.

Unless you live on another planet, you must know that California is in a serious drought.

To combat the four years of drought, officials have released 96 million plastic balls. These plastic balls, shade balls as they are commonly known, are small black orbs that float atop the water creating shade to keep the water from evaporating.

The shade balls also help block sunlight and UV rays that promote algae growth, which would help keep the city’s drinking water safe. The balls slow the rate of evaporation, which drains California water supply of about 300 million gallons a year.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said the balls are expected to safely float in the water without emitting dangerous chemicals.

Apparently, the black orbs are not new to California. They have been used for almost seven years. But, due to their name they are receiving huge attention from social media users. #Holy Shade Balls.

Shine On

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