Local man merges fish and plants for healthy lifestyle

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Rudy Flores has visions of him with white hair on his head and great-grandchildren surrounding his rocking chair as he dispenses a wealth of knowledge he has gained over the years.

One of the area’s best-kept secrets became less and less mysterious with each turn of the page of some extensive research.

The word aquaponics may paint a very clear picture in some minds.

Everyone else can rely on this explanation from theaquaponicssource.com, saying the simplest definition “is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system.”

The same way cows produce manure for crops that grow on farms, fish are instead the provider of the manure where that prime ingredient is relayed onto the roots of whatever is growing.

This way of cultivating food saves those crops from being subjected to the dangerous pesticides and chemicals that mass-producing farmers use. That was one of the motivating factors that led this local man to finding out everything he possibly can about this system of growing.

Although Flores spends his day-job re-wiring houses and buildings as an electrician, he has been providing his family for the last two and a half years with food grown in their own backyard.

However, these plants do not sprout up from the ground but instead; they grow in nearly the complete opposite direction.

He has implemented a vertical growing system, utilizing the space that most in-ground crops will never even get close to using.

By cultivating his harvests this way, Flores has a wide array of food options for him to grow and he mentioned lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, microgreens, sprouts and wheatgrass all commonly residing in his greenhouse.

“And I still haven’t even maximized the space,” he mentioned, knowing there’s still room for improvement.

So how did all of this even come about?

Flores mentioned that he ran into an old neighbor of his and they got to talking about how in those days, all of the surrounding families traded nearly everything when it came to food.

“Everyone had their specialty and grew something well,” Flores mentioned, recounting things like fruit and vegetables that were being bartered the same way eggs from chickens were in the area.

But since then, he noted not many people grow their own things anymore and brought up the excuse that some people think they don’t have that “green thumb,” needed to grow their own food.

He dove into research, trying to find every word possible to help him attain success and it was soon that he found out that it would not take an excessively discolored phalange in order to put dinner on the table.

However, it did not happen overnight, although Flores may have wanted it that way.

“My wife has had to tell me to go to bed, ‘you need to stop reading,’” he said, describing his eagerness as akin to a child in a candy shop wanting to try everything. “I couldn’t get enough,” he finished.

He eventually felt as though he gathered enough information to get started and shifted his focus to constructing his own farm, something that he feels as though could be implemented anywhere in the world.

“I can see what I’m doing in every small neighborhood across the country,” Flores noted, mentioning that even ‘locally-grown produce’ is sometimes shipped hundreds of miles to its destination.

Not only that, but with the indoor aspect of the growing, aquaponics can generate yields every month of the year, not abiding to any sort of “Mother Nature.”

But still one of the biggest reassuring factors that led Flores to going all in on this system is the run-in with a couple from Florida who both cured their cancer by switching to a full-aquaponic diet.

More specifically, Flores cited wheatgrass’ potential to assist red blood cells in their responsibilities in cleaning the blood. With everything in the human immune system relating back to the blood, keeping that clean will solve a lot of issues.

Flores recounted that the wife came down with her diagnosis and sought out numerous second opinions until finally getting in touch with a clinic that relies on aquaponics. After a year and finding no traces of cancer in her body, she quit her job and started working at that clinic.

A few years later, the husband contracted stomach cancer and although he initially thought it was merely coincidental that his wife got rid of hers with aquaponics, his was gone after a year and a half and no radiation or chemotherapy but simply wheatgrass.

That was another cited example of the more Flores delved deeper into the abyss of aquaponics, he connected with more and more people with experiences that led him to get it going himself.

Although he knows ingesting all of this information is all fine and well but if he can’t turn around and pass this on to someone, then what’s the point?

“I’m big on teaching my kids the ‘why’ in life,” Flores said. “I can yell at them until I’m blue in the face but if they don’t understand why then it’s good for nothing.”

His four girls are already beginning to latch onto his teachings and paid that favor back by helping out around the greenhouse and even helped paint the outside.

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