Susanne Friend, Aquaponics Pioneer
In July 1995, Susanne gave birth to her first son, Victor Alexis (Tim’s adopted son). Susanne met Tim in June 2000, and they were married on October 29, 2000. In April 2001, their son Jack was born, followed by Lucky (Athen Lucas) in 2002, and Rose in 2005.
(Below) Susanne (kneeling, front row right) and the whole farm crew with Friendly Aquaponics lettuce in a Big Box Store in 2011.
Susanne and her husband Tim first bought a 62-year-old house which had been abandoned, then foreclosed on by the bank. They repaired and remodeled this house until it was in better-than-new condition.
Then Susanne and Tim found their dream property: 7 acres with an ocean view. They were just barely able to afford it; “the big house on the hill” was only possible because they spent four years building it with their own hands. Susanne was installing drywall on the second floor when she went into labor with her now twelve-year-old daughter Rose; and she spent hundreds of hours tiling, painting, installing flooring, and pounding nails with Tim.
In 2007, when the Hawaii construction industry they depended on for work took a nosedive, Susanne and Tim decided he should attend the University of the Virgin Islands Short Course in Aquaponics to learn the best aquaponics technology available at the time. In June of 2007 they started Friendly Aquaponics, Inc., a sustainable farm that grows vegetables and fish in recirculating systems with a small footprint that conserves water and energy while producing a lot of food. Susanne operates the farm and manages all administration.
(Below) Susanne harvesting aquaponic lettuce wearing a black pearl necklace; only she could have such class.
In October 2008 Susanne and Tim co-taught their first “Commercial Aquaponics Training” in Hawaii. Subsequently, they have trained thousands of people in this technology on the commercial level, from all over the continental United States, and from many foreign countries.
Accomplishments Susanne is most proud of:
The first Aquaponics farm in the world to be certified organic was Susanne’s farm: both through Oregon Tilth, 2008-2010, and Organic Certifiers – 2010-.
The first Aquaponics farm in the world to be Food Safety Certified for Good Agricultural Practices was Susanne’s farm, through the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture, May 2009.
Charity Work/Community Outreach:
Susanne provides – free of charge – the Friendly Aquaponics DIY manuals to teachers, children, students, or anyone else who works with children.
Seventh-Grade Aquaponics Textbook “Aquaponics The EASY Way”:
Susanne wrote “Aquaponics The EASY Way”, a 226-page book designed to be a textbook for junior high aquaponics classes, as well as the “Easiest And Most Practical” beginner’s aquaponics handbook available anywhere. Click here to download your free copy of this book; after selling several thousand copies, she’s now giving it away to thank her community,.
Teaching people how to grow their own food takes up almost all our time. Our four children are actively involved in our farming and our trainings, and occasionally we actually go to the beach, for surfing, snorkeling, and fun! After all, we do live in Hawaii….
(Susanne) Thanks for reading about us. I have actually never compiled a list like this….we’ve gotten a lot done in our ten years in aquaponics! It’s pretty obvious we don’t watch TV!