Roland J. Peltier is the owner and operator of Vortex Aquaponics, and is passionate about teaching children how to reconnect with nature and their food. He is a father, a gardener, an outdoor enthusiast, an innovative builder and is an active member in his Okanagan community of Vernon, British Columbia.
Roland is also a Certified Permaculture Designer, taught by Element Eco-Design.
"Through Vortex Aquaponics, I am commited to bringing an ancient aboriginal way of thinking back into the mainstream. Our kids want to reconnect with their food, and aquaponics is a fascinating example of how nature provides the symbiosis which allows us to grow our own organic food up to TWICE as fast as conventional gardening while using up to 90% less water. This is one way we can take back our food security and live sustainably."
Roland J. Peltier
Vortex Aquaponics units are hand-built using birch plywood and local s2s lumber, expanded clay pellets and full spectrum LED grow lights.
The bottom of the units have a fish aquarium subdivided by Plexiglass, creating a fish tank and a sump tank. The idea is that the water level in the fish tank always stays the same height, while the water is being pumped from the sump tank into the grow bed. Each grow bed has a bell syphon which will drain the water back into the fish tank. There are holes drilled in the top of the Plexiglass which allow the water to overflow from the fish tank, back into the sump tank.
All units have a built in emergency overflow, which will divert the water back into the fish tank should the bell siphon ever fail.
We use Eheim pumps on all our systems because reliability is very important.
Vortex Aquaponics systems can be found in 7 schools in 4 school districts including SD 22, SD 27, SD 57 and SD 59.
Mission Hill Elementary School in Vernon ran a successful aquaponics system at their school through the 2013/2014 school year, and have re-committed to adapting their system to better fit their school's needs. Principal Lynne Gibson has shown pioneering leadership by embracing aquaponics in her school, as well as advocating for this new way of teaching. The PAC at Mission Hill has been very supportive, understanding how important it is to teach our children about food security and reconnecting to nature.
At Mission Hill Elementary, the aquaponics system was set up in the Special Education classroom. There was a lot of positive feedback from class teacher Andrew, who got right in there for some hands-on aquaponics experience. Many of the other Special Education staff noticed a calming effect from having the aquaponics system in the classroom. The kids seemed to really enjoy having the thriving garden and colourful fish in their class.
Andrew Willmott owner of AJ's pets in Vernon, was also a real help in making the Vortex Aquaponics system at Mission Hill. He contributed his time and even donated some parts to get the system built. Steven Weibe was also a tremendous help, and contributed both materials and his time to the build of the system. There have been a lot of people who have contributed to making the first system at Mission Hill Elementary happen, including Luna and Alexander Johnstone who also contributed time and donated fish to the system, the Downtown Safeway, Coopers Foods, Save-On Foods, and Buy - Low Foods (all in Vernon, BC), for donating fresh herbs to plant in the garden. It is always a good idea to keep the custodial staff involved and at Mission Hill, Griff was very helpful and supportive of this project.
Hillview Elementary School also in Vernon, currently has a thriving Vortex Aquaponics system, and has embraced its potential by receiving educational tutorials for the entire staff and student body. Principal Candice Siegmueller sees the bigger picture and has been very supportive of this pioneering endeavour. Their aquaponics system was generously funded by Hilltop Subaru of Vernon.
Every school NEEDS an Aquaponics system. Children love them and this curiosity leads to real life education and hands-on learning.
They are easy to maintain and inexpensive to build and operate. Vortex Aquaponics Systems can be custom built to fit any size space and budget.
Available packages include full Vortex Aquaponics system set-up and grade appropriate tutorials for the entire school.