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Education
Roland J. Peltier with a small system which was the prototype for the Finnigin model. AJ's pets in Veron, BC. has been very supportive and forward thinking in hosting this system in their Veron location.

The Founder

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

Aquaponics
This thriving garden is at Hillview Elementary School in Vernon, BC. It has Swiss Chard, tomatoes, sweet basil, mint, arugula, and strawberries.
The Babylon
This hanging model called the "Babylon" graces the lobby of a local health care practitioner's business.
Education
Students at Glenview Elementary School in Prince George, BC. are very excited to have a new Cadence model aquaponics system in their classroom!

The Products

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.

Harvest Time
Mission Hill Elementary School in Vernon, BC. A student picks some fresh mint
Education
Students love this project based learning!
Aquaponics Setup

The Facts

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.

A personal message from Vortex Aquaponics Founder

My personal choice to self identify with my aboriginal ancestry is based on what I remember being told as a child about having native heritage from our Ontario roots. It is also a decision I make from the heart, because I feel a sense of belonging to this planet and know my place here as a steward of this land and a teacher of the Red ways to the children. My surname is French-Canadian, as is the surname of my other grandfather and both my grandmother's maiden names. I did not grow up learning to speak French, nor did I live on a reservation but I know the trials faced by people who have.

Although born in Ontario, I was raised in rural northern BC communities. McLeod Lake, BC. was a community I was raised in for nearly a decade during my formative years of middle school through high school. During this time in McLeod Lake I was immersed in much of the local aboriginal culture, and was accepted by members of the local T'sekani tribe as a friend. We attended school together, played softball together, swam together, fished and trapped together, danced together, ate together, laughed together, and cried together. I was invited to take part in sweats when the sweat lodge was built on a raft at the mouth of where the crystal clear McLeod River used to flow into McLeod Lake.

I suppose what makes me want to identify with my aboriginal ancestry the most is my understanding of how out of balance this world around me seems. I am a father now and want to leave something for my son's generation. What could be more important than bringing back the wisdom understood by the original inhabitants of this land? The people who based their beliefs on a foundation of gratitude to the Creator, and reverence for nature are the ones who thrived while living in balance here on this planet. It is their teachings which we must resurrect if we are to again experience balance and harmony.

Aborginal wisdom is based on cooperation, and doing what is best for the clan, the tribe, and the earth. When we look at nature's systems, like aquaponics, we see the symbiosis which is the basis of cooperative systems. Digging into the ground and building pit houses was one way that local aboriginals discovered the geo-thermal benefit that this provides. Passive Solar greenhouses use this same principal to allow us to grow our food year round. There are many principals in today's Permaculture movement which were inherent in the culture of aboriginal people the world over. The Aztec's were using a form of aquaponics over 700 years ago to feed their people, and now we are bringing back this wisdom for a new generation to learn to feed themselves and live in balance with nature.

Roland J. Peltier