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Press Releases from Kirby Peak Ranch, Mariposa, CA       

April 3, 2002 - Kirby Peak Ranch Welcomes New Manager and Staff

Oct 19, 2001 - New Facility Combines Aquaculture, Hydroponics and Education

April 3, 2002
Kirby Peak Ranch Welcomes New Manager and Staff

Mariposa, Ca - Kirby Peak Ranch is pleased to announce that Shaun Strickland will be the new operations manager of the 1/2 acre hydroponic/aquaponic greenhouse facility in Mariposa, California. Shaun has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry form the University of Iowa, as well as accomplishments in greenhouse production and management and experience in water quality testing and laboratory research. Kirby Peak Ranch owner, Richard Radanovich, comments: “I feel that Shaun’s education, experience and strong leadership abilities will allow him to excel in the position of Operations Manager at Kirby Peak Ranch.”

Also joining the Kirby Peak Ranch team is Zachary Mayer. With a BS in Environmental Science/Biology, extensive experience in recirculating aquaculture and a passion for aquaponics, Zach will be a great asset to the facility.

John Pade and , Kirby Peak Ranch consultants/designers, and Mr. Radanovich will be working closely with Shaun and Zach installing the plant and fish culture systems, planting the initial crops, stocking the fish tanks and establishing the education and agri-tourism programs.

Both Shaun and Zach are relocating to Mariposa in early April to begin their new positions at Kirby Peak Ranch, a unique agri-campus and high-tech farm that utilizes controlled environment agriculture, hydroponic and aquaponic technology for commercial food production, education and agri-tourism. To learn more about Kirby Peak Ranch, visit www.kirbypeakranch.com and watch for an update in the next issue of the Aquaponics Journal.

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October 19, 2001  
New Facility Combines Aquaculture, Hydroponics and Education

Imagine a place where lush tomato plants thrive while consuming a precisely mixed blend of nutrients, thousands of fish swim lazily in circular tanks, lettuce heads mature in less than 30 days, strawberries and herbs grow from floor to ceiling and students of all ages enjoy dynamic hands-on learning.  This place is Kirby Peak Ranch in Mariposa , California , a nearly ½ acre greenhouse scheduled for completion in late 2001.  The facility uses both hydroponics and aquaponics to produce high quality produce and fish while serving as a showplace and an educational center for hydroponics and aquaponics.   In the greenhouse, numerous plant and fish growing systems will be demonstrated with each component contributing economically, visually and educationally.   Facility designers, John Pade and , ensure that the culture systems, the encompassing greenhouse and all related equipment demonstrate low-energy consumption, high efficiency and practicality.  

Kirby Peak Ranch owner, Richard Radanovich, shares, “We plan to demonstrate a style of agriculture that produces high quality plants and fish while using resources to their fullest as opposed to traditional inefficient methods that excessively use our limited resources.  We want to show people that you can make the most out of what you have while making the least impact on the planet.”

Upon entering the greenhouse, you’ll traverse through the showcase, an area intended to create an interesting and awe-inspiring introduction to hydroponics and aquaponics.   Just to the west of the showcase is the hydroponic tomato production system, which, in just a 5000 square foot space, can produce 50,000 pounds of luscious tomatoes per year.   In the center greenhouse bay adjacent to the hydroponic tomatoes is the aquaponic production area.  Tanks holding nearly 5000 gallons will provide habitat for commercially viable fish.   The fish culture system will be directly connected to the plant growing tanks in which lettuce and herbs are grown on floating rafts.  The design of this aquaponic system is based on the system developed by Dr. James Rakocy and his associates at the University of the Virgin Islands, St Croix.  It has the potential to produce nearly 2500 pounds of fish and thousands of heads of lettuce per year. 

In the southeastern corner of the greenhouse, in a 720 square foot area, strawberries, herbs and edible flowers will be grown in a unique vertical growing system and, just beyond these plant towers, will be a 3,356 square foot hydroponic lettuce production unit using NFT, the Nutrient Film Technique.  The plants are grown in channels in which a thin film of nutrient solution continuously flows.  This system can produce as many as 1500 heads of lettuce/week.  The space just north of the NFT lettuce system will be used for seed germination and plant propagation.  Also in the eastern-most bay will be space dedicated to research and development, intern projects, a laboratory, new system testing and design and a crop-sorting and packing area.  A walk-in cold storage room for leafy crops and a cool storage room for tomatoes will be located just beyond the packing area.

The agri-tourism and education programs at Kirby Peak Ranch will offer different levels of tours and instruction for individuals and groups including tourists, school groups, college students, educators, hobbyists and commercial growers.   In the agri-tourism program, introductory guided tours will allow visitors to wander among the lush plants while learning the basics of soilless culture.   Specialized 2-3 day workshops will provide a structured classroom and a hands-on learning experience for beginners, teachers and experienced growers.

The intensive training program offers enthusiastic college and post-graduate students a unique opportunity to learn all facets of this sustainable means of growing food while living on the park-like agri-campus for a 3-month session.   Richard comments, “Students in our training program will learn the practical and technical applications of hydroponics and aquaponics while living in a setting that most people would love to vacation in.  We’ve got mountains, meadows and a thriving lake all on our agri-campus, plus, Yosemite National Park just down the road.”

The greenhouse facility at Kirby Peak Ranch will be a world-class destination for anyone interested in learning about these technologies.  Kirby Peak Ranch is also home to Mother Lode Llama Co., which offers packing trips and seminars on llamas.  In summary, Richard adds, “The greenhouse, which I consider the cornerstone of the agri-campus, will be a highly productive facility growing an abundance of produce and fish and creating a dynamic, real-life learning environment.”  Like mountain tributaries feeding a river, commercial food production, agri-tourism, education and training all merge at Kirby Peak Ranch, where an abundance of food will be grown and a wealth of knowledge shared.

Anyone interested in learning more about aquaponics and hydroponics at Kirby Peak Ranch can visit or call 1-800- 946-5262.

Kirby Peak Ranch opening spring, 2002
1-800-946-5262, Mariposa, California

Kirby Peak Ranch 
PO Box 2099, Mariposa, California, 95338  USA

copyright 2001, 2002 - all rights reserved