ABOUT OUR FARM
Benefits of aquaponic farming include using less land, less water, less fertilizers, thus creating less waste.
Aquaponic plants also grow faster at a higher plant density.
Less yields more.
We first learned about aquaponics in the local newspaper. We thought it was an innovative, resourceful farming technique and more so, a perfect solution for agriculture-zoned lands that have unfarmable or unorganic soil, which is a common problem in Hawaii. In an aquaponics system, aquaculture (in our case, fish) waste is converted naturally into nutrients that are fed to plants via water. Plants take the nutrients and return the purified water back into the system. Plants get to eat and fish get a clean tank (too much waste is toxic for them).
Aquaponics is ideal because it requires no soil, thus there is no need to let land lie fallow and crops can be certified organic without concern for past use. It requires 2% of the water typically needed for traditional farming since all water is recirculated back into the system. Since nutrients are readily supplied, plants grow faster and can be grown closer, meaning less land is needed.
Currently, our farm houses three 5000 gallon fish tanks (with 2500 tilapia in each) which pumps filtered nutrient-rich water to a shadehouse with thirty 96' long growbeds to feed 34,000 plants. We follow the aquaponic methods developed by Dr. Harry Ako, Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr. Ako was instrumental to our farm's beginning and we are extremely fortunate to have the resources of him and his lab for true cutting-edge science-grounded advice.
WHO WE ARE
Ili'ili Farms is run by Hawaii-born Dan and his wife Mei. In their past careers, Dan was a general contractor and Mei was a real estate broker. Combining Dan's structural engineering experience and Mei's horticulture skills, they transformed an abandoned orchid house into a flourishing aquaponics farm. Read an interview with Dan from Hawaii Business magazine.
WHERE TO BUY
You can find our produce at Foodland, Times, Whole Foods, and Down to Earth stores across Oahu or at the Farmers' Market at Ward Warehouse. Our greens are also on the menu at Artizen by MW, MW Restaurant, BLT Steak, BLT Market and Fete Hawaii!