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2008, Living Mandala
creative services by: 360 Degrees

In Association With

NorCal Aquaponics

Austin Aquaponics

Fishnet Aquaponics


Max Meyers of NorCal Aquaponics

Rob Nash of Austin Aquaponics

Jon Parr - Fishnet Aquaponics

  1. Learn One of the Most Sustainable

  2. Food Production Systems in the World!

  3. * Use up to 90% Less Water

  4. * Save Labor, Time and Money

  5. * Permaculture Focus for Greater Self-Sufficiency

  6. * Off-Grid Systems & Aquaponics for Homesteads

  7. * Design for Diverse, Climates, Ecologies, & Cultures

  8. * Create a Thriving, Regenerative Business!

Course Overview

Wether you are a beginner, a backyard hobbyist, a homesteader or a skilled professional wanting to start a career in aquaponics, this course has something to offer. This course will provide you with a solid foundation, in depth information, and hands-on experience for designing and building cutting-edge permaculture based aquaponics systems. Wether you want to grow food for you and your family, a small business or a fully commercial operation, this course will give you the foundational tools, information, and experience you will need to support you in whatever aquaponic endeavor you are interested in for years to come. At a time of global climate change, depletion of resources, pollution of water and huge losses of top soil worldwide, there has never been a more important time to learn about Aquaponics.

Learn from Over 30 Years of Combined Collective Experience!

This training will be led by our incredible team of aquaponics instructors, professionals and educators from around the world: Including:

  1. Max Meyers of NorCal Aquaponics - Known for combining the sciences of aquaponics & permaculture, Max brings 15+ years of permaculture experience as a farmer, homesteader, professional designer, installer, and teacher. With a lifetime of experience raising fish and designing countless sustainable homesteads and aquaponic systems, Max is a pioneer integrating aquaponics systems into sustainable, off-grid living systems. Max is founder and lead designer/installer at NorCal Aquaponics.

  2. Rob Nash of Austin Aquaponics -  Rob Nash brings over a decade of experience with boutique to large scale aquaponic farming techniques and hybrids, and is one of the pioneers in the industry. Rob is founder and owner of Austin Aquaponics and HannaLeigh Farm, operating our of Austin, Texas.

  3. Jon Parr of Schoolgrown & Fishnet Aquaponics -  Jon Parr, a leader in the emerging aquaponics movement, comes from a background of construction and engineering. Jon co-founded a Watsonville Commercial Greenhouse in 2013 -  one of the largest commercial aquaponics systems in the world with of over 8 acres of aquaponics in greenhouses. Jon founded Fishnet Aquaponics in 2010, and co-founded his most recent project - SchoolGrown, in 2014. Schoolgrown builds and operates classroom-sized aquaponic greenhouses for schools and communities, a hybrid CSA and educational model system.

Course Description

Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable and productive farming systems in the world. It combines aquaculture and hydroponics to create more self-sufficient, closed-loop, systems that use only a fraction of the water, labor, energy, etc. than other methods use. Combining Permaculture Design with Aquaponics creates an even more sustainable, dynamic, productive & regenerative system. In this training you will learn some of the most cutting-edge pioneering aquaponics systems from various successful experts in the field, and gain a solid foundation from which to create your own aquaponics system, farm & thriving green business appropriate to your climate, ecology, dreams, & desires.

Course Details

This course includes:

  1. Detailed exploration and overview of the science of Aquaponics - how it works

  2. System designs from all over the world; design, functions, adaptability, uses, variations and improvements.

  3. A detailed 100 page Aquaponics Course Manual covering all aspects of Aquaponics including:

  4. Day-to-day operation of the system

  5. Design checklist

  6. Field tested formulas, calculations, estimates and guidelines.

  7. Complete designs, plans and materials lists.

  8. And much more!

  9. NorCal Aquaponics Systems step-by-step construction manual with variations and site specific applications intended to make it easy for anyone to build an Aquaponics system.

  10. A set of detailed construction plans, including site plans, and piping schematics.

  11. Backyard & commercial aquaponics greenhouse system designs from Rob Nash or Austin Aquaponics.

  12. Personal Q & A with successful experts in the field

  13. * This training will include all of the above as well as a design element focus on how to design a system specific to your individual climate, ecology, dreams, and desires - wether it is for a small personal system or a more large scale commercial system. Our intention is to empower you with cutting-edge information to get started in this promising new Green Career of the Future, and technology of the ancient past.

Permaculture & Aquaponics

By bringing permaculture Design principles and practices into aquaponics, we are closing many loops, inefficiencies, and energy drains that exist in more conventional systems, as well as integrating the system appropriately into the larger landscapes and ecologies it is a part of, making it a much more holistic and sustainable enterprise. Closed-loop aquaponics focuses on designing aquaponics systems that that produce as much of the system’s needs (water, energy, fish, feed, heat, gas, etc.) on-site and within the system itself as possible. Products of the systems can include; solar electricity, solar heated air, solar heated water, fish, prawns, vegetables, fruit, aquatic plants, algae, minnows, snails, worms, dry and liquid fertilizers, methane gas, and more. By using the permaculture design process, we learn to design systems appropriate to diverse climates and unique ecological niches to meet various needs, dreams, and desires.

Student Testimonials

“The highest praise I can give this course is the ability to take it home and immediately apply the principles. I received a thorough understanding of the subject and feel I could build my own system with the information given.” - Anne, Santa Cruz, CA

“I was looking for a course to help me start my system, and was a little worried this wouldn’t cover everything... but boy was I wrong! It covered everything I expected and so much more! I’m excited to go home feeling fully capable to build my system, and perhaps 3 or 4 others I had no idea about before!” - Mike, Santa Cruz, CA

“This course was so jam-packed with information my head felt like an over soaked sponge! I feel like the amount of info I received will continue to ooze out my ears and inform a lifetime’s work in this field. I highly recommend it for any and all persons interested.” - Susan, Ukiah, CA

“This course is a must for anyone wanting to engage in urban agriculture.” - Matthew, Santa Cruz, CA

“This course topped all my expectations and is the best aquaponics course I have taken. The information delivered was exceptional, beyond what I have seen, and more than I ever thought possible for aquaponics. Max and the Living Mandala support staff are very friendly, knowledgable people doing great work in the world. Thank you for this offering.”

- Gary, Ukiah, CA

“Max is a brilliant designer, an extraordinary human being, and a natural teacher. His breadth of experience, passion, integration of regenerative design principles, creativity, depth of knowledge on the subject, and freedom of sharing information, are truly a gift.”  - Palika, Santa Cruz, CA

“This course is all about empowering each of us with the tools and techniques to take responsibility for our future by creating a sustainable food source and sharing this on so many levels.”

-Susan. Santa Cruz, CA

Additional Aquaponics Trainings

  1. Closed-Loop Aquaponics: The Complete Course

  2. Backyard, Educational & Commercial Systems

  3. June 23 - 26, 2016  / Ukiah, California

  1. Closed-Loop Aquaponics: The Complete Course

  2. Backyard, Educational & Commercial Systems

  3. March 9 - 12, 2017  /  Sacramento, California


For questions and more information regarding the course

e-mail: aquaponics(at)livingmandala.com or

call: (707) 285-7231


Tuition & Registration

Includes Aquaponics Certification, course materials - including 100 page course manual), detailed designs for backyard and commercial systems, and hands-on experience.

Standard Tuition: $1295

Early Bird: $995 - (for those making less than 50k annually - Ends Sept 1)

Permaculture Design Course Graduates, Aquaponics Course Grads, & College Students: $895

To support the permaculture movement and our commitment to further empower local sustainability efforts, we are offering a special discount to permaculture design course graduates, aquaponics course graduates, and college students.

* There will be a small registration fee in addition to the above prices.

To Register for the Aquaponics Course Click Here.

Meals & Lodging

Course tuition includes a light breakfast, snacks, and lunch during the course. Participants are responsible for their own dinner. The venue is located in the hills 15 minutes outside of santa Cruz, CA. There are camping options available on-site for $15 per night. There are also local hotels and other possibilities available. We will send you more information on local lodging options upon registration or with inquiry.

Hosting Site - SchoolGrown Community Center

SchoolGrown is dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture, savvy water use, and resource conservation through advocacy, education, research, and service. They accomplish their mission by placing L.E.A.F. greenhouse labs in neighborhood schools.

This course will be held at the SchoolGrown Leaf Greenhouse at their newest location in Felton, California. The systems are designed by John Parr, founder of SchoolGrown, renowned aquaponics educator and engineer.

Aquaponics Facts







Why Aquaponics?

Growing our food in closed systems that require no soil allows us to farm soil and water outside the system. We plant soil and water in our damaged and depleted landscapes which not only aids in the restoration of the soil, groundwater and native forests, but has the added benefit of offsetting greenhouse gases by removing carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. This is one of the practices used in what we call “Carbon Farming”. Soils contain approximately 75% of the carbon pool on land — three times more than the amount stored in living plants and animals.

Did you know that 1” of healthy top soil spread over 1 acre of land sequesters the same amount of carbon a healthy forest of the same size does annually? It is estimated that our crop and range lands lose 4 tons of topsoil every year for every person alive! That’s 21 gigatons of soil washed or blown out to the sea and lost for productive use on land, releasing vast amounts of carbon in the process (New Scientist, December 2006).

Being able to use land considered “Undesirable” by conventional farming, aquaponic farmers have the added benefit of access to cheap lands and lease agreements. Often using otherwise unused space such as fill, gravel, concrete, abandoned commercial sites, even roof tops.

The Only Limit is in the Mind of the Designer!

Watch a Video of Max Meyers of NorCal Aquaponics Featured in Time Magazine On-Line

Watch a Video of Rob Nash of Austin Aquaponics Featured in Central Texas Gardener




Max Meyers

Maximillian Meyers is an ecological designer, permaculture teacher, commercial aquaponic system designer/installer, rainwater and greywater system specialist, farmer and the executive director of the Mendocino Ecological Learning Center (MELC) - a nonprofit educational organization and ecological reserve offering green job training and sustainable living skills to the public. In addition to the work at MELC, Max provides Ecological design services through his businesses Osiris Designs and NorCal Aquaponics. He is passionate about all things related to a more just and sustainable world. He has been studying, practicing and teaching permaculture and ecological design for over 15 years. Since graduating from college with a B.A. degree in Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Communities, Max has become a certified permaculture designer/teacher, water systems specialist and working professional. He has been fortunate enough to study with people like Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, Tom Ward, Jude Hobbs, John Valenzuela, Penny Livingston-Stark, and many others in places like the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Hawaii. Some of his fields of study and practice include: natural building, organic farming, integrated rainwater aarvesting, alternative transportation, mushroom cultivation, sustainable forestry, beekeeping, animal husbandry, renewable energy, biogas production and use, greywater systems design and installation, vermiculture, seed saving, and many other sustainable technologies, methods and skills.  Max’s work has been featured in the best selling book Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Homescale Permaculture, as well as radio and television programs.

Lead Instructor

Rob Nash

Rob Nash is the owner/operator of Austin Aquaponics and HannaLeigh Farm based out of Austin, Texas. He has been designing and implementing commercial scale aquaponic systems since 2007. Rob combined his years of hands on experience with training from Dr. Rakocy on the UVI model and at Nelson & Pade aquaponics, to pioneer one of the first commercial operations to implement the popular, integrated or media-raft-hybrid commercial systems. Rob’s passion for and dedication to educating others about this industry has allowed him to become a sought-after source of knowledge in the southern region, where he has taught hundreds of students. His farm and aquaponic systems have been showcased on The Central Texas Gardener and InfoWars.com in 2013. He currently offers training workshops, consultation, and build/design of aquaponic systems for the beginner to advanced gardener, as well as commercial-minded aquapon. Rob is a one of the original founding members of the Aquaponic Association, and has served as a chairman since its formation in 2011.

Lead Instructor

Jon Parr

Jon Parr, a leader in the emerging Aquaponics movement comes from a background of construction. Since his early childhood, Jon has been an avid fisherman of the California waterways. As a fish hobbyist, Jon has befriended many of California’s aquaculture community, and as a fish breeder himself, Jon has helped many aquaponics farmers fill their fish tanks.

Jon discovered aquaponics overcoming a problem with ground squirrels at his home in the Santa Cruz mountains. Jon left the craft / construction trade to pursue the aquaponic arts full time. During the years of research and real-world application, Jon developed numerous expansive aquaponic systems. He pioneered new methods, practices, equipment and understanding, many of which have become the standards of the Aquaponic industry today. Jon founded one of the largest commercial aquaponics systems in the world - an 8 acre farm under greenhouses in Watsonville, CA. Jon's hands-on approach to real-world application of sustainable permaculture and aquaponic production have made him a popular circuit speaker and one of the elite aquaponic industry experts. Jon’s current projects can be found at:  www.fishnetaquaponics.com & SchoolGrown.

Lead Instructor

Partner Organizations & Sponsors


Become a sponsor or affiliate of this course!

For details email: sponsors(at)livingmandala.com

For Upcoming Courses, Workshops, & Events in Permaculture, Ecovillage Design, Sustainable Living Skills,

& More Click Here.


Closed-Loop Aquaponics: The Complete Course

Backyard, Educational & Commercial Systems

Highlighting Commercial & Educational

Oct 20 - 23, 2016  

Hosted by Schoolgrown

Santa Cruz, California