What is Aquaponics?

Grow Dinner Aquaponics (GDA) is an urban farm located in Statesville, NC. We thrive to help the Aquaponics community as much as possible through YouTube help videos, our website, Facebook and more. After years of offering Hands-on Aquaponics Workshops at our farm, we have had to take a break however we plan on resuming classes soon.

In addition to teaching, we hold a North Carolina Aquaculture Aquaponics-indoor-grow-bedsPropagation and Production Facilities License for Tilapia, Catfish, Koi and more just to name a few solely focused on the 

Aquaponics industry. We maintain a backyard Aquaponics greenhouse year round, a few seasonal outdoor Aquaponics ponds, a large number of indoor units and more.

As we continue to grow, we are very thankful for all the support and growth we have had over the years. We look forward to the upcoming workshops and serving the Aquaponics community.

How did we get here?

My name is Chris Anthony aka the Straw Hat Farmer and the founder of Grow Dinner Aquaponics. I grew up on a farm in western North Carolina. Our lifestyle was very different than what most people live today. The day to day activity was taking care of the farm raising our own food. We preserved a large portion of our own food with a smokehouse, freezer and lots of canning. All the animals we consumed was raised on our farm or hunted in the wild. I was exposed to farm-raised fish and even turtles for consumption.
As most people was I happy to get off the farm and go out into the world in search of my dreams. Over time I soon realized the sustainable life on the farm became more important to me than ever. I found a growing concern about two things. The first being what would happen if I went to the supermarket one day and they had food on the shelf? The second concern was what am I eating from the commercial food system? The life I had left behind on the farm was becoming priceless at this point in my life having the sustainability and fresh food. I had played with Aquaponics over the years but never had taken it seriously for growing food and had used it more to clean the water for fish tanks.

With a farming background and the fact that fish had always been a part of my life including fish in outdoor ponds and aquariums including salt and freshwater Aquaponics had come easily to me. I made it my goal to build my family a food system that would produce more food than one could even imagine. With numerous hours and money invested I started to see a change, we had built many systems some worked and some didn't. With years behind me in Aquaponics and a garden of fresh vegetables and fish producing more than my family could eat, people started to hear about my little backyard garden and started showing up at my door asking if they could see what we had accomplished. Over time I found myself on the web sharing with others. Soon after we had the inspiration to make the move for a new greenhouse and a new Aquaponics system that would be the best system we had ever built. To our surprise, we had about 500,000 views on YouTube in one year that changed everything for me. With emails flooding in asking for help and the phone ringing every day I soon realized I could really make a difference in so many people’s lives with a little more effort. Today Grow Dinner Aquaponics is a hobby farm and I have no income from the farm just the satisfaction of helping others in so many ways. It has become so rewarding for my family to share a part of our life with others.

In 2013 we started holding a training class at our farm to help raise money for nonprofit we wanted to start to help others called Fish and Veggies Feeding the Community. With only a few classes in 2013 we didn't raise much capital to help the nonprofit but by 2014 things started to change we had reached a point that we could start helping others. To date, we have been able to help so many schools and others get involved in Aquaponics. Thank you to all the people that have supported our hands-on workshops. I have also found myself traveling and speaking to so many people about changing their way of life my dreams are coming true. It has never been about the money for me. I am doing something that is priceless. Thank you for all of your support.

With such limited time on our hands, we are having difficulty finding time for drop-in visitors
We offer an open house a few times per year for people who just want to visit. Please keep in mind this is a hobby for us. We would love to accommodate all visitors just wanting to visit and look around however we are not a retail location. Maybe in the future, we will offer Online Workshops so you can learn all about Aquaponics. We appreciate your understanding. Thank you from the Strawhat Farmer & his family.