Back to All Events

WORKshop Series

Onsen Farm WORKshop Series

Building and interacting with sustainable technologies is deemed crucial to our future by many;  we agree, but besides that, we also find it to be downright fun, and a hell of a way to spend a weekend.  We can't stop tinkering, and we think you'll have a blast when you join us at Onsen Farm as we develop our acreage into a hot-spring fueled eco oasis.  Our WORKshop series is designed to tilt the balance of the workshop experience heavily in the favor of a hands on educational experience.   Participants will cover theory, design, and techniques  for some of the various earth assisting technologies, then get out of the classroom and build it!  The opportunity to learn, and then to lock down the experience with action, is fundamental to retaining and utilizing  knowledge.  The capital letters in WORKshop is a reminder of what the term is all about.   A large portion of all WORKshop tuition will be for the funding of the installations the students participate on.

WORKshop I - Aquaponics I     January 31-February 1-February 2,   2014

Students will cover the basics of aquaponic theory, it's history, and it's many variations; from backyard bathtub systems to massive warehouse raft installations.   From media beds to NFT, we will decode hydroponic terminology, and explain the dynamic biology of an active recirculating semi-closed ecosystem.  After covering the basics of system design, we'll hit the greenhouse and complete the first phase of Onsen Farm's hybrid aquaponic system.  Students will help chop an IBC tote into a small self contained backyard system, construct a wood and liner media bed, and build a DWC trough and raft.   

We'll wrap up the workshop with a discussion concerning the hurdles to making Aquaponics a truly sustainable technology.  Solving the issues around energy, materials, and sourcing a truly sustainable fish feed is the main focus of the Onsen.  This WORKshop will complete the first phase of our research system, the final goal of which is to have an aquaponics system built almost entirely of repurposed materials, generating it's own electricity, heated with geothermal water, and cooled with spring water, with all nutrition for the fish generated on site.  In a future WORKshop, we'll build our Insectory, which is exactly what it sounds like……

Cost:  $300  Includes 4 meals (two dinners and two lunches - mostly local & organic food featuring greens from our greenhouses!).   We are keeping this to a maximum of 10 persons so space is limited.  Please call 208/420-4230 or email us at to register.  $100  due when you register to reserve your spot with the balance of $200 due 2 weeks before the workshop.  We have rented a couple of homes in the neighborhood for accommodations at $30 per night per person.


WORKshop II - Vermiculture and Insect Allies     March 21, 22, 23,  2014

The second installment of our WORKshop series focuses on critter assisted composting, and raising insects as a food source for livestock and fish.    We'll cover the basics of composting with worms (vermicomposting), from the home to commercial scale, as well as the brewing of biologically incredible worm tea.  Black soldier flies break down food waste as fast as, if not faster, than worms, and their grubs are prime food for chickens and fish, so we'll cover them as well.   Crickets are a staple of pet lizards all over the world, and serve the same role as the above two critters, so we can't leave them out!   Then we'll get out of the classroom and build composting systems for all of them in the Insectory!

The Insectory grew out of our necessity to provide our on site aquaponics and future earthen pond aquaculture systems (WORKshop III) with a truly sustainable food source, and that means generating their feed on site.   Inside of a small dedicated greenhouse we'll build a large top loading worm bin, cricket hutches, and black soldier fly composting pods.  Repurposed materials will be used in all systems. 

Cost:  $300 includes 4 meals (two lunches & two dinners).   Space is limited to 10 people.  Call us at 208/420-4230 or email at to register.  We will be renting a couple of homes in the neighborhood for accommodations.  Cost will be around $30 per night per person.



Earlier Event: November 3
Seed School 2013
Later Event: May 17