Blog Post

A healthy retirement plan

Grow your own food for a healthy retirement Retirement can be an incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling time in your life. There's plenty of time to relax, take up new hobbies and enjoy time with the grandkids. But on the other hand, it can bring with it a whole new set of stresses and challenges. How to stay busy, healthy and financially secure are some of the main concerns for people entering retirement.

It’s the perfect time in your life to take up a new hobby that will keep you healthy, keep your grocery bill in check and give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Here’s why we think growing your own fruit and vegies using aquaponics could be the key to a healthy retirement.

What is aquaponics? Aquaponics is a way to grow vegies, berries and seafood in your own backyard in a system that includes a fish tank, a pump and grow beds. You feed the fish, the fish create poo, and the poo feeds your vegies. The incredible thing about growing food using aquaponics is that the roots grow directly in water – there’s no soil required. The water is a nutrient rich environment created by the bi-products of the fish waste, which means that plants grow three times faster and use 90% less water than soil gardens.

leafy greens
leafy greens

Health benefits of growing your own vegies

With the daily routine of work and caring for others behind you, it’s the perfect time in your life to introduce some beneficial new habits and say goodbye to some of those old unhealthy ones. One of the most effective ways to increase your long term health is - you guessed it - eating more of those fruit and vegies, especially ‘superfoods’ like kale, berries and broccoli and leafy greens. Heaping more vegies on your plate helps to keep your weight under control, provides plenty of natural fibre and they're rich in disease fighting properties.

An added bonus is that if you decide to use edible fish species, you get to eat fresh seafood that you've raised yourself. There's nothing that tastes quite as fresh as a fresh fish straight from the tank.

Just imagine stepping outside and taking your pick of delicious herbs, vegies and seafood that are bursting at the seams with nutrients and vitality! You’ll be able to get creative in the kitchen trying out new recipes and everything will taste just that much better knowing you’ve grown it yourself.

Money in your pocket In an ideal world, nutritionists recommend eating 400 – 800g of fresh fruit and vegetables every day for optimal health, but with today’s spiralling grocery costs, growing your own food is a much more sensible approach, especially during retirement when money can be tight.

With the money you save on your weekly shopping bill, our Flogardens aquaponics systems pay for themelves within the first year. With Aquaponics, plants growing three times faster than a regular vegie patch, you’ll never need to shop in the grocery aisle again!

You don’t need a large garden – or a garden at all for that matter! Gone are the days when retirees spend their remaining years in their family home with a huge backyard. These days, many choose to downsize and opt for low maintenance properties. Which is great, but sometimes that doesn't leave enough space to get a vegie garden going.

Not to worry, because small gardens aren’t a problem with a Flogarden aquaponics system. They’re designed to be compact and because the plants grow directly in water, there’s no need for soil, so you can grow enough vegies, herbs and berries to feed two people in a space not much bigger than 1.5m x 1.5m.

The best news? No soil means no back-breaking weeding!

A new hobby for better mental health Studies show that introducing a new hobby or skill can increase your cognitive function, improve your memory and increase your sense of wellbeing.

The grandkids will love it Aquaponics really is something the whole family will enjoy. The kids just love feeding the fish, and everyone will be blown away by the fabulous meals you throw together with your fresh home grown produce. You might even get the kids to eat their greens!

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Living with a passionate man


Sounds amazing hey…like every girls dream. But what if the man you live with is passionate about his vision to change the world? “Oh ….” you say. When you read the title of this blog you thought "wow to live with a man whose passion and love for me overflows from him like a deep well of desire. That would be a dream come true"... right? Sorry guys that is not the case in my household. Add 3 little girls under 6 to the equation and passionate love goes on an extended holiday, loses its passport and decides to pitch its tent on the tropical island of your dreams. That sounds awful you say? Well to be honest, marriage with kids does look a little different to how I envisaged it as a dreamy teenager.

When I was single in my late twenties I was addicted to Tarot readings, Osho’s Zen tarot to be specific. Some mornings I’d ask the tarot whether to have porridge or a smoothie for brekkie. More often than not the card The Dream would pop up. The card’s full description is below if you relate, otherwise the basic jist of it is that no prince charming is going to come save us and make us happy. That job is all ours.

[Some enchanted evening you're going to meet your soul mate, the perfect person who will meet all your needs and fulfill all your dreams. Right? Wrong! This fantasy that songwriters and poets are so fond of perpetuating has its roots in memories of the womb, where we were so secure and "at one" with our mothers; it's no wonder we have hankered to return to that place all our lives. But, to put it quite brutally, it is a childish dream. And it's amazing we hang on to it so stubbornly in the face of reality. Nobody, whether it's your current mate or some dreamed-of partner in the future, has any obligation to deliver your happiness on a platter--nor could they even if they wanted to. Real love comes not from trying to solve our neediness by depending on another, but by developing our own inner richness and maturity. Then we have so much love to give that we naturally draw lovers towards us.]

So I guess it was foretold that I would meet a man whose passionate vision extended past my worldly charms. So on an every day level living with a passionate man (like mine) looks a little like this. He gets up at 6am (its still dark at the moment). He gets the baby and throws her in bed with me so we can both squeeze a few more precious minutes of sleep out of the morning. He throws down some breakfast and is out the door not long after the big girls (5 and 6) get up and we emerge from our morning snooze snuggles. He spends the day running his Landscaping business. He comes home around 5/5:30 for dinner and to help get the girls wrangled into bed. Then just as I’m ready for a cosy couch snuggle and a shared episode of Game of Thrones, he announces he’s off to his workshop to keep working on his prototype. You see we tried the thing where he gave up his day job and spent a year pursuing his passion but sadly we nearly went broke. So now he squeezes it in at night and on weekends.

So even though he is exhausted he pushes on because he has a vision and a dream that is so close he can almost touch it. I’ll be honest, more often that not when he heads off and I’m left alone on the couch again after child-wrangling all day. I’m pissed off and I’m feeling kind of rejected. Where is my prince charming and why can’t he just have a normal day job?

Lucky for me I have my own passion. So sometimes I get off the couch and start choreographing a new dance or listening to inspiring music. I give thanks for these moments of time when I can focus on what makes me happy and how I can use it to help other people find their happiness. But also to remember who I am outside of this crazy motherhood ride.

Which brings me back to Osho Zen Tarot and the other card that seems to pop up for me – Friendliness.

[The branches of these two flowering trees are intertwined, and their fallen petals blend together on the ground in their beautiful colors. It is as if heaven and earth are bridged by love. But they stand individually, each rooted in the soil in their own connection with the earth. In this way they represent the essence of true friends, mature, easy with each other, natural. There is no urgency about their connection, no neediness, no desire to change the other into something else. This card indicates a readiness to enter this quality of friendliness. In the passage, you may notice that you are no longer interested in all kinds of dramas and romances that other people are engaged in. It is not a loss. It is the birth of a higher, more loving quality born of the fullness of experience. It is the birth of a love that is truly unconditional, without expectations or demands.]

So there we are, my passionate man and me standing strong in our roots but allowing our branches and leaves to mingle and intertwine in our friendship. I’m helping him now two days a week with his business and planning a crowd funding campaign for later in the year and to be honest, I can’t count the amount of times he’s pressed play on my iPod at my gigs.

So speaking of passion, there I was just the other day in a marketing meeting and someone asked him to tell his story. Although I have heard it a million times, on this day it finally sunk it. The next level of his vision was revealed to me. It’s about restoring the natural order of things bringing ecosystems back into our lives and specifically into our backyards. He said when we repopulate our gardens with natives and food gardens the animals come back (all sorts of species of birds, insects and lizards). Aquaponics is an easy way to do this because it is in itself an ecosystem.

He also said that children have an innate sense about their environment and providing them with this reconnection is how he sees we will change the world. In the way we think, eat and act towards one another. I can see it in my kids, who are all completely different; when they are in the garden they are connected to all of it, the plants, animals, insects, each other and us. Hearing Adam speak about his dream I think I fell in love with him just a little bit more and if he pulls this off, it might just make all those nights home alone worth it.

A new way to grow


There’s a food revolution going on – not just here in the sustainable heartland of Byron Bay – but right across Australia. We are re-thinking the way we eat, where our food comes from and the way its grown. More than ever before, people are concerned with  eating clean, organic, locally sourced food.  Who wants to feed their families fruit and vegies that are full of harmful pesticides that have been lying around in a refrigerated warehouse for weeks, especially when you consider that large scale commercial crops waste precious resources and use chemicals to grow their food. It’s mind blowing to think that it takes 25,000 litres of water to grow a day’s food for a family of four - that's a crazy amount of resources, and with our growing population it's easy to see that it's not going to be sustainable for too much longer.

It’s time to take a more innovative approach to the way we eat, and the way we grow our food.... that’s where aquaponics comes in.

What we love about aquaponics is that it’s a completely self-sustainable ecosystem that works in perfect equilibrium with nature to produce beautiful, nourishing food - in the comfort of your own backyard. It only uses a fraction of the water that soil grown produce requires and the food it produces is nutrient rich and chemical free.

So, how does aquaponics work?

Essentially, aquaponics is a system for growing seafood and plants together. Plants grow directly in water, eliminating the need for soil. The waste from the fish (that’s a nice way of saying fish poo) gets turned into nutrients to feed the plants. Then the plants grow directly in the nutrient-rich water supply, giving you fast-growing, healthy vegetables, herbs and berries. Because they're growing in such a nutrient rich environment they grow up to three times faster than plants grown in soil. You would think that you'd need a lot of water to grow plants in a tank, right? Actually, it's quite the oppposite -  aquaponics uses up to 90% less water than soil- grown crops. All you need is sunshine and fish to produce your food – how amazing is that?

Our Aquaponics dream

Aquaponics is taking off around the world, and our dream here at Flogardens is to see Australians embrace this new and innovative way to grow their food.  We want everybody to be able  to enjoy this magical way  to grow food. You don’t need to be a handyman or have a green thumb.

Be a part of our food revolution

The future of food is almost here… If you want to grow fresh, healthy produce and seafood in your own backyard without needing soil, irrigation or a green thumb, please join us in our food revolution.


How I got my introverted child to shine


The First Child

I think its true what they say about the first-born child…they receive so much of your undivided attention. Sometimes this attention manifests in weird and wonderful ways. Of course I see this only in hindsight. Our number three often just gets thrown food when she squawks at us and has developed a strong sense of self and security already from such an early age.

Priya, our oldest daughter (now 6) is super shy and introverted. Her preschool teacher described her to me once. I was expressing some concern about her lack of social skills and so she explained her personality like this 'she is cultivating such a rich inner world that she actually has little concern for what’s going on around her and outside of her'.

So when I mentioned to her about the upcoming talent search for ABC’s Dirt Girl series I was totally surprised that she was keen. We talked about what it would entail and suggested she make her video about aquaponics. Her response was ‘But I don’t know anything about aquaponics’…so not true. Then she remembered that last year she had written a mini essay about aquaponics and set about trying to find it.

aquaponics seedlings
aquaponics seedlings

Facing Fear

She couldn’t find it and that’s when she decided she was too scared to do it. Its moments like this that I hesitate. What is the right thing to do? I was brought up in a culture and age where we push through our fears, feelings and energy levels. To a point where I know so many people who have suffered from adrenal burn out. So at what point do we decided to trust our intuition and say no to things that don’t support us?

Facing this internal dilemma, I tried to find the balance. We talked about the possibility that if we are afraid to do something its like a window of opportunity opens and if we just jump through it, anything is possible. I explained that I often feel nervous before a big show but I use the nerves to fuel my performance and that there is a big difference between that type of nervous fear and the scared feeling you get when you are in a dangerous situation. This is the type of fear we don’t ignore.

I tried to explain to her that it might take a lifetime of practise to tune into which type of fear she was experiencing but never the less, keep trusting and strengthening her intuition. She decided after the pep talk she would give it a try and see how it went.

Aquaponics Girl

In absolute amazement I watched my shy and introverted girl come out of her shell. In front of the camera she blossomed. She even explained some things about aquaponics that I didn’t even know. Of course I had to cut most of it out cause its was supposed to be a 30 sec clip. I’m so proud of her. She was absolutely buzzing with excitement when we finished and told me I was right about jumping through the window of fear!

So here she is my little Aquaponics Girl!

Five reasons to love Flogardens

aquaponics system

  Create an instant vegie garden in your backyard with a Flogardens Aquaponics system.

So what is Aquaponics, anyway?

Good question. Even though it’s been used for centuries by traditional cultures around the world, the concept of growing vegies using only fish, water and the sun is still a fairly new concept for most Australians.

Aquaponics is a system that includes a fish tank and a grow bed.

All you need to is feed the fish, the fish create poo, and the poo feeds your vegies. It’s that simple!

5 reasons we love Flogardens

  1. You don’t need a green thumb

The plants grow directly in water, so there’s no need to worry about soil quality, weather conditions, compost, fertilizers or weeds. All you need to do is plug it in, feed your fish and they’ll do the rest of the work for you

  1. Grow beautiful, healthy fruit and vegies without the effort

Herbs, greens, strawberries, tomatoes, celery, eggplants all grow beautifully with our Flogardens aquaponics system. Imagine serving up delicious meals every day made with vegies from your own backyard.

  1. It uses 90% less water than a normal veggie garden

Save the planet while you feed your family!

  1. Fruit and vegies grow 3 times faster than a normal vegetable garden

Because your food is growing in a perfect ecosystem with nutrients produced by your fish, your vegies grow faster, stronger and healthier than a regular vegie patch.

  1. You can even eat the fish!

Serve up beautiful, sustainable seafood that you’ve harvested yourself in your Flogardens aquaponics system.

Growing food for his family: An Ode to a Husband and Visionary.

Growing food for his family: An Ode to a Husband and Visionary.

This morning I rocked up to my Mums and Bubs exercise class with a bucket full of fresh lettuces to share. All excess from our garden. In the car on the way, my girls (4 & 5) were munching on lettuce leaves and talking about which part of the lettuce they love best. My heart swelled with pride for my kids and gratitude for my husband who grows food for his family.