Nelson and Pade, Inc.® History and Achievements

Highlights from the past 30 years:


  • December – Awarded and recognized as the ‘Aquaponic Systems Retailer of the Year 2018‘ for the Technology Elite Awards by the U.S. Business News!
  • June – Awarded 2018 WI Sustainable Product of the Year Award by the WI Sustainability Council
  • Crowned: Best Aquaponic Systems Provider— USA
    by the 2018 Clean Energy Awards
  • Crowned: Best Aquaponic Food Production Specialist-Midwest USA
    by the 2018 Clean Energy Awards




  • June 15, 2015 – Announce increased production on all of our patented Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® with ZDEP®
  • April 23-25 – Hosted the Grand Opening of our new, expanded greenhouses facilities and the UWSP-Aquaponics Innovation Center
  • We’ve now had attendees of our Aquaponics Master Class™ from all 50 states and 85 countries, spanning 5 continents
  • Nelson and Pade, Inc.® continues to experience consistant growth and expanding customer base


  • We are finishing construction on a brand new 14,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art aquaponics greenhouse facility at our Montello campus, a part of which will house the new UW-Stevens Point Aquaponics Innovation Center
  • As of mid-2014, we have had attendees from over 60 countries and 49 US states attend our Aquaponics Master Class!
  • Received “Sustainable Product of the Year” Award for our Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® with ZDEP® from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council
  • Granted patent from the USPTO office on the ZDEP® (Zero Discharge/Extra Production) aquaponic system
  • Nominated for Innovative Product of the Year


  • Helped to launch the International Aquaponic Society
  • Expanded our product offerings
  • Had attendees from 4 continents attend our Spring, 2013 Aquaponics Master Class™
  • As of Dec, 2013, we have now had attendees of our Aquaponics Master Class™ from 46 countries and 49 US states
  • Area Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® cover will nearly double by the end of 2013


  • Co-developed the first hybrid University aquaponics course in partnership with UW-Stevens Point
  • Spring, 2012 – Announced new aquaponic systems, options and equipment


  • Increased workshop attendance to nearly 500 people from 23 counties and 48 US states
  • Announced the new ZDEP® aquaponic systems which increases plant production and eliminates waste.
  • Established partnership with UW-Stevens Point to offer University credit to attendees of Nelson and Pade, Inc.® workshops
  • Implemented project with University of Hawaii and Hawaii Dept. of Labor to offer job training and demonstration of Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® in Hawaii
  • Built and shipped Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® to clients in locations including: Trinidad, Mexico, Curacao, Montana, New York, Kansas, Maryland, Idaho, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa and California


  • 2010 – Built a new 5,000 sq ft demonstration greenhouse
  • Moved into larger facility to accommodate growth
  • Taught aquaponics to over 200 people from 28 states and 12 countries in our workshops and extended stay learning programs
  • Shipped 20 complete Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® to customers in North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia
  • Built, shipped and began the installation of the first Living Food Bank® Aquaponic System in Haiti.


  • Designed and installed two large commercial aquaponic facilities in Wisconsin (KP Simply Fresh in Baraboo, Future Farm in Baldwin)
  • Resumed our workshops and training (initially started in California in 1997)
  • Welcomed Dr. James Rakocy to our Board of Advisors.


  • Wrote and published the first comprehensive book on aquaponics, Aquaponic Food Production
  • Began offering complete aquaponic system packages for all applications including commercial, education, home food production and research
  • Installed an aquaponic system at the University of the Virgin Islands.


  • Relocated the business to Wisconsin from Mariposa, California.


  • Began offering custom aquaponic systems.


  • Taught the first aquaponics workshops in Australia.


  • Wrote and produced the first video on aquaponics, Aquaponic Food Production, available in English and Spanish.


  • Planned and assisted in the installation of 1/3 acre aquaponic system in Illinois.


  • Designed and installed a 1/2 acre aquaponic facility in California
  • Wrote and published the booklet Desktop Aquaponics (updated in 2004)
  • Began offering project planning and system design services
  • Continued building and testing various aquaponic systems, research and development.


  • Wrote Aquaponics Curriculum (now used in schools throughout the world); continued aquaponics research.


  • Built numerous controlled environment greenhouse using hydroponics, organic hydroponics and aquaponics throughout the United States.


  • Began publishing the Aquaponics Journal (62 issues published to date)
  • Continued aquaponics research
  • Offered the first aquaponics workshop
  • Wrote and produced the interactive CD-Rom, All About Aquaculture
  • Wrote and published the book set, How to Start and Succeed in the Hydroponics Business (updated in 2000 and 2004).


  • Established website
  • Wrote and produced the interactive CD-Rom, The Encyclopedia of Hydroponic Gardening, wrote and produced the video, Hobby Hydroponics.


  • Operated a variety of aquaponic systems in our California greenhouses and raised largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, koi and fancy goldfish along with a variety of vegetables that were commercially sold.


  • Converted 3,000 sq ft hydroponic greenhouse to aquaponics.


  • Began building aquaponic systems, testing design theories in California greenhouses.


  • Built second controlled environment hydroponic greenhouse.


  • Built 5,000 sq ft hydroponic greenhouse; wrote and produced the video, Commercial Hydroponics.


  • Wrote and produced the first video on hydroponics, “Hydroponics: Set Up, Care and Maintenance”; built first 4-bay hydroponic controlled environment greenhouse in Wisconsin.

How long have you been involved in aquaponics and controlled environment agriculture?

In 1984 we assembled our first hydroponic growing system. That same year, we produced a video on hobby hydroponics and were then contracted by a hydroponic supply company to produce a video on commercial hydroponics. During the production of the video, we interviewed hydroponic growers throughout the US who were growing premium products and selling to local markets. This inspired us to build our first large hydroponic, controlled environment greenhouse in California in 1986. In 1987 we built a second commercial hydroponic greenhouse. We were growing hydroponic tomatoes in these greenhouses and were delivering in excess of 50,000 lbs a year, plus some lettuce, basil, chives and other herbs. We liked the efficiency of hydroponics, but knew that the manufactured and mined fertilizers would someday become scarce and that an organic fertilizer in soilless growing system would be the best of both worlds.

In the late 1980’s we began experimenting with small-scale aquaponic systems to explore the relationship between raising fish and plants in an integrated system. In the early 1990’s we dedicated one of our greenhouses to aquaponics research. We built and designed systems for various applications and we raised largemouth bass, crappies, catfish, fancy goldfish and koi, plus a great variety of vegetables crops in these systems. In 1997 we began publishing the Aquaponics Journal® and started redirecting all of our efforts (publishing, consulting, system design) toward aquaponics. During this time period, we were refining our aquaponic systems, selling aquaponically-grown crops, offering workshops and hands-on training in our intern program.

Since the late 1990’s we have worked diligently to create science-based, highly efficient aquaponic systems.  In the mid 2000’s we relocated our business to Wisconsin, at which time we began offering standardized aquaponic systems and training for all applications.