History and Achievements

History

Nelson and Pade was founded in 1985 as a hydroponics (soilless plant production) company, growing and selling fresh vegetables. In the late 80’s, founders, Rebecca Nelson and John Pade, began offering consulting services and publishing books and videos to fill a need for information on soilless farming methods. In the early 90’s the company saw the potential of aquaponic farming, a natural and sustainable method of growing fish and vegetables year-round, and embarked on a path to develop the science of aquaponics into an industry.

Throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Nelson and Pade provided consulting and aquaponic system design services and published the Aquaponics Journal.

In 2004, Nelson and Pade, still a company operated solely by the founders, manufactured their first complete aquaponic system for a client. Following the shipment of that first system, the company saw increasing sales as more and more orders came in for aquaponic systems.

By 2005, the demand for aquaponic systems of all sizes was growing and Nelson and Pade determined that the growth and success of the budding aquaponics industry would require a supplier of quality, complete, standardized aquaponic systems, training and long-term grower support. Nelson and Pade was perfectly poised to fill this need and motivated to do so.

By 2009, the demand was far outpacing the founder’s ability to manufacture in their current location. As people continued to discover aquaponics, the number of people visiting Nelson and Pade’s website, www.aquaponics.com, steadily increased.

The Company founders evaluated the opportunity and made a clear and calculated plan to grow the company. This plan included establishing a company headquarters for manufacturing, advancing the training programs and hiring staff to help the company meet its mission and goals.

In early 2010, Nelson and Pade moved into new facilities and, at that time, had 2 employees besides the founders.

Continued growth brought more expansion to the Nelson and Pade business campus in Montello in 2014, with the additional of additional manufacturing space and a 14,000 sq. ft. greenhouse and training facility.

Growth, development and success has been steady. Currently, Nelson and Pade, Inc.® has 15 employees. Individuals from 110 countries have travelled to the Nelson and Pade business campus to attend training. Nelson and Pade, Inc.’s aquaponic systems are operating in 30 countries.


Milestones

Awarded 2018

2018

  • 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
August Nominated

2017

2016 Awards

2016

Patented Clear Flow Aquaponic

2015

  • 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
Aquaponic Greenhouse

2014

  • 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
International Aquaponic Society

2013

  • 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
University Aquaponics

2012

  • Co-developed the first hybrid University aquaponics course in partnership with UW-Stevens Point
  • Spring, 2012 – Announced new aquaponic systems, options and equipment
Workshop Attendance 2011

2011

  • 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
Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems®

2010

  • 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.
Facilities in Wisconsin

2009

  • 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.
Aquaponic Food Production

2008

  • 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.
Business to Wisconsin

2006-2007

  • Relocated the business to Wisconsin from Mariposa, California.
custom aquaponic systems

2004-2005

  • Began offering custom aquaponic systems.
Workshops in Australia

2004

  • Taught the first aquaponics workshops in Australia.
Aquaponic Food Production

2003

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

2002-2003

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

2000-2001

  • 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.
Aquaponics Curriculum

1999

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

1998-2004

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

1997

  • 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).
Encyclopedia of Hydroponic Gardening

1996

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

1994-2000

  • 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.
Hydroponic Greenhouse

1994

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

1992

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

1989

  • Built second controlled environment hydroponic greenhouse.
Commercial Hydroponics

1987

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

1985

  • 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.

 

Awards, Recognition and Partnerships

The entire Nelson and Pade, Inc.® Team is honored to be recognized by such prestigious organizations and dignitaries.

  • Sustainable Product
    of the Year 3-time winner
    from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, 2014, 2017, 2018
  • Aquaponic Systems
    Retailer of the Year 2018

    for the Technology Elite Awards by the U.S. Business News!
  • 2017 Business Friend of the
    Environment
    from the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
  • Best Aquaponic Systems
    Provider— USA
    by the 2018 Clean Energy Awards
  • Best Aquaponic
    Food Production Specialist-Midwest USA
    by the 2018 Clean Energy Awards
  • Wisconsin Governor’s
    Export Achievement Award
    (top finalist)

Nominated: The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin Nominated: Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year

Recognitions

Presented with Citation By The Legislature by WI State Representative Joan Ballweg and WI State Senator Luther Olsen Presented plaque for participation in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporations Made in Wisconsin program

Professional Relationships
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, PartnerCertified Naturally Grown, Certified, Member, Super Business Ally
Green & Healthy Schools, ProviderFarm to School Network, Outreach Partner
Wisconsin Aquaculture Association, MemberSomething Special from Wisconsin, Member
WEDC’s Made in Wisconsin Program, MemberFood Tank, Member
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