Tag Archives: Port Orchard

Earth Day is defined by the human spirit

To me, Earth Day has always meant two things: education and action. Of course, I would never object to the entertainment that accompanies many Earth Day events, because learning and good deeds ought to involve fun and laughter.

For years, my wife Sue and I drove over to Sequim on the Saturday after Earth Day to help clean up Dungeness Spit, which happens to be the place she and I went on our first date many years ago. We stopped going for health reasons but hope to get started again.

Tracyton resident Don Larson has organized the Sinclair Inlet Cleanup twice each year for the past 21 years. Now Don and his fellow organizer John Denis are a couple of guys who truly understand the Earth Day spirit and what it means to give back to your community.

Don told me this week that he was impressed with the crew that showed up at Saturday’s cleanup. He was particularly inspired by Jim Anderson, a 66-year-old Bremerton resident who regularly picks up trash along the Bremerton boardwalk as he moves along in an electric wheelchair, accompanied by his guide dog Raffle.

“He’s a phenomenal guy,” Larson said. “He has these hand-grabber picker-ups. He and his wife Jackie clean up periodically all year long as he moves around the waterfront.

“With Jim and Jackie, the human spirit really comes out. You hear about all the bad stuff in the world, then you meet a person like that who gets out and helps the community. It just makes you feel good.”

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Port Orchard couple grows trout with aquaponics

One might be tempted to say that a Port Orchard couple, Rene and Linda LaMarche, are breaking new ground by growing trout instead of tilapia in their backyard aquaponic system. But the truth is they’re not using the ground or any type of soil at all.

Rene LaMarche shows off the root system of plants growing in his aquaponic garden at his Port Orchard home.
Kitsap Sun photo by Meegan M. Reid

Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (in this case growing fish) and hydroponics (growing crops in water). The system is set up so that leafy green vegetables thrive from the waste excreted by fish, which are cultured for optimal growth. So you end up with a full-meal deal.

Reporter Chris Henry wrote about the LaMarche enterprise in a story in Friday’s Kitsap Sun. The whole thing sounds impressive, and I think the buying public will be more interested in trout than tilapia — not to mention the fact that trout are native to the Northwest and fit in better with our climate. As with any enterprise, the key will be to balance the costs, so that you can sell your produce for a profit.

Chris Henry likens Rene LaMarche to the “Johnny Appleseed” of aquaponic gardening. LaMarche envisions lots and lots of people getting involved in growing their own.

“We have aspirations of getting Kitsap County back on the map as an agricultural center,” Rene told Chris. “We’ve got a lot of expectations, not only for growing vegetables for a living, but also teaching people so they can eat healthier and live healthier.”
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