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Update from MSF Director Phil Reasons

We all go through difficult times. When we make it through, it is important to look back and learn from our experience. It is also important to look ahead and see how we can grow from the obstacles we have conquered.

Last year was a year of achievements for the staff here at Morning Star Fishermen. We are excited about our accomplishments with our new training center in Kpalime, our new solar powered aquaponics system in Bodje West Africa and many many others. While experiencing these achievements we have also encountered many obstacles that we have had to overcome. The obstacles have made us smarter, stronger and more prepared to deal with the challenges of life. They have prepared us to better equip our students that we will have this year and the years to come. I hope your experience of 2013 was one of accomplishments, challenges and obstacles and hopefully you were able to overcome most of the obstacles to accomplish your purpose in life. Appreciating our achievements, reminds us of our potential. Every new day offers opportunities to actualize our potential. It is up to us to make the most of each new day.

I am looking forward to 2014 and the yet unknown accomplishments and obstacles that I will face. My prayer is that your struggles through 2013 will equip you for greater accomplishments in 2014. Thank you for partnering with us.


in the

Morning Star’s 1st graduate in Togo, Africa Asong Lovelyne is a wonderful inspiration to us here at Morning Star Fishermen. She is a graduate of the Fisheries School in Cameroon, holding a diploma in Aquaculture and a US Embassy scholarship winner to study Aquaculture at Gadsden State Community College in Alabama. Her desire to learn about cost effective, high food production systems for her home country - would lead her on a journey of faith and achieving her dreams of becoming a “Fish Farmer”. Asong's journey began over 2 years ago when she graduated from the Fisheries School in Cameroon. In 2011, she was awarded an Exchange Scholarship from the US Embassy in Cameroon to study abroad for one year. It was also at this time that she passed her exam with the Cameroon Public Service under the Dept. of Fisheries and she was faced with a very difficult decision – further her education or accept a position in her field of education. Following her faith – she decided to accept the scholarship and traveled to the United States to further her education. It was during her studies at Gadsden State Community College that she became aware of MSF. Unable to extend her student visa and study at MSF in Florida, Asong returned to Africa to receive her formal aquaponics education at MSF’s new Training Center in West Africa “God always has better plans for us.” MSF introduced Asong to Dr. Philip Ndum, a Florida based Cameroonian Medical Doctor, who was looking for someone to help set-up an aquapnoic system in Cameroon. On December 21st of 2013, Asong traveled back to Cameroon from her time of training in Togo and on January 3rd began her job as Project Manager at the Cameroon Aquaponics Facility. “While faced with challenges God always gives me the strength. Growing up I always wanted to be a fish farmer and through MSF and Dr. Philip's encouragement – my dream has come true in my career.”

Switching out standard incandescent light bulbs for an energy-saving alternative is an easy way to save money and help the environment. Both compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will lower electricity bills, require fewer bulb replacements and reduce carbon emissions. With every energy efficient option though, it is always best to weigh the pros and cons to determine the best choice.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Pros •

LEDs last up to 50,000 hours, which is eight times longer than CFLs.

They contain no hazardous materials.

The bulbs create less heat during use, which can lead to lower cooling costs.

Over the course of its lifespan, one LED will prevent approximately a half ton of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.

The DOE estimates that lighting accounts for 20% of electricity use in the average home. LEDs can decrease that to amount to 5%, which can result in huge savings in individual energy bills.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) Pros •

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), CFLs use 75% less energy, produce 75% less heat and last up to ten times longer than the average incandescent bulb.

They save users more than $40 in electricity costs over the span of the light bulb's lifetime (two to three years).

Bulbs are available at most retailers, including supermarkets and drug stores.

They are relatively inexpensive, averaging around $4.00 a bulb for commercial brands and even less for generic store brands.

One bulb can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by hundreds of pounds.

Cons •

LE Ds ar e mo re expensive, with bulbs averaging from $10 to $30. At the present time, they are not widely sold, making it more difficult to find replacements. While there are downsides to both alternatives, if used properly they are still a major improvement over incandescent bulbs.

LEDs may cost more, but those who can afford them will find that the option is actually cheaper in the long run. Most LEDs will last up to 15 years, but when they’ve expired they can go with the regular garbage or be recycled Article brought to you by:

Cons •

In a recent five-year study by the Program for the Evaluation and Analysis of Residential Lighting (PEARL), data showed that some CFLs dimmed over a short period of time.

CFLs contain about 4 to 5 mg of toxic mercury, which can be harmful to humans and the environment if bulbs are not disposed of properly.

Depending on the type of bulb, CFLs require a warm-up period between one minute to three minutes before they achieve full brightness.

Biochar an ancient technology, that is new again. To fully explain what biochar is, we would need to return to the ancient Amazon basin, circa 450 a.d. It was here that indigenous peoples practiced a type of slash and char agriculture; basically, they would roast wood and leafy greens in “smothered” fires that created charcoal instead of ash. This charcoal was then buried in the fields where the crops were grown. The soil that was created from this system has become known as Terra Preta – meaning black soil. Terra Preta soil is 300% more productive than the very best modern efforts without the use of any chemical fertilizers or huge equipment. When gardeners add biochar to garden soil, we are, in effect attempting to follow in the footSoil comparison with and without Terra Preta or biochar steps of the originators of Terra Preta. “Biochar” is a new word created in 2008 to identify charcoal made to put in soil; thus creating a new age of Terra Preta. Biochar is fine-grained charcoal, high in stable organic carbon, suited to put in soil. Biochar is not a fertilizer, nor a nutrient. Rather, biochar delivers other essential services to soil, cells and plants. The three most important Biochars benefits to soil are: 1. Biochar micropores are a super sponge to soak up water, then very slowly release it back into soil. Thus, biochar keeps soil wetter longer. Biochar expands any soil’s water cycle capacity. 2. Biochar attracts and holds atoms with electric charge: ions. We know charcoal has strong adsorption potential to pull “pollutant” ions out of water. But in soil, ions are “nutrients.” Biochar adsorbs nutrients to capture their electric charges. Soil with any carbon—especially biochar—has huge capacity to store electric charge, thus is prepared to power plant growth. 3. Biochar is a habitat for microbes. With water, nutrients and empty space, microbes move in. Fungi, bacteria and all their buddies by the billions. We don’t eat our houses, and microbes don’t eat biochar. They live in it. Biochar is super-stable for 1500+ years, so microbes build symbiotic communities with complex infrastructures. Thus, biochar allows soil to become fully alive with these least of all life forms. Like coral reefs in the sea, a similar “soil reef” effect on land—blossoming the Soil Food Web.

I would like to introduce you to Helga Tan-Fellow. Helga is a 2013 Alumni of Morning Star Fishermen. Helga is now participating in the greening of the First Coast by cultivating actual greens — and employing a team of fish as her unofficial sharecroppers. Six months ago, Helga was inspired to establish GYO Greens, an aquaponic farm and educational center, in Palm Valley Florida because of her passion for promoting environmentally sustainable practices. “I am a big fan of environmental practices, and I love gardening and education, so this seemed like a good fit,” she said. Helga, a former engineer in medical device manufacturing who’s spent time as a volunteer in London at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, has a simple mission for GYO Greens: Grow fresh, natural organic vegetables while educating the community about aquaponics farming. Students from Ponte Vedra High School, Landrum and Bolles have visited her farm to learn about the process. GYO Greens has been in operation for six months. The farm is what Helga refers to as a “young system,” growing a lot of greens. As the system matures, staff will begin growing tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and other crops. For now, they are focusing on the winter-hardy crops including arugula, Swiss chard, spinach and herbs such as cilantro and sage. They also grow onions and edible flowers. If you would like to follow Helga you can find her at or

“Last year this time, we had an overgrown acre of weeds and anthills. One year later, 147 Canal Blvd has been transformed into a vibrant Aquaponics Farm full of fish and greens. GYOGREENS sprung to life largely due to the efforts of Morning Star Fishermen.”





Original recipe makes 2 large burritos

3 ripe bananas

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup dates, pitted and chopped

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Black Bean Burritos Banana Cookies

2 (10 inch) flour tortillas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers

3 ounces cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions: 1. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven heated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. 2. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos in skillet, cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour beans into skillet, cook 3 minutes stirring. 3. Cut cream cheese into cubes and add to skillet with salt. Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir cilantro into mixture. 4. Spoon mixture evenly down center of warmed tortilla

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in oats, dates, oil, and vanilla. Mix well, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. 3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown. “These cookies are my favorite healthy treat! I substitute the oil for applesauce and add nuts, cinnamon, cranberries and raisins. I am not a big fan of dates so I leave them out. I have made these at least 10 times already using all different sorts of dried fruit combinations. They are even good with dried blueberries.”

Both recipes brought to you by:

RETHINK REDUCE REUSE Recycle The best place to start making a difference is right in your own home. Learn how you can rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle materials to decrease household waste! Tips below will help you get started.

In the Lawn and Garden

In the HOME

• Feed your soil with compost; make compost at home, or buy it in bags or bulk. Compost helps sandy soils hold nutrients and water, loosens clay soils, and feeds the organisms that are beneficial to soil.

• Reduce food waste by using up the food you already bought and have in the house instead of buying more. You already paid for it - so use it!

• Mow higher and leave the clippings. Modern mulching lawn mowers make "grasscycling" even easier. Homeowners can reduce their mowing time by 30 to 40 percent by not having to bag clippings.

• Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.

• Choose the right plant for the right place. Select plants that grow well in your area of the country and fit the amount of sun, type of soil and water available in your yard. • Give plants a good start. Prepare the soil by mixing one to three inches of compost into soil in planting beds. • Water deeply, but infrequently. Most plants do best if the soil is allowed to partially dry out between waterings.

• Reuse items around the house such as rags and wipes, empty jars and mugs, party decorations, and gift wrap. • Buy products in concentrate, bulk, and in refillable containers. They reduce packaging waste and can save you money! • Return used car tires to retailers or wholesalers that recycle or retread them. Tires are banned from most landfills, and illegally dumped tires become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.

Article brought to you by:

Our Mission Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach a man to raise fish and grow vegetables and the whole community eats for a lifetime.

Contact Us

About Morning Star Fishermen Ways To Support

Financial Donation • Sponsor a Student • Adopt a Tank • Help Support One of Our 3 Offsite Facilities • And Many More! Keep Us in Your Prayers

Become a Volunteer or Intern

Take a Class

Become a Friend of MSF by Joining our Mailing List

(352) 523.2722

Address to MSF 33336 Old Saint Joe Road Dade City, Florida 33525

Morning Star Fishermen Winter 2014 Magazine  
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