With all the commentary lately about food safety and such with aquaponics, Perhaps we need a thread that will let us work out our priorities.
What tests/studies should we do first?
Perhaps even more important, what methods, criteria, etc whatever do we need to make sure are covered by these studies?
here is the web site that gives you the latest info on GMO's and what is happening. They give you petition's to sign.
My suggestion for what to monitor is how much water and energy your system uses. This will begin answering the question of sustainability and get past aquaponics vague "90% less water use than soil crops" arguments, which seem too lofty when I've presented it to others. If we can separately meter our aquaponics systems, including all water used for rinsing, cleaning, etc., we will be much better able to argue that aquaponics is a great strategy moving forward in times of drought and resource scarcity.
The same can be said for measuring energy (electricity mainly) but this is harder to compare when farming practices are so different. Either way, when we start to account for all the diesel use with tractors, massive pumps for groundwater, and transportation of crops across the country, all of a sudden, aquaponics energy use would seem even smaller. But as the thread discusses, we need to measure it first!
This is a great thread!
Data is key - also a database that can collect and analyze the information from all over the country is important.
If an association is able to collect the information about all types of analysis -- pathogens, healthy micro organisms, audits etc. from water, environmental, soil (media), etc-- they will be able to get a macro view of issues and opportunities. More importantly you all will be able to tell a successful story with data to back it.