In light of the recent conversation surrounding worms in an aquaponic system and the potential of the introduction of contaminants, I had a discussion with Jim Rakocy about it. After having visited my farm a couple weeks ago and meeting my dogs, horses and cats, Jim commented that in order to be absolutely Biosecure, that before entering the greenhouse we should wash hands and maybe even consider putting on coveralls in the greenhouse and when working around the plants and system.
The thinking behind this is that we all know that dogs for instance like to roll in certain things and what if theoretically, the dog rolled in some nasty e.coli laden poo, you pet the dog and presto, you just now transferred e.coli to your system. Probably altogether possible and not too outlandish, but how diligent should we be with our systems to insure nothing can get in? Really only enclosed systems can be that secure. One could never secure an open exposed system with squirrels, possum and other rodents possibly and most likely visiting at night. Ultimately it seems that enclosed AP systems can absolutely boast being the safest way to grow food as it can control sources of outside contaminants. How does this compare to outside systems or conventionally grown produce. Is our concern about e.coli in our systems perhaps a little too drastic? Food has been grown for centuries in the dirt with all kinds of visitors and potential carriers exposing it to risks, yet when we hear of an outbreak, the point of contamination is almost always a human related failure at the processing level.
What would be the best potting material, in light of this discussion? And then the transfer process from seeding plant to the bed..
You just have to do your best to seal off your production and processing area, and if you're commercial, BUY LIABILITY INSURANCE.
Growing up on a vegetable farm I saw all kinds of creatures frequenting our fields, including birds flying overhead. Try to stop them! We suffered more from the chemicals we used than from any natural contamination.( If I'm not careful I'll get on my soapbox again). The food that we harvest from our growbeds and rafts is the cleanest I've ever experienced in a lifetime of farming. It tastes better and we are healthier. Isn't that the bottom line?