Today we had one of our free farm tours which we offer on the first Saturday of every month. It was a typical tour with people coming because they are interested in Aquaponics and what we do. Some were brand new to AP like the one gentleman that hadn't heard of it until 3 weeks ago and now has watched every video on YouTube he can find, including ours. I was not surprised that he is now completely enthralled and has also signed up for our next Micro System Training. Then there was the author from Ocala, with two books published about Florida and the latest one actually has a chapter on aquaponics.
The tour began the usual way. I talked about why we became commercial aquaponic farmers and the importance of eating organic and clean foods. We also share our vision to help relocalize our food supply while combatting the centralization and the loss of our food soveringty to corporate ag giants like Monsanto. The response is almost always the same. One only need mention the name Monsanto and it is met with utter disgust. The tour progresses and I soon begin to explain the system and how it works. I love the shock on visitor's faces when I point out our tiny magnetic drive pump that pulls 120 watts and is the only electrical consumption to move water in our system. Seeing is believing, but it is almost to unbelievable to some.
Now that I have covered the system operation, and I am easily an hour into the tour, I talk a bit more about Aquaponics and food safety. I almost always need a drink of water after talking non stop for an hour and coughed a touch as I had a tickle in my throat. I continued to discuss how Aquaponically grown food is the safest way to grow food and that an enclosed Aquaponic system can not harbour the dangerous pathogens that cause e.coli and salmonella. A system that is not impervious could possibly suffer the risk of contamination from a warm blooded mammal introducing a contaminant to the system.
I cleared my throat once again and Tonya asked if I needed some water. I said yes and she slipped a small glass underneath the return pipe from the troughs that pours into the first nursery tank and handed me the glass. Without missing a beat, I said excuse me and drank it down. All but one had watched Tonya fill the glass and now stood there with their mouths hanging open in disbelief. One said, "You just drank the water?!" with enough confused inflection to be both a question and an exclamation at the same time. The gentleman that had only learned of AP weeks ago had not been looking when Tonya filled the glass and was now questioning ernestly, "Where did you just get that from? WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?!!!" "I drank my aquaponic water," I grinned, "want some?"
I have been threatening for months to drink the system water just as friend and mentor, Tim Mann from Friendly Aquaponics does. Today, it transpired perfectly. Maybe it was the impromptu moment that made it so special or maybe because I finally just did it instead of talking about doing it. How better to impress upon people the incredible safety of aquaponic systems and food? Surely it is something they won't soon forget. They come and learn about aquaponics, see our farm, the beautiful abundant growth, the life teaming in the fish tank and watch their host drink the Aquaponic Kool-Aid and I must say; it tasted pretty darn good. However, just in case you are wondering, I feel just fine.