As the population grows, increased demands for food, coupled with finite resources, have contributed to concerns about adequate food production. Efforts to address these concerns and still provide the freshest, healthiest produce possible, are incorporating the use of hydro/aeroponics in commercial farming.
Hydro/aeroponics in commercial farming
While it’s difficult to estimate how many commercial farms are employing the use of hydro/aeroponics, the numbers are increasing, and they are growing an impressive amount of produce.
One farm currently receiving significant attention for its work using hydro/aeroponics is AeroFarms, in Newark, New Jersey. Billed as the “world’s largest vertical farm,” AeroFarms has established their operation in an abandoned steel mill. They’ve estimated they can produce two million pounds of leafy greens per year.
Other noteworthy commercial farms using hydro/aeroponics technology include:
- Epcot Center – “The Land” pavilion
- Harvest Urban Farm in Vancouver, BC
- Farmedhere in Bedford Park, Illinois
- Urban Organics in St. Paul, Minnesota
- Vertical Harvest in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Green Spirit Farms in New Buffalo, Michigan
- Alegria Fresh in Irvine, CaliforniaBinghamton Urban Farm in Binghamton, NY
- Aero Development Corp in Gap, PA
- Sky Greens Farm in Singapore
- Green Spirit Farms in Scranton, PA
- NuVege Vertical Farms in Kyoto, Japan
A wide variety of produce grown
While a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and edible/medicinal plants can be grown for commercial production, space constraints continue to limit those that make the most financial sense. The most common crops grown for commercial production are lettuces, salad greens and culinary herbs.
Recent research from the Cornell University Cooperative Extension has shown that hydro/aeroponics is the most efficient method for growing leafy greens. Leafy greens grown using traditional geoponic agriculture can become contaminated with bacteria and soil pathogens. The Cornell research shows that hydro/aeroponics significantly reduce these risks.
To provide a better understanding of which plants can be grown using hydro/aeroponics, here is a partial list of crops that have been grown successfully:
- Basil, all varieties
- Bok choi
- Brussels sprouts
- Culinary herbs, including cilantro, mint, oregano, thyme, dill, rosemary
- Flowers including nasturtium, violas, marigolds, California poppies, lavender
- Lettuces and salad greens
- Medicinal herbs
- Mustard greens
- Ornamental plants
- Sweet and hot peppers
- All tomato varieties
It has been reported that root vegetables and below-the-soil crops are more difficult to grow with hydro/aeroponics. There are groups, however, such as the Ha Noi University of Agriculture who are working to develop seed potato crops.
At Whole Plant Technologies, our patented Grow Tray Systems are ideal for hydro/aeroponics in commercial farming. We design them to produce a fast-growing, high-yield product while saving on production costs. Contact Whole Plant Technologies to find out how you can establish or improve your commercial farming operation.