Hydroponic farms use less land, water to grow vegetables

Greenhouses allow year-round growing and protection from freezes and extreme rainfall.

Image result for palm beach post: Hydroponic farms use less land, water to grow vegetablesGreenhouse Farms hydroponic greenhouse occupies nearly 3 acres. It expects to yield 750,000 pounds of premium leaf green produce through the year.

Growing lettuce and other leafy greens indoors is gaining traction nationwide, as such big players as New Jersey-based Aero Farms and Bowery, are producing huge quantities in giant warehouses fueled by millions of dollars in investment.

The push comes as farmland becomes increasingly expensive and in short supply, and consumers demand locally grown produce that’s fresher because it hasn’t been transported hundreds of miles

In Palm Beach County two new hydroponic farms—Green Life Farms and Patagonia Green Leaf— are being launched in greenhouses off U.S. 441 west of the Lake Worth Beach/Boynton Beach area. Hydroponic farming uses no soil. Instead, crops are grown in perlite, coconut fiber or nutrient-rich water in a controlled and enclosed environment.

Art Kirstein, agricultural economic development coordinator with the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service, said that hydroponic farming offers advantages such as year-round growing, increased capacity on a smaller amount of land and protection from freezes and weather events such as extreme rainfall.

Green Life Farms harvested its first crop of baby arugula, baby romaine and baby spinach in mid-July. Its greenhouse occupies nearly 3 acres and will yield approximately 750,000 pounds of premium leaf green produce throughout the year, said Mike Ferree, vice president.

The greens are grown, harvested and packaged onsite, then picked up or shipped directly from the farm. They are also GMO and pesticide-free. MORE

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