HYDRO- + (GEO)PONICS] = [Water + The Science of Agriculture]
Literal Translation: Putting Water to Work.
While modern hydroponics has been used since the mid 1800’s it’s roots go back much further.
To put it simply, hydroponics is the art of growing plants without soil. Our plants are grown in nutrient-infused water and kept in a precise, ideal growing environment that speeds plant growth, improves plant quality, prioritizes food safety, and heightens food flavor.
Hydroponics has been used in commercial agriculture for decades. More recently it has caught the attention of hobbyists, urban farmers, agriculturalists, and food science professionals as an excellent method of food production for many reasons:
- No soil is required
- Little to no agricultural runoff
- Stable, high yields of produce, more productivity per square foot than traditional methods
- Easy control of nutrition levels, pH, irrigation times, lighting, making production uniform, fast and consistent
- Easy harvesting procedures
- Year-round crop production with Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), the practice of growing food in a controlled environment (indoor/greenhouse)
- No weather-related crop failures (indoor/greenhouse)
- Substantially less water usage compared to open field farming
- More control of food safety and security
- Animal feed and compost can be created from post-harvest plant material
- Allowance for ecosystem restoration—as farms move to urban centers they move out of the open field, allowing for that land to naturally restore itself over time
- There are a few cons to hydroponic farming, many of which Boswyck Farms is working to address and/or minimize:
Negative consumer perception—many people do not understand hydroponics and therefore it is feared by some as being ‘franken-food’, unnatural, or less sustainable
- It is extremely difficult to get organically certified and impossible to become naturally-grown certified
- Disposal of rockwool and other grow medium can be a challenge
- Zoning laws and policy for urban farming is unclear
- Government incentives for urban farming are unclear, making usable rooftop space hard to access because building owners are not incentivized
- Greater initial capital investment
- Can require access to electricity
- Currently does not meet requirements for organic certification in all states, countries, nations, etc.
- Fewer educational resources available specific to hydroponics