Sure hydroponics sounds hi-tech, but there’s evidence of this growing method dating back to Ancient China. With hydroponics, edible plants can be grown indoors and without soil. In some cases, gravel and nutrient water are used. For instance, the U.S. Army successfully used it to grow crops on barren Pacific Islands in 1943, and in recent decades NASA has conducted hydroponics research using LED lighting mimicking the Martian environment to grow plants. In 2007, a farm in Willcox, Ariz., produced more than 200 million pounds of hydroponically-grown tomatoes.
New vendors Kimberly and Michael Youngblood of Vertical Herban Greens (VHG) have perfected hydroponics with the aim of also creating sustainable products with less carbon footprint.
Their goal is to get it from farm to market in one day, eliminating the need for long haul shipping where produce travels 1,500 miles and takes up to two weeks to reach grocery stores. The end result is a fresher product that can be grown anytime of the year.
VHG uses a vertical growing system in a 40-foot refrigerated shipping container. No pesticides or herbicides are ever used. Its Freight Farm Greenery technology features specialized humidity controls, LED lighting and trickle down water irrigation. VHG’s produce line includes lettuce varieties: bibb, butterhead, crisp, romaine, leafy green and red lettuce. Its greens include kale and Swiss chard. The Youngbloods also grow herbs like genovese basil and offer microgreen varieties in broccoli, sunflower, radish, pea, arugula, leek, kale and fava bean. Pick up a bag and taste it for yourself.