Introduction to Sustainable Hydroponics

SARE Grant Report

Hydroponic crops can be a sustainable alternative for some farmers because they have year–round production, use fewer resources, have higher yields per area, have lower environmental risks, are well-suited for urban agriculture, and can be profitable. 

"With many growers looking at water shortages and limited land availability, the need to grow hydroponically will only keep growing," said University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist Donna Aufdenberg. "Already vertical farming is gaining ground in urban areas."

Aufdenberg says teaching hydroponics in schools is important since it can demonstrate a more sustainable and higher-yielding way to grow horticulture crops than traditional methods. She received SARE support to work with youth educators and youth in Missouri to explore hydroponic farming as a viable career path. She developed a set of resources for educators in conjunction with the project.

Aaron Varwig of Heem Produce in Hillsboro, Missouri operates a greenhouse with a floating raft system for lettuce and a Dutch bucket system for tomatoes. In this video, he discusses his hydroponic farm with Aufdenberg.

Aaron Varwig of Heem Produce in Hillsboro, Missouri

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