FEB 07, 2017 08:19 AM PST

Aeroponics Farming

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Mostly when we think of farms we generate an image of big fields of tilled earth. These farms all require soil, and can officially be called geoponics. Perhaps you've also heard of hydroponics, where plants are grown in water and sometimes connected to other growing systems like fish breeding to create a closed loop. Well, look out because a new type of farming is making it big: aeroponics - or the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium.

You might be surprised what an old laser tag arena in New Jersey holds: 250 varieties of leafy greens in a massive indoor vertical farm called AeroFarms. Crops are stacked over 30 feet high inside a 30,000 square foot space. AeroFarms uses a misting system to water the roots of their vegetables, allowing them to use 95% less water than a geoponics system. Plants are grown in a reusable cloth fabricated from plastic instead of the soil medium, and no pesticides or herbicides are needed for their growth.

The motive behind such a farm? Minimizing the impact that agriculture has on our climate. Seventy percent of our fresh water contamination comes from agriculture, while 70% of our fresh water usage goes to agriculture. Aeroponics systems might just give agriculture the twist we need to feed our hungry populations while looking out for the planet.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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