We believe that the future lies in locally grown and sold produce, limiting the “road miles” applied to today’s food supplies. Whilst export opportunities will occur, the main development will be that smaller niche, locally based growers will sell to supermarkets, farmers markets and wholesale operations as well as the consumer direct. This method of growing our food is a more sustainable model than those currently practised and allows for far more flexibility as there is the opportunity to grow more in a specific place and achieve faster harvests. It also means that growers and farmers are able to adapt to the current pressures being put forward by communities far and wide.
Today’s consumer has become increasingly aware of health and environmental issues, even water consumption and availability – these are all drivers for the further development of hydroponic growing techniques.
We firmly support all initiatives to reduce unnecessary energy consumption in the project we are involved with. Where possible, we will assist in lowering a grower’s dependence upon fossil fuels. The use of energy efficient glass or plastic structures, energy curtains, heat sinks, correct design, location and layout, the correct use of ventilation and other initiatives can all assist in making the project successful and sustainable.
The use of bio-fuels and other alternative sources of power such as, micro-turbines can all assist in making the commercial hydroponics industry a viable, long term one.
The importance of water conservation is becoming a key issue and by using hydroponic methods of which some are recirculating, means there is a decrease in water usage.
The realisation about the problem of carbon emissions is making people look at ways to cut this with the introduction of “green” buildings helping to try and counteract the effect of this in urban areas.
Both the synthetic pharmaceutical markets and nutraceuticals (foods that are beneficial to our health) are expected to maintain growth. A number of these foods require plant-derived materials that are often in a plant’s root zone. The use of hydroponic growing methods alone can ensure the clean, controlled product that is required. Pharmaceutical companies also need raw materials that are pesticide free, of high quality and have been grown in a controlled way… sound familiar? They have to be grown in controlled, clean environments that hydroponics can provide. It is unlikely that this growth in demand will be met by ravaging the already delicate eco-systems represented by rainforests and similar natural resources.
In the USA, it is common for high value foods to be grown hydro-organically, which is using organic nutrients in a hydroponic system.
With the introduction of phone apps to aid growers, this is only going to increase and develop further, allowing people to not only control the different factors when growing, but also allowing them to trace their food and its origins.
Even astronauts are using hydroponics! This popular growing method is allowing astronauts to grow fresh produce when on their expedition to Mars.
The demand for more natural based products is unlikely to diminish in the foreseeable future. Combine all the factors mentioned about with the increasing interest in pesticide free, healthy, vitamin rich foods and you can see why we are so excited about the future prospects of our industry…
‘A great source of information and support. Good luck with making this primary source for hydroponics worldwide’ Iain Reynolds, CEO – Pocket Herbs and Produce, Australia