Could Hydroponics Limit Foodborne Illnesses? #MIN35!

Posted on February 9, 2012 by

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I visited a hydroponics company at the Mass Innovations Night, #MIN35!

The company, Freight Farms, uses a unique blend of recycled materials, hydroponic growing and digital networking to create modular, expandable, portable and profitable production units that quickly and easily grow food anywhere.

The company spokesperson said that one unit could produce 400 heads of lettuce each week.  No pesticides and herbicides are needed in the soil-free, controlled climate units.

Over the past 12 months, there have been hundreds of deaths linked to E.coli in cantalopes, strawberries and sprouts.  By eliminating the use of dirt in the growing materials, plants would remain free from animal waste, the cause cited in many contaminated produce.

According to Wikipedia, hydroponics is being adapted around the world for food production for many reasons, including:

  • No soil is needed
  • The water stays in the system and can be reused – thus, lower water costs
  • It is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety – thus, lower nutrition costs
  • No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system
  • Stable and high yields
  • Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container’s mobility
  • It is easier to harvest
  • No pesticide damage

There are two chief merits of the soil-less cultivation of plants. First, hydroponics may potentially produce much higher crop yields. Also, hydroponics can be used in places where in-ground agriculture or gardening are not possible.