by: Jean Homer, BFP Staff Writer
Hydroponic solutions for growing plants aren’t new. Sir Francis Bacon mentioned the process in a book published in 1627! There are many benefits derived from this method of growing food: it conserves water, eliminates the need for pesticides, utilizes waste products for nutrients and makes weeding unnecessary!
Employing the creativeness for which they are famous, Israeli innovators have developed different types of useful hydroponic systems. One uses moving, rather than static, nutrient-rich water flowing through plastic pipes or into a plastic container to bathe the roots of plants. The plants are placed in a supportive opening in the pipe or on a removable platform where the roots dangle in the water solution that runs gently through the pipes or the container below.
Plants thrive and grow faster in this environment. Flowers, fresh organic vegetables and herbs can be produced in small spaces, on rooftops, on farms. Israeli-developed solutions, combined with modern technology, are beginning to take hold, as illustrated by the Dizengoff Center Rooftop Garden.
The organic garden on the roof of the Dizengoff Center, a mall complex in Tel Aviv, rests upon a “floating bed” of water. From this garden, apartment dwellers, restaurant chefs, people seeking a healthier lifestyle come to buy cucumbers, basil, bok choy, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, basil—all organic.
Another innovation, the Livingbox unit—starting at 1 square meter [1.1 sq yds], can be installed on a balcony, patio, rooftop, or units can be connected to make a larger hydroponic garden. The countries of Israel, Spain, Nigeria, Figi and the US have 50 Livingboxes operating on a trial basis.
Developers of the Livingbox recently won the $20,000 Pears Challenge Award, which focuses on projects that can provide solutions for developing countries. Nitzan Solan, co-creator of the Livingbox stated in a Times of Israel interview that it, “is the perfect system, because it lets anyone anywhere grow vegetables without the need for fertile soil, or running water and electricity, and with minimal farming skills. It could help feed people in the developing world, providing them with access to fresh, nutritious food, while helping them maintain a clean environment.”
Photo Credit: Livingbox/livingbox.co.il
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