Hydroponics is an alternative method of farming using water and nutrients, rather than cultivation in soil. It is often referred to as the “future of farming” for its ability to produce vast quantities of food using less resources and space, in nearly any climate.
A world leader in the science of hydroponic farming is the Netherlands. Although a tiny country located just 1,000 miles from the Arctic Circle, the Netherlands has become a major exporter of tomatoes and other crops and a hub for the global vegetable seed trade after embracing hydroponic farming on a massive scale.
In 1995, Kawamata Farms began consulting with hydroponic growers in the Netherlands to adopt this technology on their farm in Hawaii.
The benefits of hydroponic food production are numerous. Several key benefits include:
- Increased production
- Environmentally friendly
- Improved pest control
- Year-round growing season
In a hydroponic system, growers have far greater control over the plant. The quantity and type of nutrients and water can be specially formulated to the plant’s ideal requirements at every stage of its life cycle. In these prime conditions, plants grow faster and produce more fruit.
Hydroponics can bring out the best taste in fruits with complex flavors like tomatoes with the manipulation of nutrients and water.
On an island, space and resources are precious.
On a remote island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, water and land are at a premium. Hydroponic growing systems maximize the use of space and conserve water. With Hydroponic growing, precise measurements of water and nutrients can be applied with little waste. The threat of pests is minimized and the need for pesticides is reduced or even eliminated.
Some hydroponic systems are totally enclosed in greenhouses and climate-controlled. This is a common practice in cold climates, where food crops can be grown year-round despite freezing temperatures. In warm climates, like Hawaii, unsealed greenhouses which are subject to seasonal temperature changes can be used.