Israeli technology has been hailed not only for its innovation but for its focus on solving the world’s most taxing challenges, from breakthroughs in cancer research to water desalination. One of the latest trending additions to this list is; Hydroponics and Aquaponics systems which have been gaining momentum and popularity in recent years. Many farmers as well as people without any experience in farming are interested in joining the most interesting area of growing in water.
One inspiring story from The Heart of Tel Aviv is Revolutionary Rooftop Farm Grows Organic Veggies. Buying organic and locally grown produce is a raging trend that is here to stay. And a new project in Israel called “Green in the City” is taking the trend to a whole new level, literally.
‘Green in the City’ grows mostly organic vegetables in floating beds of water (without soil) on the rooftop of Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv’s central mall complex. Lettuce, basil, bok choy, onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers are among the vegetables grown on compact, 100-square-meter rooftop farm.
The science behind this intriguing project is hydroponics, a type of gardening that grows plants using very little nutrient-rich water solutions and without any soil. There are different types of hydroponic systems, but they all essentially work by pumping just the right amount of nutrients and water directly to the plants’ roots. Unlike traditional agriculture, hydroponic gardening gives the grower control over the plants’ watering and feeding cycles, as well as over the strength and acidity of the nutrient solution that is given to the plants.
The advantages are numerous: First and foremost, the plants grow faster and produce greater yields. These systems also take up less space, rule out the need for pesticides (since plant diseases and parasites are mostly soil-borne), and require less weeding. In addition, the rooftop garden needs less water as hydroponics uses 70 to 90 percent less water than conventional gardening. The company Livin Green now plans to expand this demonstration farm to a 500-square-meter space on the Centre’s roof in the coming months.
Going a step further, an extension to Hydroponics; now Aquaponics is making in news from Israel. Blending in with a new Israeli proverb: Give a man a fishing rod and a hydroponics farm, and you give him food and sustainable income for life. Well the technology can be a new spin on an old method but a combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants on water) seems to be a great idea.
The idea is to create a circular farm that provides people with fish and plants to eat in a closed loop. The crops feed off the waste created by the fish, while the fish thrive on the oxygen made by the crops. Both become an important source of nutrients for the people –– with no waste, fertilizer or much water needed.
We believe that of course, hydroponics and aquaponics will not replace traditional agriculture as the major source of food, but in countries where there is not enough fertile ground or enough water; hydroponics can provide a much needed solution.
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