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Growing Hydroponic and Aquaponic Food


On The Point, we discuss alternatives to conventional farming: hydroponics and aquaponics. Meeting the food needs of a growing global population is a challenge, and climate change will make it even more difficult. That’s according to The US Global Change Research Program’s Fourth National Climate Assessment Report. The report finds that “rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States.” 

In the first segment of the program, we look at hydroponic farming as a sustainable and economically viable way of farming in New England. We talk with Dr. Neil Mattson at the School of Integrative Plant Science and Horticulture at Cornell University and Paul Sellew, founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms a state of the art hydroponic facility in Massachusetts growing baby lettuces.

Next, we  hear about Aquaponics, a food production system that combines aquaculture (raising fish or other organisms in tanks) with hydroponics. The relationship between the plants and animals is symbiotic. Aquaponics uses 90% less water than conventional farming, so it’s a growing movement in Colorado where years of drought have made people view the resource differently. In this next piece from H2O Radio we visit three locations using the method for the same, yet very different, reasons.

Here are some links to Cape and Islands Farms that are using Aquaponics and Hydroponics:

Island Grown Initiative

Coonamessett Farm

E and T Farms

Cape Abilities Farm

Bartletts Farm

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Mindy Todd is the host and producer of The Point on WCAI which examines critical issues for Cape Cod and the Islands. She brings more than 30 years of experience in radio and television to WCAI.