Indoor farming business boosted by COVID-19, sustainability focus

Hydroponic and other indoor-farm produce businesses are growing in multiple ways in various parts of the Miami Valley and across the country as consumers look for alternatives to vegetables trucked in from California and Arizona.

The area’s varied examples range from a BrightFarms greenhouse across from the Wilmington Air Park in Clinton County to 80 Acres Farm, reusing a building in downtown Hamilton in Butler County, to Davidson Family Growers, a century-old traditional family farm also growing with hydroponics in New Carlisle, Clark County.

“We don’t have one just yet,” said Felix Fernando, past co-chair of Montgomery County Food Equity Coalition. “This is definitely a growing area,” added Fernando, Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Coordinator of Graduate Certificate in Sustainability at the University of Dayton (UD).

Increasingly, consumers and investors are drawn to the principles of sustainability, prompting businesses and educational institutions to respond with programs and products.

For a variety of reasons, hydroponics fit perfectly in markets, such as southern Ohio, otherwise dependent on trucked-in products. In the process climate change is to be slowed.

“It reduces our dependency on areas further away,” Fernando said. “These areas are seeing or are expected to see impacts from climate change,” such as flooding, erosion, drought, crop disease.


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