Ryan Willett’s passion for growing began as a child, helping his dad in their huge garden. Now, as an adult, he is digging deeper in order to follow his passion for sustainability and water conservation.
“I still remember the first head of lettuce that we sold at a farmers market. The lady picked it up, and she was like, ‘I’m going home to paint this,’” Willett says. “It just really stood out like that first punch. Like hey, we’re really doing the right thing. We’re doing something good.”
When Willett started his farm, Harlowe Custom Microgreens and Hydroponics, he never expected it to be such a success. He specializes in hydroponic gardening, a growing technique that uses nutrient-rich water instead of dirt.
“It’s far more efficient because it’s being delivered directly to the roots and it’s being consistently recycled so the roots have a constant opportunity to only take what they need and shed off the rest,” he says.
Willett plants the seeds in foam blocks that disintegrate once he transfers the seedlings onto the hydroponic table. The plants use about 50 gallons of water a week. That’s only 10% of what a regular field crop of the same product would use.
“The goal of the farm is to produce in a sustainable manner,” Willett explains. “I don’t want chemicals on my food. I don’t want chemicals in the ground. So we use a top-down regenerative process where we try to reuse as much of everything that we can.”
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