US (NY): Hydroponic growing is strengthening New York’s food system

After a pandemic exposed stresses in the food supply chain and as climate change begins to impact farming, producers in upstate New York are turning to hydroponics to meet local demand year-round.

Abby Leapak from Farm Girl Greens grows in a facility the size of 2.5 acres of land, but because the plants grow vertically, she is able to produce the equivalent of approximately 250 acres of lettuce in the field. 

In Ontario, New York, Intergrow produces tomatoes hydroponically. James Williams, marketing and communications manager for the company, said they produce about 40 million pounds of tomatoes each year. They grow nine varieties commercially in three different locations in Ontario, Fillmore and Albion, totaling 105 acres of greenhouse facilities. “We grow 365 days a year using high-tech greenhouses, heating and grow lights,” Williams said. 

The plants grow vertically rather than in rows like they would in a field which allows growers to have more plants within a smaller area. Producers are able to control all factors that impact their plants like the lights, humidity, temperature, and water supply.


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