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Hydrophonic Gardening

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Deborah30605
Words 2152
Pages 9
Deborah Jacobellis
Ms. Chotiwat-Floyd
English 1101
18 March 2014
Hydroponic Gardening Hydroponic gardening is a timeless entity that has been with us since man first started to plant crops. It is feasible that one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the earth first hydroponic gardens. The Hutchinson Pocket Dictionary of Difficult Words defines hydroponics, “hydroponics n. cultivation of plants without soil, by supporting them in chemical solution containing all ingredients necessary for growth” (425). In other words, hydroponics is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, vermiculite, perlite, or liquid with added nutrients to water. A concept of growing plants without playing in the soil scares some people. The thought that a setup this simple may be answer to the world’s food shortages, is astonishing. Teaching Hydroponics in our schools and encouraging it in our community is good for everyone. Murali Mugundhan is a huge endorser of Hydroponics because he sees first-hand how it is changing his world. Mugundhan states that “improper agricultural practice which altered the soil pH, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides which drastically reduced the soil flora and fertility which made a quench for the new alternative technique for obtaining the food and medicinal plants of better quality, yield and for growing fresh produce in non-arable areas of the world”(286). I agree with Mugundha, the current agriculture system in the United States is destroying the soil and we need a new alternative now. My goal is to convince the reader that America’s school system should teach hydroponics; hydroponics gardening is better than commercial agriculture as a way to supply the growing population of the world with more than enough food to sustain it, wisely use our water resources, and reduce waste. In recent discussions of solutions for feeding the growing world population, a controversial issue has been whether to continue teaching and supporting the current system of agriculture or teaching forms of local food production like hydroponics. On the one hand, some argue that Agriculture farming is sufficient and is supporting most of the needed food supply. Mark Tucker expresses “While farmers share many of the concerns expressed by nonfarmers for safe and affordable food and water supplies, they also must make a profit to stay in business” (575). From this perspective, Tucker believes that the United States focus should be on improving farming methods, but that farmers need to make a profit. On the other hand, however, others argue that farming waste lots of water, causes soil contamination with fertilizers and pesticides and crops are expensive to transport since most items are highly perishable. A better way to farm is in an urban setting with the hydroponic method that after initial setup is quite inexpensive and reuses the same water with only a ten percent loss. One of this view’s main proponents, Mugundhan expresses “There are several additional advantages as well including nutritious, healthy and clean produce, improved and consistent vegetable quality and elimination of the use of pesticides and herbicides”(288). According to this view, hydroponics is a healthier, cleaner, and more consistent growing method. In sum, then the issue is whether America should spend our time and money continuing to teach and support the current inconsistent agriculture systems or defer those same tax dollars to a cheaper local more efficient way of farming like hydroponics. I agree with Mugundhan that hydroponics is the most consistent system, our schools and community should teach the hydroponic methods of farming because in the long-term it is cheaper and more efficient. Although corporate farming has flourished in America, small local urbanized hydroponic farming provides better food, increased amounts per plant, lower transportation cost, less pollution and fewer waste products. Therefore, America should teach and encourage hydroponic gardening in our schools and communities and support it as the best answer to the world’s food shortages. The United States should teach Hydroponics in schools and encourage it in communities. Francesco Orsini contends, “Sociologically urban farming favors both social inclusion and reduction of gender inequalities, as 65 percent of urban farmers are women and most are below the poverty level” (695). However, in current corporate farming practices in the United States most of the farmers are men and much wealthier. Consequently, the poor have a local food resource, often in their own homes, where they can learn to feed their families and themselves with very little expense. Hydroponics is very inexpensive to maintain after the initial setup cost and very easy to teach. Taylor writes, “Hydroponics also became an important teaching technique because plant roots are visible, there is no messy soil, and the nutrient solution is easily sampled (730). I agree completely with Taylor because I agree when a student can see the whole plant it will get them excited. David Hershey states, “The get-rich-quick claims quickly proved unrealistic, but hydroponics still fascinates students and so is still valuable for teaching purposes” (1). Although Hershey does not say it directly, he apparently assumes that some people will view hydroponics as a fad. Hershey’s Chai seedling experiment, which shows the roots, is a great way to teach hydroponics. Jeffrey Carver realistically emphasizes, “Hydroponics remains an important plant research technique and will be used to grow plants in the ‘Space Station’. Hydroponics is also a popular attraction at the ‘Land’ pavilion at ‘Wait Disney World's EPCOT Center’ in Orlando, Florida” (44). Carver teaches hydroponics hands on using examples from NASA. I like how he gets students interested in hydroponic gardening while interlacing it with space. Jeremy Ernst and Joe Busby provide a great teaching devise for teachers to pass on to their students (20-24). Carver, Ernst and Busby provide easy to follow lesson plans that are free for education institutions to download and use in class because they really want hydroponics to be taught to students. Commercial Soil based gardens waste tons of water that runs off into streams which contains chemical fertilizers that create pollution of soil and water. Jean Mcquire claims, “The unintended environmental effects of HIHO [high input, high output] agriculture include increased loss of soil, reduced biodiversity, and degradation of water resources” (57). In McGuire’s article, his intent to inform the average person of the damage agriculture is doing to the environment is apparent. He provides the reader with estimates from the United States Environmental Protection Agency; US agricultural landscapes are the largest source of water impairments and pollution. These impairments are affecting nearly half of all streams and rivers. Mcquire in addition contends that “agricultural pollutants are the source of more than 45 percent of damage to lakes and 18 percent of damage to estuaries with increases in nitrogen compounds primarily from agricultural fertilizers upsetting the natural nitrogen balances” (57). I agree completely with him, the amount of algae in streams and lakes have become overwhelming. Americans tend to believe that the current system of farming proficiently provides food at a reasonable price. The actual real cost may be our long-term health. Mcquire goes on to emphasize, “the widespread growth of hypoxic zones, areas in water bodies with low oxygen, in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and other bays and river outlets throughout the US demonstrate agriculture’s impact on water”(57). It does not take that much intelligence to realize that the green slimy stuff in the creek near my house is not good for the plants and animals that live nearby. Mcquire does a fantastic job of pointing out what is happening because he provides very concrete evidence. Hydroponic gardening is the best answer to the world’s food shortages and growing population. Martin Stajano makes a compelling argument: “The adaptability of Simplified Hydroponics for low-income population environments has been validated, and so has the fact that these people respond positively if the proper strategies, training and materials are made available to them” ( 1 ). In other words, the low-income populations of the world validate the growing need for hydroponics. What a wonderful existence it would be if the entire world could be adequately fed. If we could look at the world’s population increase as positive rather than as a disaster waiting to erupt. Rebecca Sweet adds, “Hydroponically-grown produce may be a way of helping to feed the world a variety of fruits and vegetables, regardless of soil quality, space availability, or climate” (54). Sweet reminds us that we are one world and we all need to eat healthy food. What she is adding is the idea of incorporating hydroponics into existing spaces like rooftops, alleys, patios, and any open space. Growing food locally saves on transportation cost; the food is fresher and less spoilage. Another great advantage to the hydroponics system is the reuse of materials from the initial setup of the system to the actual water itself. The system can use available wood, Styrofoam, and plastic materials from ending up in landfills. Orsini recommends hydroponics as a great solution to pollution problems: “Urban agriculture has ecological benefits by reducing the city waste, improving urban biodiversity and air quality, and overall reducing the environmental impact related to both food transport and storage” (695). In other words, the system not only feeds people cheaper, safer food it also improves that environment because there is no chemical runoff, it recycles the same clean water, it can be made of parts that would have ended up in garbage dumps. It saves gas because it is locally grown; the food is healthier and safer. In summary, teaching hydroponics in schools and encouraging it in communities is the best solution for the world food shortages. In the words of Mugundhan, “The extension of the growing season is not the only advantage contributing to the growing popularity of hydroponics production with both growers and consumers. There are several additional advantages as well including nutritious, healthy and clean produce, improved and consistent vegetable quality and elimination of the use of pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides and other chemicals used in conventional agriculture have an adverse environmental impact; the runoff from these chemicals, contaminates groundwater supplies. Commercial hydroponics systems eliminate these toxic chemicals and contribute substantially to keeping the groundwater free from contamination” (288). With so many American worrying about health and the impact of pesticides in food hydroponics is a reasonably priced solution that we can even do in our homes. Eric Siderman an organic farmer who does not like Hydroponics expresses, “If humans ruin the soil on earth, then hydroponics will be very important” (45). What he is saying is that if we as a people continue on our current path of contamination of the world’s soil and water supplies, at some point the only answer we may have to fresh garden food is hydroponics. It would be smarter to embrace the farming system that the poor countries in the world are using to save their children early rather than to wait until it becomes that only system left to embrace.

Works Cited: The Hutchinson Pocket Dictionary of Difficult Words. Abingdon, Oxon: Helicon, 2005. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
Mugundhan, R. Murali. "Hydroponics"- A Novel Alternative For Geoponic Cultivation Of Medicinal Plants And Food Crops." International Journal Of Pharma & Bio Sciences 2.2 (2011): P.286. Web. 16 Mar. 2014

Tucker, Mark, and Ted L. Napier. "Perceptions Of Risk Associated With Use Of Farm Chemicals: Implications For Conservation Initiatives." Environmental Management 22.4 (1998): 575. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.
Orsini, Francesco, et al. "Urban Agriculture In The Developing World: A Review." Agronomy For Sustainable Development (Springer Science & Business Media B.V.) 33.4 (2013): 695. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. Hershey, David R. Plant biology science projects. Solution culture hydroponics: History and inexpensive equipment. American Biology Teacher 56: 11 1-1 8. (1994). New York: Print.

Hershey, David R. "Don't Just Pet Your Chia." Science Activities 32.2 (1995): 8. MasterFILE Elite. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.

Taylor, F’ J. 1939. Bathtub Gardening. Popular Mechanics 71: 730-733, 128A-30A. Print.
Carver, Jeffrey, and Bradley Wasserman. "Hands-On Hydroponics." Science Teacher 79.4 (2012): 44. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.

Ernst, Jeremy V.Busby, Joe R. "Hydroponics: Content And Rationale." Technology Teacher 68.6 (2009): 20-24. Professional Development Collection. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.

McGuire, Jean, Lois Morton, and Alicia Cast. "Reconstructing The Good Farmer Identity: Shifts In Farmer Identities And Farm Management Practices To Improve Water Quality." Agriculture & Human Values 30.1 (2013): 57-69. Environment Complete. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.

Stajano, Martin C. "Simplified Hydroponics as an Appropriate Technology to Implement Food Security in Urban Agriculture”. N.p., May-June 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
Sweet, Rebecca Morrison, Susan. "Grow Up!." Horticulture 108.4 (2011): 54-59. MasterFILE Elite. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. Eric Sideman, Ph.D., Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Organic Hydroponic Crops? Not in My Opinion, Bangor: 45, 2010. Print.…...

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Ceres Gardening

...Ceres Gardening began with Jonathan Wydown in 1989 when he founded the company with a mission to promote sustainable organic gardens and landscapes. He is an advocate of soil preservation, biodiversity, natural fertilizers and pest control. The company originally operated as a mail–order Catalog Company in which sales continued to be steady, but Wydown wanted to enter the retail market. As a result he hired Annette O’Connell as VP of marketing. Initially the company focused its primary efforts on independent nurseries and garden centers in the northern California region. That later changed in the late 1990’s when people started becoming interested in organic gardening, expanding to retailers across the western side of the United States. Ceres Gardening strategy has been to promote their products to people who are environmentally conscious consumers. They even had a free newsletter that created a sense of community among customers. Considering the market demand growth in organic products, Exhibit 2 shows how the revenues of the company have grown over 70% in five years while their profits have grown over 25%. One of the key factors that drove the company’s growth is that they caught the attention of the casual hobbyist who are drawn to buying more developed plants as apposed to seeds. Ceres’s early investment in constructing a seedling and live-plant business gave the company a lead in the growing retail market. They also hired many independent sales......

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