In the era of rapid urbanisation and exponential growth of population, and because there are no more lands to accommodate for agriculture, food is becoming more scarce and has to travel longer distances in order to get on our plates. That leads to increase in food prices, bigger carbon footprint of nourishment production and more chemicals in our meals – phenomenas holistically called a food crisis. To learn about causes and possible solutions for this gripping issue, we visited a hydroponic farm in Tel Aviv.
“Green In The City” is a pioneer hydroponic farm in Israel built on the rooftop of the Dizengoff Center and funded by the management of the centre. Its purpose is to promote sustainable solutions in the city and provide educational facility. The farm consists of two parts: educational, where our tour took place, and commercial, where vegetables are grown for sale. It is only one of a few environmentally friendly solutions implemented in Dizengoff. Also one of the underground levels of the centre is designed for bats to sleep.
The goal behind the hydroponic farms is to make the maximum possible use of available space to grow food. Since roofs are usually not utilised, they have a big potential to be accommodated for that aim. The way hydroponic farms work is that plants are grown in water with added fertiliser, without use of soil. Light is taken from the sun and carbon dioxide from the air. As it is shown in the pictures, hydroponics can grow in tanks or in pipes.
There is a number of advantages that hydroponics have: there is no need for soil, much more can be grown on smaller area, only as much water as plants need is required and researches show that hydroponics are more nutritious. Also, they require much less work, except for harvesting the crops, all they need is to add fertiliser once a week. There is not a lot of restrictions, practically all kinds of fruits and vegetables can be grown using this method. Since they can be built vertically, hydroponic installations of proper size can fit in almost any apartment.
What we heard and saw on the roof of the Dizengoff Center gave us a lot of knowledge and inspiration. Next step? Bring hydroponics to EMIS.
Author: Beniamin Strzelecki