Most grocery stores in the Midwest have to import the majority of produce that is sold. A Hy-Vee grocery store located in Davenport, Iowa, however, is one of the few that doesn’t. This is because the supermarket is able to obtain between 10 and 15 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables every week.
How is this possible? The store commissioned Friday’s Fresh Market (FFM) to install and maintain two eight-tower hydroponic vertical gardens outdoors. What is produced is then sold indoors. It certainly doesn’t get any more local than that!
Inhabitat reports that basil, lettuce and mint are but a few plants that flourish on the outdoor Grow Wall which was installed in May of this year. Because the system is hydroponic, no soil is required; rather, the plants are suspended in a growing medium that is made from recycled plastic bottles and grow in the sunlight.
A smaller Grow Wall was also installed inside the grocery store, in the produce section. Reportedly, FFM maintains both systems and oversees required tasks which include germinating the seeds, transplanting the crops, supplying nutrients and water, harvesting, and then packaging the produce for sale at the store.
Said FFM manager, Chen Freitag: “We see this disruptive technology becoming more and more popular in our future farming industry. It will help to improve the fresh food desert situation here in the Midwest tremendously and stimulate the local economy.”
“Our goal is to improve the quality of life in our local communities,” Freitag added. “People here deserve to eat better, live better. We believe we are capable of being self-sufficient when it comes to fresh, local food year-round.”
FFM’s business also cultivates indoor farms in shipping containers for clients. The company uses the same towers and irrigation system as a Grow Wall. Reportedly, the shipping container farms require approximately 90 percent less water than traditional methods as the environment can be controlled. The produce is also more colorful, more flavorful, and has a higher nutrient content. Freitag said FFM decided to pursue hydroponics as a more efficient and sustainable way to produce healthy food — no matter the weather.
Though the Iowa company isn’t likely to transform the entire agriculture industry, it is educating consumers on the possibilities through its efforts. Hopefully, the Hy-Vee model inspires other grocery stores and businesses to follow suit. “The earth is the resource account we cannot afford to overdraw,” said Freitag. “We need to think about future generations: what we leave them to live with.”
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here