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As general hydroponics becomes more and more popular throughout New Zealand, not to mention the rest of the world, an increasing number of people are becoming aware of the benefits associated with this type of plant cultivation. One of the biggest advantages is sustainability: for example, hydroponic plant cultivation is more sustainable than regular farming because it uses around 90% less water. Meanwhile, the LED grow lights we supply at Herbal House are widely regarded as a very energy-efficient lighting source, especially in comparison to conventional lighting.
Reduced food miles is another factor that supporters of hydroponics point to as an example of the industry’s sustainability. Food miles is a term that refers to the distance that food travels from its production to the end-user. While it has become widely accepted as a simple indicator of sustainability, there’s also agreement that conventionally-grown food has to travel a long way through sheer necessity. For example, there might be a great distance between prime rural growing land and the urban market that the food will eventually be sold in. And, of course, countries with warmer climates grow tropical produce that colder countries can’t, and the global export and import of this type of hot-weather produce is evidence of that. Transport is definitely needed to bridge these divides, and that has an enormous environmental impact.
On the other hand, hydroponics reduces food miles by closing the gap between grower and market. With a hydroponic set-up, the perfect growing environment can be created just about anywhere. Who needs prime growing land miles away from urban customers, when a hydroponic growing operation can be set up on wasteland just on the outskirts of town, transforming an unused space into a productive one? And surely global traffic can be reduced if LED grow lights can create a tropical growing environment in an otherwise cold-climate setting?
Being able to grow anything anywhere is not just ideal from a food miles perspective. It raises the possibility of being able to overcome food shortages in nations where growing their own crops is virtually impossible. Investment in hydroponics in these regions - with Africa and Asia being two of the most obvious - could make human life itself sustainable. That’s a very grand concept and a global issue that our Auckland based hydroponics supply store might not be able to solve, but it certainly makes us feel even better about what we do!