COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Mid-Ohio Farm @ NBC4 took one step closer to growing food Wednesday.
Volunteers filled the vertical hydroponic towers with material made of coconut fiber and rice fiber. The coconut is used as a bottom and top layer as a moisture seal, and the rice fiber basically holds the moisture for the plant’s roots to absorb.
The vertical growing method will allow the farm to produce up to five times the amount of produce as traditional horizontal farming.
The planters were developed by a Florida company called Vertgro.
According to Mid-Ohio Food Collective’s urban farmer Bo McMahon, this tower system is perfect for people wanting to grow fresh produce anywhere, even in round planters, if you cannot purchase Vertgro products.
“So if you’re stacking, you want the largest at the bottom and you want your pots to keep getting smaller and smaller so you have an exposed layer on each level,” said McMahon. “You still need to poke holes on the bottom so water can drip down.”
McMahon hopes to have the irrigation system connected by the end of the month. Should everything stay on schedule, the first harvest of food could be as soon as August.
The farm is anticipated to grow anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 pounds of food annually. The food will be distributed to local food pantries and Columbus City Schools.