Rutgers University researchers are studying the viability of growing ethnic specialty crops in greenhouses and hoop houses for local and regional sales.
Meeting the demand for locally grown ethnic produce
While consumer demand for organic products continues to increase so does the demand for locally grown produce. USDA reports that industry data estimates that U.S. local food sales totaled at least $12 billion in 2014, up from $5 billion in 2008. To support this growing local market USDA has provided more than $1 billion in investments to over 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects since 2009.
Researchers at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., have studied the potential market for ethnic specialty crops along the U.S. East Coast. Based on the results of their findings, the researchers are now looking at those crops which have the potential to be adapted to greenhouse and hoop house production.
LED toplighting provides efficient supplementing lighting for all types of crops
Philips GreenPower LED toplighting from Hort Americas provides efficient lighting for a wide variety of crops, including annuals, perennials, plugs, unrooted cuttings, herbs and high-wire vegetables. The toplighting is available in a variety of spectrums to support optimal plant growth.
The toplighting self-adjusts to a grower’s power grid in ranges of 200V-400V to provide more photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) per kilowatt hour. It offers the right levels of red, far red, and blue wavelengths that support quality growth.
The toplighting is passively cooled and doesn’t require a fan. Its slim profile doesn’t block natural light and doesn’t cast shadows over crops. It has no moving parts and the module can be power washed for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Philips GreenPower LED toplighting lasts more than twice as long as conventional horticultural lighting. It has a lifetime of 25,000 hours at 90 percent of output.
A single-season Grodan Grotop Expert slab, available from Hort Americas, combines rapid rooting and initial growth with vegetative crop development. Its special fibrous structure promotes root penetration throughout the entire slab, resulting in a more uniform root distribution. The roots are always of excellent quality and color, laying the foundation for thriving plants well-equipped to resist disease pathogens.
The slab measures 20- x 7½- x 100-cm and is available in a 12 pack.
Hort Americas also offers Riococo Coir Growbags which contain a blend of 15 mm size coco peat and crushed coco chips. These selected raw materials are blended and compressed into an 8:1 ratio to make hydroponic coir slabs for the required size. The slabs are packed in UV-stabilized (for 2 years) co-extruded bags.
The Riococo 100 Growbag is recommended for tomatoes and cucumbers. The 200 bag is recommended for tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant. The 300 bag is recommended for tomatoes and strawberries. Bag size is 100- x 15- x 10-cm. Custom sizes are also available.
Contact your Hort Americas sales rep for your specific growing media needs and for possible pricing breaks.
Number of U.S. organic producers continues to increase
USDA has announced a significant increase in the number of certified organic operations. New data indicates there are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the United States and 31,160 worldwide.
Data released by the Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program (NOP), indicates the number of domestic certified organic operations increased by almost 12 percent between 2014 and 2015, representing the highest growth rate since 2008 and an increase of nearly 300 percent since the count began in 2002. The total retail market for organic products in the United States has exceeded $39 billion and is over $75 billion worldwide.
Latest Horti-Facts Case Study: Urban Produce
If you haven’t read the latest Horti-Facts case study on LED grow lights from Hort Americas, then follow the link and learn how LEDs enable Urban Produce to vertically grow 16 acres of food crops. Urban Produce in Irvine, Calif. is growing USDA-certified organic microgreens, wheatgrass and herbs, which are sold to grocery stores and restaurants in California, Arizona and Nevada. The company is scheduled to start selling to multiple national supermarket chains during 2016. The company is currently using Philips GreenPower LED Production Modules.
Read Urban Ag News Issue 13
There are great articles in Urban Ag News Issue 13 including the conversion of a recreation center into an indoor urban farm near Richmond, Va. Also, find out how one U.S. company is looking to expand its vertical farm operations both domestically and internationally. It will even take you out of this world with an article about growing food in outer space.