PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A Palm Beach County farm is taking a different approach to growing.
Green Life Farms just opened its flagship hydroponic greenhouse in unincorporated Lake Worth, on U.S. 441.
Green Life said its hydroponic greenhouse, expected to be one of the largest indoor hydroponic produce growers in the southeast, occupies nearly three acres and will produce about 700,000 pounds of premium leafy green produce throughout the year.
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Unlike conventional farming practices, Green Life Farms' baby leafy greens are grown without soil, then harvested hands-free, reducing the risk of contamination and preserving flavor and freshness.
Green Life Farms has seven varieties of leafy greens including baby spinach, baby arugula, baby kale, baby romaine, red romaine mix, a southern style greens blend, and Asian blend.
All Green Life Farms products are free from harmful pesticides and GMOs, and are grown using sunlight and oxygenated water.
Green Life Farms' hydroponic greenhouse features innovative Deep-Water Floating Raft Technology (FRT) from Hydronov. FRT helps to conserve water, using the oxygenated clean water in which the plants grow as a conveyor system, eliminating the costs and maintenance associated with mechanical conveyors.
Green Life Farms will be able to produce 18 harvests each year. The farm uses 90 percent less water than field-grown crops.
"Instead of having to continuously fill water and having to go back and add nutrients and recapture water for us, we’re able to take this water and send it back through a system where we can filter it, take a look at the makeup of the water, how it looks nutritionally, and send it right back out to the crops without wasting any water, or any water going down the drain for us, and the plants just use what they need," said farm manager Greg Graft.
Graft said that's just one advantage to their process. The greenhouse also protects from insects and the Florida heat.
"In South Florida, people think of it as being so hot. When you think of lettuce growing in hot conditions, it doesn’t seem like a feasible thing. But it's all about being able to control, so this is controlled environmental agriculture," said Graft. "We are able to control not only the heat, the humidity, the airflow through the property, fulling opening up the roof allows more sun. We can grow spinach in the dead of summer when typically most growers are pulling out of Florida and going to other regions that are cooler for growing those kind of crops."
They also use a smaller area.
"Typically, if we were outdoors, you would need twice the amount of space to grow this," Graft said. "It's kind of the best of both worlds, like growing outside, but when we get harsh conditions we can close it up and protect the crops."
Green Life Farms is distributing its products to more than a dozen local stores.
For more information about where to buy Green Life Farms' products, click here.