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posted by CoolHand on Friday November 04 2016, @08:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the hydroponics-not-just-for-growing-ganja dept.

The landscape is virtually treeless around a coastal hub town above Alaska's Arctic Circle, where even summer temperatures are too cold for northern-growing forests to take root.

Amid these unforgiving conditions, a creative kind of farming is sprouting up in the largely Inupiat community of Kotzebue.

A subsidiary of a local Native corporation is using hydroponics technology to grow produce inside an insulated, 40-foot shipping container equipped with glowing magenta LED lights. Arctic Greens is harvesting kale, various lettuces, basil and other greens weekly from the soil-free system and selling them at the supermarket in the community of nearly 3,300.

"We're learning," Will Anderson, president of the Native Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corp., said of the business launched last spring. "We're not a farming culture."

The venture is first of its kind north of the Arctic Circle, according to the manufacturer of Kotzebue's pesticide-free system. The goal is to set up similar systems in partnerships with other rural communities far from Alaska's minimal road system—where steeply priced vegetables can be more than a week in transit and past their prime by the time they arrive at local stores.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Saturday November 05 2016, @12:24AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 05 2016, @12:24AM (#422690) Journal

    We are nowhere near that desperate that we really have to do hydroponics in the arctic and such. It's not like we lack land to grow stuff on. Heck, you could feed another entire America if you really put the southeast of Utah under cultivation. The United States is very, very large and there are huge tracts of land that are quite empty. If we used terraces the way they do in, say, Bali, we could feed China with what we could grow in Colorado. Most people in southeastern Utah and Colorado would not enjoy the population densities of China or Bali, but it could be done.

    It also doesn't seem accurate to assert that 'our days of living off the land's bounty are gone,' simply by virtue of how much we still waste. We waste mountains more than we need. When the stuff going into landfills shrinks to zero because nobody can afford to waste it or need to immediately re-use it, then it would be appropriate to say that the days of plenty are over.

    It is great that those guys in the Arctic are growing their own veg locally that way, and a great many other people who live in cities and suburbs should also grow their own either in their yards or in similar hydroponics setups because it will taste far better, and be far better for them, than produce that is picked weeks before it's ripe and shipped halfway round the world. It's good to grow rice in the desert because doing that sort of thing can moderate the local climate; a good buddy of mine spent time in the Peace Corps trying to do that to prevent desertification in the Sahel. But human civilization doesn't need to do that yet.

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  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday November 05 2016, @02:28AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Saturday November 05 2016, @02:28AM (#422720)

    Most farmland uses resources imported from elsewhere. Few locations are entirely self sufficient.

    Since people tend to pay for the resources they use, then if this is economically viable then by definition it's efficient enough, unless of course it's heavily subsidized.