BURLINGTON, N.C. — Hydroponic farming has been around for hundreds of years, but it's not necessarily what comes to mind when you think of North Carolina agriculture.
Like many things growing in the state, that could be changing because of urbanization and climate change.
Your Local Greens is a hydroponic farm in Burlington that grows five types of kosher and organic lettuce. It grows lettuce in a safe, clean and controlled atmosphere, in water without using soil, the right mix of nutrients and light.
It allows the farm to increase crop yield and nutrional value with less waste and using fewer natural resources.
For example, the systems cut down water consumption 70% to 80% than a conventional farm by using UV light filters to cleanse the recycled water from disease and pathogens.
Farm Manager Chris Amaya has been working with hydroponics for the last six years and oversees all of the farm's operations.
"Sustainability is most important to me because of how our resources are managed. I feel that our end goal, sustainable-wise, should be water conservation," Amaya said.
He said what makes the lettuce so special is the ability to protect it from climate change. They also use no pesticides, chemials or GMO's.
“This lettuce is a little different because we are in control of the entire growth cycle from start to finish," Amaya said.
Amaya said he believes hydroponic farming is the wave of the futue. Adding, grrowing urban populations, insuffient arable land, dwindling natural resources and climate change will require new solutons, such as hydroponic farming.
The farm partners up with community organizations and educational institutions to promote a wide range of positive outcomes.
They provide work at a liveable wage for adults with austim and DDI, as well as support school-based nutrition programs that teach students the importance of a healthy diet.
For more information, you can visit the website.