US supports hydroponics to revitalize Mideast food, water and security – Green Prophet

Visit to an hydroponic bell pepper farm

Growing crops without soil, otherwise known as hydroponic agriculture, is not a recent innovation. In fact, it can be traced back to ancient times and kingdoms like Babylonia, whose Hanging Gardens were said to have been created and nurtured by use of hydroponics.

The modern day Middle East, especially water-deprived countries like Jordan and Syria, has had on-going problems in that local agriculture cannot provide sufficient amounts of local food due to lack of sufficient water and arable land to grow crops. Other resource-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates see hydroponics as the only solution for providing hyper local, fresh, nutritious food.

Jordan-hydroponics-eco-consult-a

As a result of this water scarcity problem, Jordan sees potential in hydroponic agricultural projects, which are said to use as much as 90 percent less water over conventional soil-based agriculture.

The Kingdom of Jordan is seeing commercial opportunities for local hydroponic farming and is getting some help from the USAID Hydroponic Green Farming Initiative (HGFI). Hydroponic agricultural projects growing vegetables by both hydroponic and organic methods were the subject of an event held in May 2015, where US Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells featured these vegetables in an event with Jordanian governmental officials and local producers.

The event was aimed at showing how use of hydroponic growing techniques not only saves water resources but produces high quality yields as well. Ambassador Wells told the participants:

“The future of hydroponic farming techniques is bright in Jordan. Hydroponic farming techniques are well-suited toward maximizing Jordan’s scarce supply of water. From my visits to hydroponic farms in the Jordan Valley, I’ve seen that the potential to grow more produce through hydroponic techniques is significant, given the minimal additional investment required to implement them.”

vilsack-wells-jordan-2015-may_0

She added that hydroponic agriculture maximizes Jordan’s scarce water supplies. Her visits to hydroponic projects in the Jordan Valley indicate a good potential for this type of agriculture, with just a minimal additional investment required.

Chefs who attended the event were able to see the quality of the hydroponically-grown produce, which often uses no pesticides. Um Ali, who heads a woman’s agricultural cooperative in the north of Jordan, told the gathering that production of herbs like thyme is much better using hydroponic agriculture than by traditional soil methods:

“Our thyme production from hydroponic farming is far better than traditional soil farming. It uses much less water, which is scarce in Jordan. Our production is clean from soil diseases,” she said.

YouTube Preview Image

Building reliable markets for hydroponically-grown produce is equally important. The USAID program is designed to build greater awareness of the advantages of hydroponically-grown produce, and the chefs in attendance at the reception were able to experience first-hand the quality of produce from hydroponic fields. Developing strong domestic markets for produce will assist farmers in balancing the cyclical nature of produce grown for export.

Developing tools and an industry for hydroponics in the Middle East is just as important. Consider this super cool American company flux from New York powering up the entire industry by providing powerful monitors and controls for hydroponic farms, in the same way that Mobileye enables self-driving Tesla cars. The global market flux is tapping into will grow from about $19 billion today to $27 billion in 4 years. It’s a massive opportunity since there are few global players with no dominant, affordable solution for new businesses.

Jordan can and should be a part of that.

More about hydroponic agriculture in the Middle East:
Hydroponics in Qatar
Saudi Arabia’s OAXIS hydroponic food belt
Khalifa hydroponic farms paying off
Grow fresh food in the middle of Manhattan?
Hanging gardens of Babylon inspire water farming called hydroponics

Maurice Picow grew up in Oklahoma City, U.S.A., where he received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration. Following graduation, Maurice embarked on a career as a real estate broker before making the decision to make Aliyah to Israel. After arriving in Israel, he came involved in the insurance agency business and later in the moving and international relocation fields. Maurice became interested in writing news and commentary articles in the late 1990’s, and now writes feature articles for the The Jerusalem Post as well as being a regular contributor to Green Prophet. He has also written a non-fiction study on Islam, a two volume adventure novel, and is completing a romance novel about a forbidden love affair. Writing topics of particular interest for Green Prophet are those dealing with global warming and climate change, as well as clean technology – particularly electric cars. Maurice can be reached at maurice (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

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US supports hydroponics to revitalize Mideast food, water and security – Green Prophet

Visit to an hydroponic bell pepper farm

Growing crops without soil, otherwise known as hydroponic agriculture, is not a recent innovation. In fact, it can be traced back to ancient times and kingdoms like Babylonia, whose Hanging Gardens were said to have been created and nurtured by use of hydroponics.

The modern day Middle East, especially water-deprived countries like Jordan and Syria, has had on-going problems in that local agriculture cannot provide sufficient amounts of local food due to lack of sufficient water and arable land to grow crops. Other resource-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates see hydroponics as the only solution for providing hyper local, fresh, nutritious food.

Jordan-hydroponics-eco-consult-a

As a result of this water scarcity problem, Jordan sees potential in hydroponic agricultural projects, which are said to use as much as 90 percent less water over conventional soil-based agriculture.

The Kingdom of Jordan is seeing commercial opportunities for local hydroponic farming and is getting some help from the USAID Hydroponic Green Farming Initiative (HGFI). Hydroponic agricultural projects growing vegetables by both hydroponic and organic methods were the subject of an event held in May 2015, where US Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells featured these vegetables in an event with Jordanian governmental officials and local producers.

The event was aimed at showing how use of hydroponic growing techniques not only saves water resources but produces high quality yields as well. Ambassador Wells told the participants:

“The future of hydroponic farming techniques is bright in Jordan. Hydroponic farming techniques are well-suited toward maximizing Jordan’s scarce supply of water. From my visits to hydroponic farms in the Jordan Valley, I’ve seen that the potential to grow more produce through hydroponic techniques is significant, given the minimal additional investment required to implement them.”

vilsack-wells-jordan-2015-may_0

She added that hydroponic agriculture maximizes Jordan’s scarce water supplies. Her visits to hydroponic projects in the Jordan Valley indicate a good potential for this type of agriculture, with just a minimal additional investment required.

Chefs who attended the event were able to see the quality of the hydroponically-grown produce, which often uses no pesticides. Um Ali, who heads a woman’s agricultural cooperative in the north of Jordan, told the gathering that production of herbs like thyme is much better using hydroponic agriculture than by traditional soil methods:

“Our thyme production from hydroponic farming is far better than traditional soil farming. It uses much less water, which is scarce in Jordan. Our production is clean from soil diseases,” she said.

YouTube Preview Image

Building reliable markets for hydroponically-grown produce is equally important. The USAID program is designed to build greater awareness of the advantages of hydroponically-grown produce, and the chefs in attendance at the reception were able to experience first-hand the quality of produce from hydroponic fields. Developing strong domestic markets for produce will assist farmers in balancing the cyclical nature of produce grown for export.

Developing tools and an industry for hydroponics in the Middle East is just as important. Consider this super cool American company flux from New York powering up the entire industry by providing powerful monitors and controls for hydroponic farms, in the same way that Mobileye enables self-driving Tesla cars. The global market flux is tapping into will grow from about $19 billion today to $27 billion in 4 years. It’s a massive opportunity since there are few global players with no dominant, affordable solution for new businesses.

Jordan can and should be a part of that.

More about hydroponic agriculture in the Middle East:
Hydroponics in Qatar
Saudi Arabia’s OAXIS hydroponic food belt
Khalifa hydroponic farms paying off
Grow fresh food in the middle of Manhattan?
Hanging gardens of Babylon inspire water farming called hydroponics

Maurice Picow grew up in Oklahoma City, U.S.A., where he received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration. Following graduation, Maurice embarked on a career as a real estate broker before making the decision to make Aliyah to Israel. After arriving in Israel, he came involved in the insurance agency business and later in the moving and international relocation fields. Maurice became interested in writing news and commentary articles in the late 1990’s, and now writes feature articles for the The Jerusalem Post as well as being a regular contributor to Green Prophet. He has also written a non-fiction study on Islam, a two volume adventure novel, and is completing a romance novel about a forbidden love affair. Writing topics of particular interest for Green Prophet are those dealing with global warming and climate change, as well as clean technology – particularly electric cars. Maurice can be reached at maurice (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

View the original article here

Plants give biofeedback to optimize their own light levels in hydroponics – Green Prophet

biofeedback-lighting-plants

Controlled environment agriculture is rapidly becoming an important part of the global food system. For example, there has been much interest in the potential of large-scale, indoor agricultural production – often referred to as vertical farming – as a means to produce high quantities of produce.

These “plant factories” are expensive to operate, however, in part because of the large power requirements of electric lamps that provide the type and amount of light necessary for photosynthesis in plants.

See related: flux device monitors and controls your food destiny

To find new methods of adapting lighting to plants’ requirements in controlled environments such as vertical farms, researchers from the University of Georgia, Athens developed and tested a biofeedback system that allows for the control of light levels based on the physiological performance of the plants. “Controlling the intensity of light based on plants’ ability to use it efficiently may substantially reduce the energy cost of LED lighting, and contribute to making large-scale controlled environment agriculture more profitable,” one of the researchers reported.

The researchers used lettuce, pothos, and sweet potato plants in experiments with photosynthetic light provided by a 400-Watt LED. Using chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, a data-logger determined how efficiently the plants used the light they received.

This data was used to calculate the electron transport rate (ETR), which is an indicator of photosynthesis. The data-logger then altered the duty cycle (the proportion of time that the LEDs are energized during each short on/off cycle) of the LEDs to provide more or less light.

The target ETR was altered in a stepwise pattern over a 15-h period. The biofeedback system was capable of automatically adjusting the light levels to assure that the desired ETR was reached. As the target ETR was increased, light levels increased as well. In addition, conversion of light energy into heat (a common way for plants to deal with excess light) was upregulated, while the light use efficiency decreased.

As the target ETR was decreased during the last 7 hours, conversion of light into heat decreased greatly in lettuce and pothos, with only a small increase in light use efficiency: “This suggests that the light use efficiency of lettuce and pothos was limited by a process other than conversion into heat, likely light-induced damage to the photosynthetic machinery in the leaves,” the authors noted.

“The biofeedback system successfully maintained a wide range of ETR values in different species, while it also is capable of distinguishing between conversion of light into heat and damage to the photosynthetic machinery as causes for decreases in light use efficiency,” the authors said.

They said the biofeedback system has potential applications in controlled environment agriculture, as well as basic plant physiology studies, where the system can be used to maintain specific levels of physiological activity.

Karin’s interests intersect in the worlds of the environment, technology, activism and Middle East politics. Blogging for some of the most influential media outlets in the “green” world, such as TreeHugger, and The Huffington Post, Karin founded Green Prophet to share the enormous potential of new clean technologies, and environmental awareness emanating from the Middle East region. For tips, advertising and editorial inquiries Karin can be reached at [email protected]

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Wipe Out Pests and Mildew with Green Cleaner

By Clayton Carter

More than 500 species of insects, mites, and spiders have developed some level of pesticide resistance since we began spraying them. In any population there will be a few individuals that possess a mechanism to survive exposure. Over time, the resistant few will produce generations that contain this resilience. Spider mites are notorious for rapidly developing resistance to miticides in almost all fruiting crops worldwide. Ultimately, the once-effective product no longer controls the resistant population, which is why we suggest Green Cleaner.green_cleaner

Green Cleaner is our favorite all-in-one natural insecticide, pesticide, miticide, and fungicide. Unlike many other pesticides, Green Cleaner works in a way that will kill adults and eggs with no way that the pests can build up a tolerance.

The answer to your pest and disease woes is actually very simple and made from common ingredients. Our customers in both indoor and in outdoor gardeners are giving us great reviews and feedback to pass along. It dehydrates powdery mildew with a single application and coats the spores to limit any further infections. Wash powdery mildew right off the plant. While we find that most people are using it to control powdery mildew they are also finding it is helping make the growing environment inhospitable to all kinds of mites and other soft bodied insects like: Thrips, Aphids, Whiteflies, Leafminers, Fungus Gnats, Broad Mites, Russet Mites, and Spider Mites.aphid_colony

Non-poisonous and it can be sprayed wearing sandals, shorts, and a tank top – or no clothes if you prefer (don’t forget the sunscreen)! Not only is there no residue left over from an application of Green Cleaner, it can even help wash off other sprays from past use. You can use Green Cleaner comfortably without worrying about any harmful systemic effects from cuttings all the way to late flowering.

Soybean oil coats insects, immobilizing them and beginning to suffocate them by blocking the network of tiny tubes they use to breathe, called tracheae. Sodium laureth sulfate acts as a surfactant which improves the coverage. The sulfates it contains continue to clog up the tracheae, suffocating them dead. Isopropyl alcohol comes into play, drying out the ones that remain by breaking down the thin waxy protective layer they have. The alcohol also helps prevent build up on the plant. Wrapping it all up is citric acid to alter the surface pH and giving the plant natural anti-fungal properties. Citric acid also prevents oxidation of the essential plant oils so Green Cleaner is safe to use right up until harvest without risk of harming the flavor or smell.

There are many ways that a species can develop resistance.

Metabolic resistance: This is the most common mechanism and often presents the greatest challenge. Insects use their internal enzyme systems to break down insecticides.Altered target-site resistance: The site where the toxin usually binds in the insect becomes modified to reduce the effects.Behavioral resistance: Resistant insects may detect or recognize a danger and avoid the toxin (for instance, they may move to the underside of a sprayed leaf, move deeper in the crop canopy or fly away from the target area).Penetration resistance: Penetration resistance occurs when the insect’s outer cuticle develops barriers which can slow absorption of the chemicals into their bodies. This can protect insects from a wide range of insecticides.

Because Green Cleaner works without penetrating the pest or altering its feeding habits, they cannot develop resistance. Insects would actually have to stop being insects to be safe from Green Cleaner (see: The Fly, it’s great!). No immunity means that you can use it as a stand-alone, or incorporate it into your already effective regimen to prevent resistant bugs from taking hold in your garden.

10 OTIxMDgwMzE4OC5qcGc=Tips on how to use Green Cleaner:
Spray Green Cleaner on plants of every age, from clones through harvest. We find that 1 ounce per gallon used on the entire plant top to bottom 2 days in succession does the trick. If you are spraying Green Cleaner indoors, spray with grow lights OFF & wait until plants are dry before turning lights on.

It will work as a root drench and take out fungus gnats and their larva, but you want to limit it to two applications as Green Cleaner can build up in the soil. GC can take out your beneficials in the soil, so it’s important to replenish your beneficial microbes with compost tea and Mykos. Look for Root Cleaner due out soon for regular drenches.

Green Cleaner suggested use:
2 oz: 1 – 4 gallons
4 oz: 2 – 8 gallons
8 oz: 4 – 16 gallons
32 oz: 16 – 64 gallons
128 oz: 64 – 256 gallons

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