More Australians are growing their own vegetables as a cheap alternative to unpredictable produce prices caused by record rains and flooding. But with backyard plots facing the same problems as the agriculture sector, hydroponics is increasingly seen as a solution.
Bunnings Warehouse said they had "seen an increase in popularity for edible plants such as herbs and vegetables," but heavy rain had made growing vegetables as difficult as affording them. Noah Verin from Urban Green, a vertical farm set up in an underground car park at Barangaroo in central Sydney, said hydroponics were not only more reliable, but when grown in urban areas, easier to get to market and therefore fresher.
"There are so many different methods of farming in an urban context, so it's hard to say that anyone is 'the future,' but I would say that hydroponics will be an important component of the future of urban farming," he said.
Urban Green, which claims to be the first indoor commercial farm in Sydney, is currently only growing microgreens and spouts for the restaurant trade. Verin said the company might begin to grow lettuce and edible flowers in the future but that these larger greens are much more difficult to grow on vertical farms because they require more space.
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