Debate between traditional, hydroponic farming grows
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
CHARLOTTE — A battle is bubbling up between North Carolina farmers and scientists over the future of growing food.
Some believe hydroponics is the future of farming. But some farmers say traditional methods can't be replaced. More North Carolina colleges are putting it to the test.
Owner of Brafford's Greenhouses Marty Brafford has been in the gardening and crop farming business for 48 years. Over the years, he said he has perfected his craft and said he is not too sure about the idea of hydroponics.
"I don't see how you can have a quality vegetable, growing it hydroponically, compared to the Earth," said Brafford.
Johnson C. Smith University is trying to prove him wrong by building a hydroponic system.
Biology professor, Philip Otienoburu, said the technology is genius.
"It's a sustainable form of farming in the sense that one, you're growing crops and two cultivating fish in one closed loop," said Otienoburu.
Hydroponics, also referred to as aquaponics, uses the waste from fish to feed the plants growing inside the tanks, like lettuce or tomatoes.
Biologists said being able to control the environment makes for a quality product.
"You know all the material that you have, you know where they came from and you know what you're putting in to it," said Otienoburu.
While Otienoburu said studies have shown that nothing is lost in terms of nutrients or taste;
that is something Brafford said he is not willing to risk.
"Anytime you plant vegetables in anything kind of artificial-like, I would call it, it doesn't have the same flavor," said Brafford.
Scientists hope hydroponics will continue to catch on and be used all over the world. But for Brafford, the traditional way of growing plants, suits him just fine.
The official grand opening of the Aquaponic Garden at Johnson C. Smith University will be held on April 1.