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Growing food for the animals in Paignton Zoo’s Vertical Farm

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When zoo animals want fresh greens (and bright reds and oranges) to eat, there’s no better solution than growing those vegetables at the zoo. But when you don’t have a lot of space or money (or sometimes sun when you’re living in more rainy climates like the UK), how do you grow enough food? Vertical Farms have become the solution. From The Guardian

The 100 square metre farm at Paignton Zoo grows leaf vegetables for animal feed. It applies a technique called hydroponics, where plants are grown in nutrient rich solutions instead of soil. Stacked in trays eight layers high, the crops are continually rotated to ensure that all have adequate access to air and sunlight. The system also allows nutrients that have not been directly taken up by the plants to be collected and recirculated, along with the water, reducing usage and minimising waste.

Vertical farming has enormous potential for urban/rooftop farming, as well. It uses less space, less water and less energy, can be solar-powered, and doesn’t need to be transported far to reach the people who are purchasing and eating the produce. 

From the archives, more hydroponic farming: Swaziland Teens Win “Science in Action” Award and the NY Sunworks Science Barge

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