Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium (known as geoponics).
The basic principle of aeroponic growing is to grow plants suspended in a closed or semi-closed environment by spraying the plant's dangling roots and lower stem with an atomized or sprayed, nutrient-rich water solution. The leaves and crown, often called the "canopy", extend above. The roots of the plant are separated by the plant support structure.
The use of aeroponic, indoor growing technology allows for year round production. It provides the optimal growing environment for wholesale organic produce farmers.
Some growers favor aeroponic systems over other methods of indoor growing because the increased aeration of nutrient solution delivers more oxygen to plant roots, stimulating growth and helping to prevent pathogen formation
Nutrient film technique (NFT) is a hydroponic technique wherein a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is re-circulated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels.
In an ideal system, the depth of the recirculating stream should be very shallow, little more than a film of water, hence the name 'nutrient film'. This ensures that the thick root mat, which develops in the bottom of the channel, has an upper surface, which, although moist, is in the air.
Similar to aeroponics, NFT systems allow for an abundant supply of oxygen to the roots of the plants.
A deciding factor in the final selection of the first location for Organics in the Chicagoland area is the ability to implement a portion of the facility to be used as an urban renewable energy farm. Phases in the build out of the farm will include adding electric generating wind turbines and solar panels, which will be located on the rooftop. Organics will also add an internal geothermal heating & cooling system.
The organization hopes to supplement from 80% to 100% of the total electricity needed to operate the facility by utilizing these technologies. The farm will be used to not only provide relief to the most expensive cost of an urban farm – electricity – but will be used to educate guests on different renewable energy technologies.