The Cropking family makes it hydroponics back to school time


Parents are happy to be sending their kids back to school soon. But Green Prophets everywhere know it’s open season to keep learning no matter your age. Urban farming is all the rage. Forget about buying at the Farmer’s Market. What about starting a hydroponics hobby garden or business in your backyard?

Consider that NASA engineers have grown lettuce in space using technology like that innovated at Cropking. The American company has been building high-tech hydroponics farms since 1982.

hydro lettuce cropking

They don’t only build the tools to grow sustainable food on water, but offer teaching resources and workshops too:

Cropking offers regular workshops showing everyday people how to start a small hobby farm, small business or large commercial enterprise that grows food that looks and tastes good. They also have sample business plans to give enthusiasts help off the ground so they can meet the bottom line.


There are truckloads of newcomers to the industry of hydroponic food growing. Hydroponics means growing food on water, using added nutrients in a controlled setting. And we see new companies emerge every day.

RELATED: this food computer called flux can grow food like NASA

Cropking, a family owned business, isn’t an overnight story. This is one of those salt of the earth companies that has pushed the entire hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics industries forward. They build solutions for businesses and commercial hydroponic farms, but also sell consumer and small business size set ups as well.

Hydroponics shows immense promise for fulfilling the 100-Mile diet, but also for feeding people in landlocked desert environments where water is limited. Listen up California: hydroponics actually uses 90% less water than soil-based farming and you can grow an acre’s worth of food inside an area the size of a shipping container.


How to start a hydroponics farm?

Currently there is no age-old tradition of hydroponics farming, or a Farmer’s Almanac on how it’s done. Doing it right means meeting with experts with experience.

If you want to do a workshop with Cropking, you might have to fly in to the United States or organize a group and invite the company to you. Workshops are usually in Lodi, Ohio from May through the end of summer, but based on demand Cropking gives courses throughout the United States.

The next workshop is scheduled for Sept 18 to 19 in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, then October 1 to 2 in Lodi, Ohio. In October meet in Madras, Oregon and in November from the 6 to the 7 there will be a workshop in North Charleston, South Carolina.

When the courses are done off-site (outside of Lodi, Ohio) Cropking rents a hotel conference room and caps “students” at 26 to 28 people. And you’ll get to meet salt of the earth people like J. Paul Brentlinger (left) from Cropking who tells Green Prophet:

“We have been helping people get set up in commercial vegetable crop production since 1982 and have growing operations in all 50 states and in many countries around the world.”

It’s back to school time for earth lovers and those dreaming of setting up hydroponics as a small business. And while you are munching on your freshly picked-that-day lettuce think of the astronauts who are doing it too.

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