Hydroponic farms are sprouting up across Southwest Florida. But gardeners and farmers aren’t the only ones taking root in the movement.
Local veterans are getting involved in hydroponic farming in an effort to help one another “grow” and “blossom.”
Don Graf has an ambitious plan.
“We’re looking to put about 10 farms up here all on 1/4 acre pieces of land,” said Graf.
And we’re not talking traditional farms. Graf wants to build hydroponic farms. A system that cultivates plants without soil.
“It uses so much less water, fertilizers, practically no pesticides,” said Graf.
The first hydroponic garden will be built here. In front of this new “Made in America” shop located along Cape Coral Parkway.
Graf, who is the vice president of the Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation, says the hydroponic farms will benefit local veterans.
“We can have our veterans own and operate their small little enterprises all of that money will go back to the community,” said Graf.
Denise Muir is the owner of Rabbit Run Hydroponic Farm in Fort Myers. She says the start up costs associated with hydroponic farming is high.
“All these pots and things are very expensive. You’re talking $ 4 for every one of these pots,” said Muir.
And then there’s the cost to install the irrigation system.
“Ours is called run to drain so when the water comes in, any residual runs to the bottom,” said Muir.
Graf’s aware of the start up costs and hopes the city of Cape Coral will donate the farming property. But no cost — he says — is too high to help our local veterans.
“We feel it’s our opportunity and obligation as a community to take care of these guys who have taken care of us,” said Graf.