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Sustainable Agriculture and Research Center at Walt Disney World


Walt Disney World has a wonderful array of green sustainable agriculture. Priding themselves on creating the “visions of the future,” EPCOT (One of Disney’s main parks) is home to a large research facility that conducts experiments in agricultural technology. With their desire to create high-yielding indoor farming options, Disney has pioneered a new world of Hydroponics based off of experimental processes. One of the most popular forms of Hydroponic gardening researched by Disney is Aeroponics. Using this method, plants are either suspended via a pole of some kind and allowed to grow in the open air or suspended in a box-like apparatus that allows for their roots to grow without contamination. The roots are sprayed with a nutrient rich water continually. While it may not seem like growing plants with or without dirt would make much difference to the overall fruit or vegetable, the difference is actually staggering. By allowing them to grow without soil with a continuous mist of nutrients, plants grown by Aeroponics are actually healthier and absorb more of the “food” that is in their spray. Because they are able to absorb more of the nutrients, they also grow faster, creating a more economically-friendly and higher yielding crop than traditional soil based agriculture.

Bag culture is another method of Hydroponics used by Disney. This method is a bit more in-depth than Aerophonics, but has yields just as much crop and is much easier to duplicate at home. A grow bag is filled with a medium of some form, be it saw dust, bark, rice hull mixtures, or another natural absorbent. The bag, prefixed with drain holes, holds a spray pipe, the growing medium, and the plant itself. This method is often used as a suspension method, where the plants are hung instead of allowed to sit on a surface. Over the course of the day, the plant is sprayed with a nutrient rich solution similar to that used in Aeroponics. Absorption of this nutrient solution is slightly slower in bag culture than in Aeroponics, but the growth rate is only slightly variant. Similarly, Nutrient Film Techniques involve growing the roots of a plant in a water-tight pipe through which a constant stream of nutrient rich solution is passed over bare roots.

The many varieties of Hydroponics used by Disney are possible to duplicate at home, and have fast grow rate resulting in a high-product yield. Not only do Hydroponically grown plants grow faster, but they also have a higher nutrient density than soil grown plants. Many of the fruits and vegetables grown at Disney are used in their restaurants, allowing for healthy options wherever one might find themselves in the Walt Disney World Parks.

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