CEA Farms in Hillsboro, Loudoun Country, Virginia, has added a large hydroponic greenhouse to their historic farm-site.
Smaller farms that are close to metropolitan areas have been working to introduce levels of creativity to boost their income and keep their doors open. Some have turned towards high-end restaurants, and some farm-tours, and some sleep-away camps. This trend highlights what the small farmer of today needs to do to continue to be successful: diversify!
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Now when restaurants and other consumers want fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter, that in their words "actually taste like a tomato" they come to Virts farm. Additionally, having the greenhouse has helped drive more tourists to the farm – a sector of the business they want to expand with an observation area and farm-to-table restaurant.
Like any solid investment strategy, diversification is the key. Hydroponics, aquaculture, and aquaponics are never going to be our sole source of food production going forward. But as climate change increases and growing outdoors becomes increasingly unpredictable, adoption and integration of these growing methods into existing SME farms can help farmers weather the bad times, and become increasingly profitable during the good.