Franciscan Sisters Learn about Hydroponic Farming

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July 30, 2019

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Rochelle Kerkhof shares an educational summer experience from Nebraska.

Imperial, Nebraska—Agricultural farming can take on a variety of forms and resources especially in the sandhills of southwestern corner of Nebraska! On Saturday, May 18, Sister Michael Ann O’Donnell and Sister Rochelle Kerkhof traveled to the home of Rob and Carma Hartman who have raised ripe, red, juicy, delicious tomatoes using a hydroponic technology system for the past five years. The Hartman’s farm is about 11 miles southwest of Imperial near the smaller town of Champion. Dan graciously conducted a tour of the greenhouse and explained the process in detail to the Sisters as they walked amid the ripening tomato plants strung up all around them.

Hydroponics originates from the ancient Greek, from the words “hydro” which means water and “ponos” which means work. Therefore, hydroponics system farming is an agricultural practice where the cultivation of plants is done without the use of soil. Plants are planted in mineral solutions (water) without soil. This practice dates back a long time ago, and it is thought that it was first used in Hanging Gardens of Babylon. As time passed more and more advancements were made in this almost magical discovery and books were published to document it. It demands constant pruning and vigilant care as the product is being produced; however, the outcomes are ‘out of the world’ delicious.

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