hydroponics and aquaponics farm breaks new ground in Grand Canyon Junction | Williams-Grand Canyon News
Hydroponics and aquaponics, that is, growing plants without soil, is breaking new ground at Grand Canyon Junction and Stoney Ward, resident and health enthusiast, is excited to share his dream.
Called Spirit of the Canyon, Ward says his mission is to help people by educating them about the hydroponic gardening system so they can grow vegetables at home.
“I love plants and have found a way to make it easy to grow fresh vegetables all year round,” he said. “I want to teach people how they can be self-reliant without owning acres of land. “
Hydroponics and aquaponics help the environment by conserving water, as the same water is used to continuously circulate through the system to nourish the plants.
“A lot of people don’t realize they can grow food without a lot of land or soil,” Ward said. “Green microgreens are a great example of a low cost, highly nutritious food.”
Ward said growing food helps the public to be less reliant on big business and not only provides healthy food for families but also a sense of accomplishment.
“Hydroponics uses a circulating water system that circulates with air and the air creates oxygen for the plants. By using nutrition to feed the plants, they get vitamins that encourage much faster growth, ”he said. “I can grow lettuce from start to finish in under 30 days. ”
In combination with hydroponics, aquaponics grows fish and other aquatic animals and their suckers or wastes are then used to feed the plants. In turn, the vegetables clean up the water, which is recycled back into the fish.
“The two foods nourish the plants, which results in a perfect collaboration,” explained Ward. “Once people have tasted these fresh organic vegetables, they will love them and want to start growing them themselves. ”
Ward said his goal is to change the world one plant at a time.
“People are realizing that they can be self-reliant without owning acres of land. Urban agriculture is really important right now, ”he said.
Along with Ward’s ranch at Grand Canyon Junction, he will also take his mobile project.
“I have a trailer that will be fully operational by November of this year. I will be transporting vegetables to Tusayan and Williams giving samples and selling my starter kits, ”he said.
He would also like to donate free products to those in need as well as donate to local food banks.
“It’s my way of giving back to the community,” he said. “I will also be offering educational events where groups can come to the ranch to learn how the system works, how to create their own backyard, and how to eat healthier without breaking the bank.”
Ward plans to visit schools and other institutions in Coconino County to show how the system works. It will also sell its fresh vegetables, microgreens and fruits as well as direct sales to customers.
His farm took him three months to build.
“It would have taken someone else a year, but I spent a lot of time on it,” he said. “I started with a vision and widened it.”
Currently, Ward has chickens, ducks and goats, which supplement his personal food source. He’s planning a retreat center at his ranch in Grand Canyon Junction for groups looking for an outdoor experience. He also integrated solar energy into his project.
More information on Spirit of the Canyon is available from Ward at (702) 333-8361.