Local project to grow produce hydroponically moving ahead

By Kathleen Barran / The Citizen
Sunday, January 3, 2010
“A project to grow produce hydroponically has made significant headway since the idea was first proposed to the town of Aurelius in July 2008.
Jean Siracusa, Owasco Valley Audubon Society president, organized the building of three greenhouses as part of a program designed for hydroponic produce. Installation of green energy, including thermal energy and a planned windmill for renewable energy to make the project self-sustaining, is now in progress.

The town is considering being the lead agency for the windmill so the nonprofit organization can apply for a grant. The town planning board has already approved the plans. Siracusa hopes to have the 100-foot windmill in place by spring.

“We’re carbon neutral, fossil fuel free and there are no herbicides,” Siracusa said.

“Our real goal is to have local produce available to people regardless of their income,” she said. She also talked of not just growing vegetables but “growing a generation that’s more aware. We just want to teach people how to grow food.”

There are seven or eight kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and string beans among the heirloom plants grown or being grown. Siracusa said she would like to start her own mixes and buy seeds from a number of organic companies.

Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES students helped with grading, design work and the logo for the project, located at 584 Turnpike Road. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority reimbursed the contractor for the geothermal installation, and Pyrrus Energy, of Weedsport, will install the windmill…”


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