By David Kuack
Tim Blank has grown many food crops from around the world in many types of hydroponic growing systems. Now his mission is to educate urban and commercial growers on how to be successful producing more food in less space using vertical aeroponics.
Tim Blank knows a thing or two about hydroponic food production. Prior to starting his own company Future Growing in 2005, Blank had a 12-year career working at Walt Disney World’s Land Pavilion at Epcot in Florida. “I initially worked as a research scientist with NASA, the Department of Energy and USDA on various research hydroponic projects in the Land Pavilion,” Blank said. “The Land is the largest and most diverse hydroponic research and showcase facility in the world. When I was there we were growing 100 different food crops from around the world year-round, using every form of hydroponic production imaginable. That included everything from floating culture to a futuristic greenhouse where we did vertical aeroponics.” In 2000, Blank became the Land’s greenhouse operations manager overseeing the whole facility. “I was in the greenhouses producing the crops,” he said. “I was also traveling around the U.S. looking at technology, sharing what we were doing at Epcot and bringing back technology and ideas that could be incorporated into the research and educational displays in the Land. One of our larger displays was a production greenhouse where we demonstrated all of the traditional commercial hydroponic systems. Vine crops, including tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and eggplants were produced along with lettuce and herbs in grow bags and buckets, floating culture and channel culture.”