With Water in The West Scarce, Some Tomato Farmers Look To Hydroponics

On Scott Beylik’s 4-acre farm about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, rows of tomato vines climb wires strung from the beams of his greenhouses. There’s no soil, so the roots are submerged in little bags with water. Every drop of water he uses goes directly to the plant.

s the drought in the West drags on, the future of water-loving crops like tomatoes hangs in the balance. Hydroponic farming — the technique Beylik farms with — uses as little as 10% of the water traditional systems use to grow tomatoes and other field crops.