Two Utah farms produce kitchen staples with less water

When the owners of R&A Hydroponics first began cleaning their greenhouse, Ron Murphy thought it would alert the local authorities. “I swear I thought the cops were coming,” he chuckled. “When we opened the door, it just smelled like, you know, marijuana.”

Ron, 59, and Anita Murphy, 58, bought their fully equipped hydroponic farm in West Jordan from a licensed hemp grower. The 4,200-square-foot greenhouse is what caused them to jump at the opportunity in March of last year.

To conserve water and save on their utility bills, the Murphys opted to replace their grass lawn at their old home in Sandy with a small vertical farm. They grew cherry tomatoes, various herbs, and peppers. The taste of sustainable farming had them searching for new properties so they could expand their hobby into an income.

For Anita, their little farm presented them with an opportunity to feed the community. “People who are low income can still eat healthily,” Anita said, “that’s really what has been motivating me.”

Inside their greenhouse lay rows of greens like sage, lettuce, kale, and catnip. They’ve grown a variety of produce since they owned the farm. Right now, they’re growing Marigolds (not only are the flowers beautiful, but they’re also delicious) to put in the salad mixes they sell at local farmers’ markets.

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