Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Simplifed Hydroponics and Urban Agriculture in Uruguay and Ecuador

Ing. Agr. (M. Sc) Martin Caldeyro Stajano
Asociaci—n Uruguaya de Hidroponia
Web site:

Martin Caldeyro, President of the Uruguayan Association of Hydroponics, has been working on Hydroponics, Simplifed Hydroponics and Urban Agriculture since 1994. He has sent us three articles about Simplified Hydropnics in Uruguay and Ecuador recently published by an Australian Magazine (Practical Hydroponics and Greenhouses).

All four papers in Spanish:

La Hidropon’a Simplificada como Tecnolog’a Apropiada, para implementar la Seguridad Alimentaria en la Agricultura Urbana. (PDF. 288K)

La Huerta Hidrop—nica Familiar, Como Estrategia De Seguridad Alimentaria Y Nutricional, Para Poblaci—n Urbana De Escasos Recursos. Un Estudio De Caso En El Uruguay. (PDF. 288K)

La Hidropon’a Simplificada : Como Estrategia para estimular el " Contacto con la Naturaleza y mejorar los H‡bitos Alimenticios ", integrada al Plan de Educaci—n formal de los Ni–os de 4 a–os de edad. (PDF. 392K)

Hidropon’a Simplificada : Mejoramiento De La Seguridad Alimentaria Y Nutricional En Ni–os De 0 A 6 A–os En Ecuador (PDF. 512K)

Simplified Hydroponics as an Appropriate Technology to Implement Food Security in Urban Agriculture.

Currently, the use of Simplified Hydroponics technology is not widespread. Among the factors that account for this are the following:

* Scarce dissemination of information concerning the benefits of the technology.
* Constraints regarding the availability of trained technicians with a working knowledge of SH and who produce the nutrient solution locally and at a low cost.
* Prevalence of the organic agriculture paradigm, where fertilizers are seen as toxic.

It would be valuable for SH programs of this nature to be implemented by governments, municipalities, non-government organizations and International Agencies. Such programs could train more technicians to teach Simplified Hydroponics and provide easier access for nutrients solutions. To ensure food safety to the end consumer, there needs to be a plan from seed to plate. Such a plan needs to look at familiar cost-effective rainwater catchment systems and/or water purification using chlorine and simple filters. It is also necessary to continue researching more options that can be adapted to this urban environment.

Fortunately, successful experiences with SH are available, applied to urban populations with low income populations. These programs started as a result of private and government initiatives, including international programs. These organizations have found that Simplified Hydroponics is a good alternative for producing safer urban crops and they have committed themselves to long-term results.

Low-cost Simplified Hydroponics should be encouraged as one of the basic tools for Urban Agriculture worldwide, where it can be adapted to conditions in urban and peri-urban areas to enhance food security.

Simplified Hydroponics as an Appropriate Technology to Implement Food Security in Urban Agriculture (PDF. 220K)

Simplified Hydroponics in Uruguay

Simplified Hydroponics has provided real solutions for low-income families and impoverished communities in many parts of the world. MARTIN CALDEYRO describes one innovative project in Uruguay that has improved family health and living standards, and is a model for other communities in Latin America to follow.

Improved family income - Several participants have improved their family income. In most cases, the participants have not earned money, but they have provided nutritious vegetables for their family and generated sufficient resources to pay for the expenses of having a vegetable garden. Others have traded their vegetables to shops in the area for other complementary foodstuffs, improving the family diet further. Monetary rewards occurred for those families who had vegetable gardens that exceeded 30m squared, and during the tourist season when demand was greater.

Simplified Hydroponics in Uruguay (PDF. 80K)

Simplified Hydroponics for Kindergartens

When it was ready to harvest, some of the produce was collected (lettuce, chives, radish, basil, etc.) by the children, and washed and prepared in a salad with oil, vinegar, lemon and salt.This was always done under the supervision of a teacher. Snack tables were laid and the children encouraged to taste or eat the salads.The message was: "I taste, if I don't like it, I may leave it", which was very effective.

The children felt free to satisfy their curiosity, and the message stimulated their willingness to explore. In this way, it became an adventure for the children who experienced new tastes, including a hot radish, which was fun to watch at times. Ninety per cent of the children tasted the different types of produce, and many confessed they liked it more than when they were younger. A large number of children simply devoured the offerings.

Simplified Hydroponics for Kindergartens (PDF. 1.5MB)

Simplified Hydroponics In Ecuador

A recent case study in Ecuador demonstrates that hydroponics can provide effective alternatives that can be integrated into food security and nutritional programs for poverty-stricken populations, and in particular for children.

This project demonstrates that the simplified hydroponics system (SH) can be considered an effective alternative for integration into food security and nutritional rural and peri-urban development programs for low-resource populations living under poverty conditions. The enthusiastic acknowledgement by the local communities of the high quality of fresh, non-contaminated vegetables produced by the SH modules, as opposed to the inferior produce available at local markets, has been a crucial factor for increased, ongoing activities. Similar strategies can be utilised in countries with comparable situations, with the aim of improving the nutrition, food security and general welfare conditions of the population concerned.

Simplified Hydroponics in Ecuador (PDF. 280K)

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Revised May 27, 2004

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture