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NASA's Space Farming Has Sarasota Roots

Sustainable food production is the next step in advancing manned space travel, and NASA has already begun growing vegetables on the International Space Station (ISS) through their " Veggie" project. The research will play a key role in feeding future astronauts on an anticipated mission to Mars, and the technology and expertise has roots in Southwest Florida

Sarasota-based fertilizer company  Florikan designed the controlled-release fertilizer used last year to grow red romaine lettuce in space. Also based in Sarasota,  Sweetgrass Farms has now grown 36 different plant varieties, from tomatoes to cabbage to basil, that NASA hopes to soon grow in orbit. We’ll explore the experimental growing techniques, and cutting-edge agricultural science, that is making it possible for NASA's astronaut farmers to grow their own food in space.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly with a crop of red romaine lettuce in August of 2015.
Credit NASA
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly with a crop of red romaine lettuce in August of 2015.


Trent Smith, NASA Project Manager for the Veggie Facility on the ISS

Ed Rosenthal, creator of the Florikan fertilizer being used on the ISS.

Dr. Jim Demler, Physician and Owner of Sweetgrass Farms in Sarasota

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