How a Commercial Hydroponics Operation Works: Interview with Vitalii Jidkov

Ed Wike
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Interview Highlights

Why did you decide to work with hydroponics your life?

Since I was a child I was never attached to mother and father land, Ukraine. I always wanted to start my own business. While working as a freelance programmer, I fell in love with hydroponics, it was very intriguing. I started my own farm. I did not have major experience but my own interests and determination helped me move forward and gave me a base for further improvement.

What IS your average day?

I wake up around 5 p.m. and immediately check the farm status and go to the farm straight from bed. If nothing is wrong the work continues regardless of how late I will be working. We are very busy during the high season, may be coming back at 4 a.m. Sometimes I have a day off, but I still do not sleep more than 5 h a day.

How big is your farm now?

It grows every year. During the next full season we are going to have approx. one million plants.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?


George: Today I'm here with Vitalii Jidkov, a seasoned hydroponic farmer and a pioneer in the US hydroponics industry. Take it away, Vitalii.

Vitalii: Thank you, George. Thanks for having me on. My name is Vitalii Jidkov. I am from Ukraine, where I ran a large-scale hydroponic greenhouse for five years. Currently I'm the Manager of a company called UrbanFarmer, which is an education and consulting firm for commercial level indoor agriculture and the use of industrial vertical farming techniques.

George: Can you tell us a little bit about that company and what you guys do?

Vitalii: Sure. UrbanFarmer is a consulting company, and we do two things. First we do consulting to farmers and managers of indoor agriculture businesses, and we manage all the aspects that are related to the farms and the production. We also have a large trade show where we invite a variety of manufacturers, growers, biologists, and chefs around the world as well as the local community.

George: Can you tell me what makes somebody an urban farmer?