Most, if not all, greenhouses recycle water. But Village Farms, Eatontown, N.J., has taken it one step further, blending its water conservation program into a land preservation program at two greenhouses in Texas.

Village Farms greenhouses optimize water use

Courtesy Village Farms

Once Village Farms has recycled water several times through its greenhouses in Marfa and Fort Davis, Texas, it funnels it into a lined pool outside where it can be used as irrigation water for surrounding prairie land.

Company co-founders Albert Vanzeyst and Michael DeGiglio came up with a system where the water used to irrigate plants inside the greenhouse eventually is used as irrigation water for land adjacent to the greenhouses, according to a news release.

The system, which has been installed at Village Farms greenhouses in Marfa and Fort Davis, Texas, a desert area in the upper Rio Grande region on the western side of the state, works quite simply.

Water is pumped into the greenhouse from wells and into holding tanks, where it is mixed with essential nutrients. That water is then circulated through a gutter system to plants.

The water is recirculated several times, until the nutrient content is diluted so much it no longer is optimal for the vegetables. Then the water runs off into a lined holding pond outside the greenhouse. From there, it is pumped out through irrigation pipes to pivot sprinklers where it is used to irrigate ranchland.

According to the release, land that once was barren desert now is lush with prairie grasses capable of sustaining cattle grazing year-round.

The program has been well-received by the state and locally by ranchers in Marfa and Fort Davis, according to the release.

Village Farms has worked with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality in determining the right amounts of fertilizer and irrigation rates for the grass to ensure it’s environmentally safe. Village Farms will sample soil annually to ensure there are no long-term adverse effects to the irrigated area.