As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary celebration, we are profiling industry people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its sixth week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Todd Lighthouse of Lighthouse Gardens in Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
Age – 32
His Job–Todd is the sole proprietor and head grower at Lighthouse Gardens in Honeoye Falls, N.Y. He’s also the company’s founder, and he has bachelor’s degrees in biology and anthropology with a concentration in ethnobotany.
Craving Pressure–Whether the ideas Todd implements succeed or fail, he is accountable for everything at Lighthouse Gardens. “It is incredibly empowering to know that you control every aspect of your business and which path your business will take,” he says.
A Martial Artist–Todd practices Aikido, a modern martial art defined as the way of harmony. He even transfers the principles of Aikido to greenhouse growing. “I find that working nature, using passive ventilation and beneficial insects, (that) my crops are demonstrably superior,” he says. Todd also backpacks in the Adirondacks as a way to stay grounded when he steps away from the business.
Challenges With Organics–Conventional culture notes don’t apply to organic greenhouse production, and crop timing and nutrition requirements are much different when growing organically, Todd says, compared to more conventional methods. “After growing conventionally before starting my business, I found it difficult to monitor fertility and plant nutrition without the use of EC/pH meters,” he says. “It was hard to give up those sources of immediate feedback.”
Twenty-Five Years From Now–Look no further than organic food crop agriculture, Todd says, for a glimpse of the future of greenhouse production. He specifically envisions a combination of the efficiency of Dutch greenhouse technologies with the farming practices of organic agriculture.
Why He’s One To Watch–Lighthouse Gardens is a startup greenhouse that has an interesting business plan of providing organically grown plants that can be shipped directly to your door. “I grow ornamental plants, not just herbs and vegetable starts, using organic growing methods,” Todd says. He’s also proud of the fact that he discloses every input and spray application on the company Web site, and he’s a member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA).
If there are other industry people we should consider for our Ones To Watch series, e-mail your suggestions to [email protected].