Correction: Arctic Farming story

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — In a story Nov. 4 about hydroponic farming in Alaska, The Associated Press reported erroneously the first name of a founder of Vertical Harvest Hydroponics in Anchorage. His name is Dan Perpich, not Ron Perpich.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Arctic farming: Town defies icy conditions with hydroponics

A creative kind of farming is taking root in a coastal hub town above Alaska's Arctic Circle

By RACHEL D'ORO

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The landscape is virtually treeless around a coastal hub town above Alaska's Arctic Circle, where even summer temperatures are too cold for boreal roots to take hold.

Amid these unforgiving conditions, a creative kind of farming is sprouting up in the largely Inupiat community of Kotzebue.

A subsidiary of a local Native corporation is using hydroponics technology to grow produce inside an insulated, 40-foot shipping container equipped with glowing magenta LED lights. Arctic Greens is harvesting kale, various lettuces, basil and other greens weekly from the soil-free system and selling them at the supermarket in the community of nearly 3,300.

"We're learning," Will Anderson, president of the Native Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corp., said of the business launched last spring. "We're not a farming culture."

The venture is the first of its kind north of the Arctic Circle, according to the manufacturer of Kotzebue's pesticide-free system. The goal is to set up similar systems in partnerships with other rural communities far from Alaska's minimal road system — where steeply priced vegetables can be more than a week in transit and past their prime by the time they arrive at local stores.

There are other tools for extending the short growing season in a state with cold soil. One increasingly popular method involves high tunnels, tall hoop-shaped structures that cover crops.

But the season can last year-round with indoor hydroponics, which uses water and nutrients to grow vertically stacked plants rooted in a binding material such as rock wool.

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