Why I Grow Plants In Water

David Stack
2 min readApr 29, 2017

Around the time I was working at NASA, I learned about a way to grow plants in water without using soil.

Hydroponic greenhouse in Southern California growing lettuce.

I knew this revolutionary technology was going to change how we grow, distribute, and consume food, but I had no idea how involved I would eventually become in making that happen.

This method of growing plants, known as hydroponics or hydroculture, uses nutrients dissolved in water instead of soil. It’s great for novice and experienced gardeners alike, and is becoming ever more popular with both commercial and home growers around the world.

I describe why it’s so popular in another post, but here I want to share why I am so passionate about helping others grow their own food using soil-free gardening.

I want to help people fall in love with what they eat.

Today, humanity faces incredible challenges — none like anything we’ve ever faced before. To have any hope of overcoming them, we need to work together. Both for our own sake, and that of future generations.

One of the biggest challenges we face today is that our food system is unsustainable and unhealthy for both humanity and the planet.

This is the fundamental reason why we need to build a better food system. This may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but it’s important that we start somewhere.

While growing food with a single plant isn’t going to solve the problem with our global food system, it’s the first step.

In addition to a healthier society and planet, the fresh food — I mean truly fresh food — that you get from soil-free gardening is unbeatable in both flavor and nutrition. And who can say no to that?

Your life changes when you’re closer to how life works.

When I started growing plants indoors I thought it was just going to give me some extra food every so often. I wasn’t wrong, but I underestimated the incredible effect it would have on me.

Caring for and watching a living organism grow all the way from seed to maturity is humbling. It’s nature at its finest, and there’s something inherently human about it. It’s what our species has done since the dawn of agriculture some 12,000 years ago, and what we do regularly with our own families and within our communities.

We love.

The only way to love what you eat is by growing what you love.



David Stack

Full stack software engineer and entrepreneur. Let’s solve climate change by upgrading our systems.