The terms “hydroponic” or “indoor growing” are often attached to an illegal gardener attempting to grow marijuana plants without detection, rigging ventilation and looking over their shoulder hoping their crop in an attic, closet, or basement is a success. This is, of course, an inaccurate portrayal of hydroponic growing. However, when most of our food supply (including grains and vegetables) comes from industrial production, the full value and benefits of personal hydroponic growing aren’t always obvious. We are used to buying foods without knowing the source and eating things with a barcode.
Today there aren’t a wealth of examples of people who garden for more than a hobby or a cash crop but this is a strictly modern-day view. A century ago Americans were much more accustomed to growing their own nourishment. During World War 1, it was feasible for the USDA to encourage citizens to grow food and make full use of backyard spaces or even vacant lots.