Vertical Farming

November 21 2012

Alterrus Systems has built a rooftop greenhouse called Local Garden.  It's a vertical farming system on the top floor of a downtown parkade in Vancouver, B.C. - the first North American commercial farming operation set up in a parking lot.  Urban gardening has become quite popular over the years in backyards and community rooftop gardens but this is the first commercial scale operation in the heart of a busy metropolitan.

Local Garden uses a system called VertiCrop which provides a cost effective solution for local crop production with significant savings over traditional field agriculture.  The VertiCrop system produces up to 20 times the yield of field crops and uses only 8% of the water required for traditional land farming.  The VertiCrop  system can grow up to 80 varieties of leafy green vegetables and does not require the use of any harmful herbicides or pesticides.  It also works on a conveyor belt system so all of the crops get maximum exposure to light and precisely measured nutrients for each plant.

Yesterday was the first commercial harvest for the Local Garden.  They are hoping to produce up to 150,000 pounds of leafy green vegetables and herbs each year and will supply local Vancouver restaurants and grocers.  

Here is a quote form the CEO, Christopher Ng.

"We believe this technology has the potential to transform Vancouver's food system.  Vancouver produces a small percentage of its own food. We view Local Garden as part of a transition to a more sustainable model of food production and delivery."

And the other cool thing about this project.. Alterrus has hired workers for the Local Garden from a local non-profit group that helps people on the verge of poverty.  And even though it will only be a small number of people employed to harvest and package the fresh produce on site, it's still a great way to support and give back to the community!
Article by (Train Online)  |  November 21 2012

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