Today was the launch of Vancouver’s Local Garden which is North America’s first Verticrop™ farm, sustainably growing the City’s freshest source of healthy local greens. I was fortunate to attend this rooftop launch party where Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke about this inner-city farm and the first of it’s kind in North America.
Local Garden Vancouver Inc. is set to offer consumers fresh, local produce year-round. It will use VertiCrop, a new technology for growing healthy, natural vegetables in a controlled environment. VertiCrop maximizes space usage and eliminates the need for herbicides and pesticides thereby growing the freshest, healthiest, and best-tasting local produce.
Produce grown at Local Garden Vancouver will be distributed to stores and restaurants mostly within a 10km radius of its downtown location. This will cut down on vehicle emissions and result in a fresher product. Chef Trevor Bird who is not only the 2nd place winner of Top Chef Canada, he also co-owns Fable Kitchen, a restaurant that prides itself on farm to table dining. Trevor was at the launch today where he picked some of the greens and then made a salad for Mayor Gregor Robertson and the other dignitaries to eat.
Local Garden was built on the roof of a parkade at 535 Richards Street in downtown Vancouver. With its innovative growing system they can yield 4 times more than field grown produce and be at 10 times the productivity.
A system of 3000 trays is built on a converter belt where in approx. 18-24 days they are able to grow their produce which includes baby greens, baby kale and other loose leaf greens and then harvest. Handpicked at the peak of freshness and delivered the same day to local restaurants and grocers, means the freshest tasting produce available without the loss of any vitamins, minerals or nutrients.
Vancity recognized the tremendous potential impact this project could have on our environment and community and provided Local Garden Vancouver with financing for the project. Crew from Mission Possible is the labour force, they package the products before they are sold to restaurants and stores. Alterrus’ VertiCrop is launching their first farm in Vancouver, however the R & D was done in the UK.
For more information, check out Local Garden or follow them on Twitter @_LocalGarden
By: Richard Wolak