#CBC: “Tiny farm grows large crop in outdated Dartmouth transport container ” #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada
Very Local Greens planted itself in a big car parking zone throughout the road from the King’s Wharf improvement. The industrial location is in stark distinction to what’s inside — a tiny, high-tech farm teeming with life.
“The container can essentially hold the same amount of leafy greens as would a traditional two-acre farm,” mentioned Phil Hatcher, who based what he believes to be Nova Scotia’s first freight farm this spring.
Farming inside transport containers is the newest pattern in city agriculture, a technique to get contemporary, native produce even within the lifeless of winter. Containers are proving to be fertile areas as a result of they supply moveability, sustainability and availability.
“We can grow from – 50 C to plus 50 C,” mentioned Hatcher. “It doesn’t really matter, and that’s definitely the goal, is to kind of ramp up for the fall and go right through the winter.”
Step contained in the container and you may hear the mild whir of followers and scent an earthy mixture of cilantro, basil and kale. There’s room for about 5,000 crops, mentioned Hatcher, all grown utilizing hydroponics, so there is no soil, simply water.
The crops develop sideways out of slim columns that dangle from the ceiling. Between the columns are LED lights, which when turned on make the area really feel extra like a nightclub than a farm.
Hatcher mentioned the operation makes use of about 95 per cent much less water than a standard farm.
“We reclaim all of our water from our air conditioning and we reclaim all of our water from our dehumidifier, so we’re actually producing more water than we need right now,” he mentioned.
Hatcher does not have a background in farming. In truth, he spent 15 years working within the movie trade earlier than making a drastic profession change and shopping for a transport container.
It value about $150,000 to arrange the operation due to Freight Farms, a Boston-based enterprise that began manufacturing and promoting the models in 2010.
One of the promoting factors is the farmer’s capacity to regulate every part — from lighting to nutrient ranges — remotely from a cellphone.
“Yes, it’s high-tech in the way that it’s computer controlled and the sensors are all reading different things and crunching numbers, but at the same time it’s pumps and it’s water and it’s tanks and it’s air and it’s light,” mentioned Hatcher.
Robert France, a professor within the college of agriculture at Dalhousie University, mentioned one of many main hurdles for city agriculture is lack of area.
“The advantage of having various containers are that you can just pick up your production system and move it somewhere else should another use come in to dictate the previous site you were in,” mentioned France, who co-edited a e book on city agriculture.
He mentioned farms like this have been in a position to take off thanks to 2 main developments within the final 5 years — LED lights and hydroponics.
He teaches an internet course on city farming, and says it is attracting folks like Hatcher, who’ve turn out to be disillusioned with their first careers and are on the lookout for a sustainable technique to develop their very own meals.
People like chef Dwayne MacLeod are benefiting from the pattern. He’s one among Hatcher’s first clients. He can virtually see the farm from his restaurant, Cut Steakhouse, on Lower Water Street in Halifax.
He mentioned prior to now, discovering produce that is harvested the identical day was a problem. Now, he simply has to drive throughout the bridge. He’s been working with Hatcher to get a few of his favorite crops within the farm’s rising rotation.
MacLeod mentioned greens grown in containers have a stronger flavour and are additionally extra delicate.
“It’s a very interesting contrast between the two of them and I find the shelf life on these products probably three times longer than any I’ve used previously and the yield you get out of it is just phenomenal,” MacLeod mentioned.
Right now, Very Local Greens is a one-man, one-shipping-container operation, however Hatcher plans to rent employees later this summer time.
And if all goes properly, he hopes so as to add a second transport container to his fleet quickly.
“I don’t think people realize how easy it can be,” mentioned Hatcher. “It’s a lot of fun so I think anybody who’s thinking of hobby urban farming should go for it.”
Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-07-21 06:00:00, as ‘Tiny farm grows large crop in outdated Dartmouth transport container