Rooftop Garden in Vancouver, first in North America

At 535 Richards Street, the first ever urban farming system is being built by a company called Alterrus. Crop production will occur year round, within a 5,700 square feet area. The crops are grown in water, aka hydroponic technology. No pesticides or herbicides are used to grow these vegetables and herbs. The locally grown food will be sold by a brand called Local Garden starting October. It is predicted to be economic, ecologically and environmentally friendly since it will be locally grown and locally consumed. The company claims that this sustainable farming method will allow the demands of an urban society to be met due to lower land and water usage. According to their calculations, it will use less than 10% of the water normally used. It claims that produce will be harvested and on the market within the same day.

From Vancitybuzz:

The VertiCrop™ Advantage
Designed to grow in any climate and with an exceptionally small footprint in urban environments, VertiCrop™ uses a fraction of the resources needed for field agriculture, while generating substantially higher yields.

  • Yields are approximately 20 times higher than the normal production volume of field crops
  • VertiCrop™ requires only 8% of the normal water consumption used to irrigate field crops
  • Works on non-arable lands and close to major markets or urban centres
  • Does not require the use of harmful herbicides or pesticides
  • Able to grow over 80 varieties of leafy green vegetables
  • Significant operating and capital cost savings over field agriculture
  • Significantly reduces transportation distance, thereby reducing cost, energy and carbon foot print
  • Provides higher quality produce with greater nutritional value and a longer shelf life
  • High levels of food safety due to the enclosed growing process
  • Scalable from small to very large food production operations

This piece of news is exciting for two reasons:

  1. Its happening now, right here in Vancouver.
  2. It sounds too good to be true.

Vancouver’s carbon footprint is seemingly an obvious prediction.  How significant will this be in the short and long term? What are the negative impacts of this technology? Does this alter our local environment in any way?  I’ve got lots of questions. And honestly, I’m a little cynical. If this works, the way we eat, the way agriculture shapes our society and the way we consider issues like food safety and security will definitely change for the better.

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Ritika (@ritikaaaaar) is Indian, was raised in Thailand and currently studies Biology. She likes to dabble in a little of everything - she blogs, she's part of @passionproj, questions the mechanisms of the living world, and harbours a slight obsession with social media,, coffee, and Asian authors.