When I first heard about “vertical farming,” I had visions of farmers with Spider-Man-like powers scaling tall building while picking tomatoes.
But alas, it was not to be.
In the case of Alterrus Systems Inc.’s VertiCrop it turns out while vertical farming does not call for super powers, it does include technology that allows leafy green vegetables to grow on suspended trays attached to a moving conveyor system providing maximum exposure to light. Designed to grow in controlled environments, VertiCrop also eliminates the need for herbicides or pesticides. The high-density urban farming system grows more than 10 times the produce of an equivalent field and uses one-tenth the water and fertilizer.
Tuesday morning, Alterrus chief executive officer Christopher Ng joined Mayor Gregor Robertson and other special guests on the top level of the EasyPark parkade at 535 Richards for a tour of the city’s first rooftop vertical farm. The farm is located within a 6,000-square-foot greenhouse, which is growing produce for sale to Vancouver grocery stores and restaurants under the Local Garden brand. The city leased the rooftop to Local Garden Vancouver Inc., a subsidiary of Alterrus Systems, while Vancity provided the financing to commercialize the greenhouse.
Range of suggestions
Last week I wrote that the city decided bowling might be a good activity to offer at this city’s community centres, an idea I questioned considering the fact the cash-strapped park board has struggled with budget deficits.
But Vision Vancouver park board commissioners Constance Barnes and Aaron Jasper, as well as NPAer John Coupar took up the challenge by bringing separate motions to the park board. Barnes’s and Jasper’s motion goes to the park board Nov. 26.
I also heard from reader Elizabeth Porteous who agrees it’s a good idea.
“Enjoyed your column and info on bowling,” wrote Porteous in an email. “It’s kind of a no-brainer when you think of the participation in exercise that we all seem to want and need. If anyone can get it going you’d think that the city would be number one and seniors certainly appreciate the social benefits.”
Perhaps including a bowling alley will become a priority for all future community centres built in the city. But if it’s increased revenue the park board wants, I suggest a shooting range. They take up the same amount of space as a bowling alley, but you can charge more. And instead of bowling, seniors can take their frustrations out shooting at images of proposed multi-story developments in Dunbar and along Cambie. It’s a win-win.
Kerrisdale call out
Over the years, I’ve always counted on Courier readers for information, photos or even poems about backyard chickens when needed.
But this request is of a slightly more sensitive nature. I need a Kerrisdale resident willing to share financial details in regards to their life in the community, such as income, cost of mortgage or rent, running a vehicle, etc. It could be a couple, family or individual and your identity would remain anonymous. It also entails being in a photograph, but it won’t give away your identity or location. It’s for an upcoming project I can tell you all about if you email me.