Canadore College’s grow pod sprouts into success
Canadore College’s grow pod is showing signs of success.
The college is one of 10 sites across Canada that developed a campus living lab aimed at showcasing ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Angela Proudfoot, Canadore’s sustainable food and clean water project administrator, was busy tending to the plants inside the pod Monday morning.
"We grow things like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces and all kinds of herbs and plants,” Proudfoot said
In the last four years, about 50 different plant types and species have grown in the greenhouse.
Colleges and Institutes Canada chose the school to participate in its ‘ImpAct Climate Project’ to look at finding solutions to reduce greenhouse gases through the displacement of fossil fuels.
“The project was selected due to necessity,” said Jesse Russell, Canadore’s sustainable development project leader.
Canadore’s investment in the sustainable food development site, the Controlled Environment Agriculture Centre of Excellence, is producing herbs and vegetables for the college’s on-campus dining room, 100 Elements.
Much of the produce is being used by students in the school’s culinary management program for their recipes and dishes.
"Fresh is always best. It's a really great opportunity for us as students to be able to use the grow pod and access all these fresh ingredients that are nutritious,” said Hannah Johnston, Canadore College culinary management student.
Since the pod is located only a few steps away from the kitchen, the produce is hand delivered and does not need to be delivered using refrigerated trucks. This reduces the use of fossil fuels.
"It helps reduce the embodied carbon that would normally be associated with bringing those things on site,” said Russell.
In addition, the grow pod is being used in applied research, focusing on food grown in different environments using evolving technologies and hybrid growing methods.
EVERYTHING GROWS QUICKLY
“What's been remarkable for me is how quickly things grow and the sizes,” said Russell.
“The basil can grow to the size of your face compared to what you see in store
The pod is climate resistant, operates off grid 24 hours a day, and has the capacity to produce approximately 30,000 pounds of food a year.
Canadore’s Living Lab project has three primary goals: to increase production of fresh produce for the College’s culinary programs; to confer with Indigenous communities to determine their needs; and, to grow the produce that will be identified through that consultation.
The project runs until April 2023, at which time the college hopes to use the project as evidence to expand its work on creating food sovereignty for northern, rural and Indigenous communities.
“Fresh produce is either overpriced, lacks quality or is difficult to obtain in these areas,” said Russell.
“This is a great opportunity for remote and Indigenous communities looking to grow food closer to home throughout the year.”
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