Sault Farmer will be able to produce a head of lettuce for 25 cents in a shipping container during winter months
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Collin Templeton founded the Food Bank Farm four years ago. Every summer and fall his organization grows and harvests produce for free for the local food bank.
However, the growing season isn’t long enough for Templeton’s liking.
"The availability of fresh food all year round is very important for people and the cost of fresh produce in the winter time can be quite expensive," said Templeton.
"We’re looking to grow produce all year round."
Templeton has been paying attention to what the European Space Agency has been doing the past couple of years when it comes to growing fresh food for its astronauts.
A shipping container was used as a green house.
"They built one to test out what it would take to grow food in outer space for astronauts living on Mars or the moon. They located it in the Antarctica and ran it for a number of years down there."
After spending six weeks working on his twenty feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high shipping container, Templeton was able to make the modifications needed to be able to produce lettuce in record time.
"In the shipping containers we can produce a head of lettuce in just six weeks in the field it takes nearly 12."
So starting the week after Thanksgiving, the food bank in Sault Ste. Marie will be receiving fifty heads of fresh lettuce each week, all winter.
Some people might think the lettuce will be expensive to produce during the winter, but Templeton says that‘s not the case.
"I think it’s a big game changer for people. My initial cost calculations are we will be able to produce a head of lettuce for 25 cents each in January."
For remote northern communities like Attawapiskat or others on the James Bay Coast, Templeton says the shipping container idea could help save residents significant money.
He’s hoping Algoma University will play a role in connecting the communities with him.
"It would be wonderful, Algoma University has wonderful connections with the indigenous community in the area and it would be wonderful if they would be able to draw indigenous people to Sault Ste. Marie and have a look and show them how it operates, teach them about it."