Canada’s First Vertical Farm Digs In

North America First Vertical Urban Farm

After trending hotly earlier this year, the concept of the vertical farm has dipped on the public radar. While this would normally suggest a disinterest in the design process and concept of building urban farms, in this case the hype has simply died down because these formerly outside-the-box concepts are now coming to fruition.

Vancouver-based Alterrus Systems is bringing the first vertical farm to North America in the form of the VertiCrop. In a recent spate of green ideals becoming a reality, VertiCrop is now to be developed on top of a parking lot in downtown Vancouver.

According to Alterrus CEO Christopher Ng, the development of this structure will mean a positive step in breaking through the barrier of idealistically green concepts and bringing truly sustainable lifestyle practices to the city.

“The VertiCrop technology represents a radical shift in sustainable food production,” says Ng. “Current food production methods are ineffective in dealing with the challenges of growing populations and decreasing amounts of farmland. VertiCrop’s high-density urban farming is an effective way to grow nutritious food using fewer land and water resources than traditional field-farming methods.”

verticrop trays

Using hydroponic technology, both herbs and green vegetables will be grown in the 5,700 square foot vertical structure free of pesticides and herbicides.

Sustainability will be optimized through a number of different factors. First and foremost, social sustainability will be enabled through the sale of produce and community involvement. Secondly, the farming will have minimal environmental impacts as the carbon footprint associated with transporting the produce will be cut and because the farm itself needs only 10 per cent as much water as a traditional farm with the same output.

“The smaller carbon footprint involved is a critical point,” says Ng. “Food production represents one of the world’s largest sources of unwanted gas emissions.”

Once up and running, the farm will run year-round, offering in-season produce and acting as a sustainable food infrastructure source. The development marks the next big thing in sustainable design in Canada and should herald in like-minded innovations as they move out of the concept stage and into the built sector.

By Emily D’Alterio
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