Construction has begun on North America’s first VertiCrop urban farming system. Developed by Vancouver based Alterrus‘ the vertical farm will be on the top level of the downtown parking lot located at 535 Richards Street. It is expected that the farm will operate year round. The farm will be 5,700 square feet, majority of which will be used to grow produce in trays stacked 12 high. The remaining square footage will be used for picking and packing.
Alterrus’ VertiCrop vertical-farming technology uses hydroponic technology to grow leafy green vegetables and herbs in a greenhouse, without pesticides or herbicides. Its produce will be transported directly to local Vancouver markets, significantly reducing its carbon footprint.
The produce, to be sold under the Local Garden brand, will be available in Vancouver in October.
Christopher Ng, CEO of Alterrus, said, “The VertiCrop technology represents a radical shift in sustainable food production.
“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.”
The produce will be packaged on site and can be delivered to markets in the city the same day as they are harvested.
It’s expected that the rooftop farm will produce more than 150,000 pounds annually. It will use less than 10% of the water required for traditional field agriculture, while producing significantly higher yields compared with field-farmed produce. All of the excess water used will be recycled.
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