Eastern Ontario Agrinews / Candice Vetter / December 2015
Four Eastern Ontario farms were recognized for Agri-food Innovation at an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) awards ceremony in Kingston on Nov. 14.
Bluegrass Farm near Jasper was recognized for their greenhouse operation. As well as heat from the sun, Leela Ramachandran’s and Bradley Wright’s four greenhouses use radiant floor heating to keep greens growing throughout the harsh Ontario winter. Fuelled by a wood-fired boiler, the energy-efficient system heats the soil, not the air allowing the 10,000 sq. ft. of greenhouse space to grow cold-hardy crops like spinach, arugula and lettuce. Insulation helps keep the heat in, and insulating fabric is laid over crops on cold nights provides extra protection. The couple estimates the cost for 1-million BTUs at only $15 […]
Smart Greens in Cornwall was recognized for its production of fresh greens in a 320 sq.-ft. box, from a shipping container converted into a hydroponic “farm” complete with LED lights, a closed-cycle irrigation system and a cloud-based mobile app that lets them monitor their crop remotely. Inside the insulated, climate-controlled container more than 3,000 pesticide-free leafy greens, herbs and peppers are produced each week. Because the container is located in downtown Cornwall, the distance between production and customers has dramatically shrunk. The Smart Greens brand is being franchised with the goal of seeing 50 similar shipping containers popping up across Canada over the next five years — giving urban Canadians access to fresh, local greens 12 months a year.
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