Yellowknife’s Co-op grocery store says its hydroponic greenhouse is a success, several months after being installed.
The greenhouse, designed to allow year-round, local production of fresh produce, has been operational since March.
Jeff Kincaid, the Co-op’s business development manager, said the resulting produce is “a hit” with customers.
Produce is grown with the help of trickling water and artificial light. No soil is needed to produce the leafy greens.
Co-op staff say the greenhouse has been producing up to 400 plants per week since its arrival in March.
“There have been a couple weeks where we’ve been up and down, which is more of a human side than the machine,” said Kincaid.
Kincaid told Cabin Radio workers are still getting the hang of the greenhouse to ensure optimal production.
Ottawa-based Growcer, the manufacturer, makes its greenhouses out of converted seacans. Growcer says the units are designed to withstand northern conditions down to -52C.
“There is no seasonal prep for us. It operates the same, day in, day out, every day of the year for us,” said Kincaid.
Above: A short sequence of photos inside the Yellowknife Co-op’s hydroponic greenhouse. Sara Wicks/Cabin Radio
Lettuce growing inside the greenhouse. Sara Wicks/Cabin Radio
Outside the seacan. Sara Wicks/Cabin Radio
“The product typically sells out on the weekends. We’re getting better at our planning schedule.
“We’re hoping to have product available seven days a week whereas, right now, we’re focusing on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and we’re selling out at those times.”
Now that things are growing inside the greenhouse, the next step is growing the whole operation.
“I think that we’ll definitely look at expansion,” said Kincaid.
“The unit works as advertised. It’s really quite simple to run on a daily basis and there’s not a whole lot of experience that we’ve had, so far, where it’s been negative.”
Jeff Kincaid holding produce grown by the hydroponic greenhouse. Sara Wicks/Cabin Radio