In Canada, we are lucky to have access to purchase fresh greens year-round, but this luxury comes at a cost – not only for us financially but also for the environment. Greens grown in southern climates need to be packaged, refrigerated and shipped to stores where they are again refrigerated until we bring them home. These processes all produce carbon emissions which contributes to Global warming and climate change.
But what if there is a way to grow our own local fresh foods even in the winter time? Enter the Fork Farms hydroponic growing system. This is an indoor, hydroponic (water rather than soil), artificially lit, system.
At Island Pacific School, we have the opportunity to explore this option with our own system. We partnered with THRIVE Bowen, and received grants from the Knick Knack Nook and the Bowen Island Community Foundation to buy the tower and materials. Throughout the year, we will be experimenting with growing salad greens and analysing factors such as cost, energy consumption, use of fertilizers and water, and comparing these factors to imported greens in order to determine the viability of hydroponic growing.
So far, it has been exciting to build the tower and to learn how to grow the greens. In early October, students planted the seeds. We allowed them to sprout and then transplanted them into the tower. So far, the plants are thriving and we hope to be able to do our first harvest some time in November! I will be reporting on our progress throughout the year and hope to share this experience with anyone from the community who is interested in learning more about hydroponic growing.
Science Teacher Grades 6-9
Outdoor Expeditions Coordinator
and Gr 8 Home Room Teacher