Yukon's 'first container farm' starts production

The Kluane Lake Research Station located between Haines Junction and Destruction Bay is known for its studies on climate change and the impacts it has on wildlife and the ecosystem.

It's been months of work but their off-grid hydroponic containerized farming unit is now producing leafy greens and herbs. The first harvest of crops comes after only six weeks of planting the first round of seeds. Brittany Weber is the agricultural operations coordinator for the research station.

And she's responsible for taking care of the crops. 'It's kind of a bit of an optical illusion when you walk in. It's super cool,' says the station's agricultural operations coordinator, Brittany Weber. "We grow plants without the use of dirt," she explained.

The unit is eight by 40 feet and can hold up to 2,800 mature plants and 1,000 seedlings. "We have six shelves going all the way from the floor to the ceiling," said Weber during the tour of the unit. Yukon's first off-grid hydroponic containerized farming unit. This unit can hold up to 2,800 mature plants. "The trays are actually sloped so you'll stand there and see the next tray in the back row and it'll be a foot off of the first tray but really that's the gravity so the water can flow naturally down these trays," Weber said.

The front of the container holds the big greens while the back of the unit will have the newly planted seedlings. The entrance of the container has been made into a processing area called an Arctic entrance. This allows the vegetables and greens to be processed in freezing temperatures, without worrying about frostbite or losing any leaves. "We have a little bit of a processing area called an arctic entrance."

Henry Penn, manager of the research station and the project lead, says the next step is to get the produce out into the community. "The plan for the first number of harvests, they will be gathered up into a few small sample bags," Penn said. "We'll be bringing them to locations around the Kluane region and offering them up to anyone that would like one free of charge."

Read the complete article at www.cbc.ca.

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