There’s a new food system coming to Fernie that seeks to provide locally-grown leafy greens to the community all year round. The project is by Wildsight Elk Valley and recently got funding from the federal government to the tune of $252,000. It was one of ten projects in the East Kootenays that received money through the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada. The funding was announced on December 8.
According to Dawn Deydey of Wildsight in Fernie, it is going to be a hydroponic container farm situated by the Community EcoGarden. The plan is to grow leafy greens hydroponically, year-round, in what are essentially shipping containers. “We will have a source of food for the community year-round,” Deydey said.
She said it would be a big change, considering there is only a 90-day frost-free growing period in the valley. “To all of a sudden be able to extend that season, extend the produce that’s available within our community, really takes a step towards strengthening our food system.”
Deydey said their goal is to run it as a social enterprise, to give back to the community. “We’re looking at how we can get fresh, local, nutritious, leafy greens to people in our community who need it.”
There will be a couple of weeks of training in Whitehorse in order to learn how to operate the system, after which it will be brought to Fernie to get it up and running. Deydey said the system involves lights, water, nutrients, and timing, “and then we get some leafy greens.” She said there are others in the region who are looking into hydroponic container farming.
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