Valleyview Co-op is looking at different ways to lessen their carbon footprint, and one of those ways is by partnering with local farmers in supplying their patrons with home grown vegetables. General Manager, Gregg Gill, says they've partnered with a local Westman farmer who grows lettuce through the process of hydroponics.

The Sioux Valley Dakota Nation's community garden program features a self-contained hydroponic Growcer unit that is used to grow different vegetables for their community, and Valleyview Co-op has just donated $10,000 towards purchasing a new Kioti side-by-side to help with their extensive gardening project that covers a few acres.

"That's an interesting donation and kind of ironic because we've actually partnered with a farmer from Pierson and we expect probably in late January and we'll be starting to offer our own locally grown lettuce in the store," explains Gill. "So that's something to watch out for!"

"It's hydroponic and it's organic and it uses a whole lot less water because it's in a controlled environment," he says. "The units are assembled out in Ontario, but the core of the unit is actually built right here in Manitoba, called the Growcer, and it's kind of vertical farming." Gill says it's relatively new in Canada, and it's used more in Europe and Asia, and it does use hydro but it does reduce the carbon footprint when you take into consideration the transport of many produce from other parts of North American.