The Full Story
As you know this project is still in its infancy, but we want to give you all the info we have. So here is the who, what, where, when, why.
The aim of the farm is to create a healthy, resilient, and secure local food system for the Cranbrook community and surrounding areas. The project will:
Improve local food security by providing fresh, nutrient-dense, produce via four-season growing
Increase education and training opportunities to build agriculture skill sets and community knowledge
Reduce community carbon emissions by providing organic diversion options for residents and businesses and provide local compost amendments for farmers.
Demonstrate the importance and value of a circular economy, and exhibit climate adaptation and resiliency food production techniques
Create a social enterprise where those who can purchase fresh locally grown food support those who cannot
Bring people together to celebrate and share food by providing a venue for community celebrations
The farm will be built in a phased approach, consisting of various stages. Upon completion, the farm will include:
Phase One (Spring 2024)
Four-season, controlled environment, hydroponic growing
Our food system is vulnerable. Supply chain interruptions, extreme weather events, and inflation are all having a significant impact on local food security. Food grown locally, in a controlled environment, is protected from these risks. This hydroponic system has automated lights, PH levels, and heating and is expected to grow 5500lbs annually equivalent to 656 heads a lettuce a week!
Electric Refrigerated vehicle
In order for produce to be distributed throughout the community, transportation will be required. The goal of the farm is to be as green as possible and one way to do this is to keep the carbon footprint of produce low. Using an electric transit van will allow us to do this
Farming is a full-circle operation and can be a perfect example of a circular economy. The farm will take what is often identified as a "waste stream" and turn it into a much-needed soil amendment that has value. The farm will use an industrial composter housed within a shipping container. This will allow for maximum throughput and reduce/eliminate any odors associated with traditional compost systems while also reducing animal attractants. The farm will pilot an organic pick-up program for local restaurants that are looking to reduce food waste to landfills and reduce their carbon footprint. Compost will then be distributed as a soil amendment.
Three season greenhouse
This greenhouse will again provide an opportunity to grow food locally for our community and those in need. We intend to take a decolonized approach in this space and honor culturally appropriate food while exploring environmentally responsible technologies and approaches.
Outdoor growing beds
At the farm we want to recognize the importance of "growing in the soil" and the relationship our food has with the environment. These beds will do just that and will consist of perennial crops. The outdoor beds will act as demonstrations showing that growing our own food is achievable for all.
Both a demonstration of what is possible and a site for food production the food forest will include a wide variety of fruit and nut trees as well as berry bushes.
A venue for outdoor community meals
Within the outdoor growing beds, will be a venue for community feasts. Surrounded by food growing to feed our community, neighbors will come together to celebrate traditions, learn from others, and share a meal. The venue will have a large capacity and include equipment for preparing food.
This project is being carried out with a very collaborative approach. The steering committee currently consists of:
Community Connections Society of Southeast BC, Sophie Larsen and Meredith Funston
Kootenay Employment Services, Kerstin Renner, Regional Community Development Manager
Wildsight, Sharon Cross, Branch Board Director; Ali Hadikin, Community Coordinator
BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Jeffrey Nimmo, Regional Agrologist
College of the Rockies, Deborah Carty, Vice President, External Relations
Interior Health, Seamus Damström, Public Health Dietitian
We have established that there is not only a global need for more secure food systems but also a local need.
22% of Canadians say they'll access charitable services to meet essential needs in the next 6 months.
The Cranbrook Food Bank has 2248 active clients this represents 11% of the population of Cranbrook (20,499 as of February 2022).
Cities, farmers, and businesses have all identified a need for organics diversion from landfills and a need for compost as a soil amendment.
Organic waste represents 40% of the material sent to BC landfills, equating to 4.4 billion tonnes of CO2 annually.
Appreciation for circular economy and agricultural education is needed. As food systems become more impacted by large weather events, and supply chain interruptions, the need for local innovative agricultural skills will increase.
The farm will be located at Pop Price Park on Briar Ave N.
Funding has been secured for the purchase of the growing and composting units, and fundraising continues to complete construction of phase one. Although the site for the project has not been finalized, the intended timeline is to have the hydroponic unit in place spring of 2024.