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Sustainable Farming: Part One

January 20, 2020

Sustainability - Part One 

Whether people discuss traditional farming or state-of-the-art greenhouses like the one Vermillion Growers is building in Dauphin, and whether the conversation takes place at the restaurant, grocery store, or kitchen, the words, “sustainable,” or, “sustainability,” are bound to crop up (pardon the pun!) Today we begin a multi-part series on sustainability as it relates to our project.
First of all, it’s important to understand what this buzzword, sustainability, actually refers to. Sustainability seems to have appeared in our lexicon in the past decade and, beyond defining it as, “able to be sustained,” not everyone understands the complete definition as it pertains to the food industry. So let’s start with that:
Avoidance of depletion of natural resources while being capable of enduring, maintaining an ecological balance.
Broken down, this simply means that as we produce tomatoes in our greenhouse, we will do it in such a way that the natural resources of the area will not be used up - and we will keep the operation functioning productively and efficiently.
One example of how we will be sustainable is with how we will recycle water for reuse. The greenhouse uses a state-of-the-art computer system called Priva to control climate and irrigation conditions. Just the right amount of water will be used to ensure irrigation of the tomatoes is at the perfect level. The ground the  rows of tomatoes will be grown on is actually built on a slight north/south grade so that water can be collected for reuse. Picture a street with grates for water on the street edges. The pavement is not actually flat, but concave, allowing water to collect on the sides, ensuring the street doesn’t flood. Similarly, the greenhouse will be graded to collect any excess water the roots don’t take up, and help keep us sustainable.
In addition, the greenhouse is built with a special gutter system which will collect rainfall and condensation. The Priva computer system, which includes a weather station, will allow us to monitor snow on the roof of the greenhouse, and melt it to ensure no sunlight is blocked when needed, and to also collect more water through the complex gutter system.
We expect to reuse approximately 99% of the water we will use for irrigation, ensuring we don’t deplete that natural resource. Then, we keep our operation functioning - we endure - by using the Priva computer system to maintain optimal growing conditions. As we do so, we ensure an optimal yield of crops. 
The next part of this series we will share some information on how Vermillion Growers will address the issue of transport miles for Canadian produce imports and exports.
If you ever have any questions about our operation and how we promote sustainability, we are here. Simply click the Contact Us heading at the top right of any page on our website.