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Indoor pod garden aims to improve Fernie’s food security

WildSight Elk Valley is looking to bolster local food production with a container farm project on the horizon.

The hydroponic container farm will be in front of the community EcoGarden, with operations slated to start in the spring.

“This is going to allow us to grow food 365 days a year,” said Dawn Deydey, container farm project manager. “Our region, in the Elk Valley, only has 90 frost-free growing days, so we’re very limited in the time we can grow food in our area.”

Deydey said the project will help bolster local food security.

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“We’re not going to ship in lettuce from California, it’s going to be grown in our community. That makes an incredible difference in the freshness of the food, the transportation needed to get the food to us, and our ability to depend on the food source,” said Deydey.

They plan to start with growing leafy greens before broadening their variety.

“We’re going to start with lettuce, kale and some of those simple greens. We’re going to be able to expand from that as we progress.”

Once they start growing, Wildsight intends to donate fresh produce to those in need, as well as sell some of it to make sure their income is sustainable.

“A portion is going to Food Banks, to school lunches and aged care – people who really need access to fresh, local food,” said Deydey. “We’ll also have an opportunity for people and local restaurants who can afford it to purchase the produce. So, hopefully, a variety of ways to get the produce to the community.”

Deydey said the project has the opportunity for expansion if things go well once the container garden starts operations.

The introduction of this new hydroponics container garden coincides with the 20th anniversary of Fernie’s EcoGarden.

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