At Acadia University, eating local and greener is the new buzz around the school. It unveiled the Growcer, which is a joint effort between the school and their food service provider, Chartwells. The Growcer is an innovative system that will grow greens and microgreens. Furthermore, it was a successful collaboration among the students, faculty, staff, and public health officials. Not only that, but it will employ students as well. So, international students can have a chance to participate in this amazing project too!
So, how exactly is it innovative? From the outside, the Growcer looks just like a shipping container. But it’s so much more than that. Inside, the shipping container is housing a hydroponic, vertical growing system. So this whole system is helping Acadia make eating local and greener much more accessible. Plus, it’s right next to the dining hall. So the greens can be brought directly to the kitchen once they’re ready. Furthermore, it’s the first of its kind in a post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada. Jodie Noiles, Acadia’s Sustainability Coordinator, remarked, “This initiative builds on an existing commitment to purchase and use local produce in our food services.” Furthermore, she said that the Growcer is part of a Food Services Plan for the campus. So, it will focus on healthy eating, sustainability, and affordability.
In just one month, the Growcer can produce 100 kgs of fresh greens year-round. Furthermore, it uses 95 percent less water compared to conventional farming. Additionally, it does not use any herbicides nor pesticides. So, this means that the Growcer dramatically lowers the greenhouse gas emissions of Acadia with its local produce.
“I’m excited to grow a variety of greens to complement the ingredients we get from farms in the Annapolis Valley,” said Executive Chef Peter Welton.
Th Growcer is only one part of the many other campus initiatives such as the Acadia Community Farm. There, students use and care for a half-acre educational garden. So, they grow vegetables for the dining hall and foodbank. Furthermore, there is also the Acadia Food and Fork, which grows local beans, lettuce, and tomatoes to share with students.
With the Growcer project, it is one step, but an important one, in developing a more sustainable future. Acadia is proud to make eating and growing local ingredients much more accessible. But it’s only the beginning as the school encourages students to bring more ideas to the table. Noiles says, “Acadia students learn the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship as part of their studies, and the Growcer project is a new opportunity for them to put that learning into practice.”
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