Through a new Innovation Grant from President’s Choice Children’s Charity, Dene High School in La Loche, Saskatchewan, will receive a $220,000 modular farm where students will be able to grow and harvest a variety of produce. The food will be used in the school’s lunch program and may also be able to help the community deal with food access problems.
Five students and three teachers came to Toronto earlier this month to be trained on the modular farm, which has the size and appearance of a large shipping container.
The unit was developed by Modular Farms Co. and contains a workspace for learning, planting and harvesting as well as four vertical walls of produce sustained by automated lighting, heating and watering systems. The unit is purpose-built for a northern environment. Its closed-loop system uses 95 per cent less water than a typical farm and is capable of producing up to 1,000 heads of lettuce or 6,000 plum tomatoes per week.
“This is a huge opportunity for us,” says Danisa Petit, a Grade 12 student at Dene High School. “We're going to learn a lot by managing the farm and we can't wait to have more fresh, local produce for our school meal program.”