Vancouver has a stated goal to become the worlds greenest city by 2020. To take the next step toward reaching that goal, the city is looking within, to a VertiCrop green roof developed by Vancouver-based Valcent Products, Inc.
VertiCrop, an urban farming innovation, allows for higher crop yields relative to traditional methods, while using a fraction of the resources. More tangibly, the product avows to provide up to 20 times the yield of soil crops while requiring only 8% of the water. It accomplishes this feat via a hydroponic system that rotates suspended trays of crops on motorized conveyors, providing optimized quantities of light and nutrients in the process. This system earned VertiCrop the distinction of being named one of TIME Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions in 2009.
Vancouver plans to implement this technology by providing a memorandum to EasyPark, a firm that owns parking garages throughout the city, to begin to install VertiCrop systems on the structures currently-unused rooftops (pictured below). Doing so would make Vancouver the first home to VertiCrop systems in North America.
The resulting harvest from one of these parking garage roofs is expected to produce an yield equivalent to 16 acres of California farm, conserving resources in the process. Not only do the crops require less water, but growing them on-site allows for dramatically reduced shipping and distribution costs.
Construction on the first of these systems will begin this month, with the initial crops expected to be ready this April. Depending on the success of this initiative, the VertiCrop model may be one we see repeated throughout the continent.