Future of farming is here in Coldstream
Sustainable Glampground Aeroponic Farming | Chelsey Mutter |
The future of farming is here, and it’s landed in Coldstream.
A commercial tower farm has been brought into Utopia Feels, to provide sustainable fresh produce to those who want it.
People might recognize Utopia Feels as a Botanical Glampground, which has been operated for the past three years. With the growing towers, owner Doug Vidic says the area is now a sustainable farm resort.
“We’re kind of the new generation of farming, so we don’t have the biases of the older generations,” says Vidic.
“So we’re just trying to pick what works and with the labour shortages and trying to find people, you gotta do it more efficiently.”
He says the towers are able to grow 10 times more efficiently than traditional ground growing. It’s because of the vertical use of space.
He says the towers are able to grow faster than traditional farming as well. The towers have been up for three weeks and already the farm has harvestable lettuce, herbs and plants.
“There’s no soil in the towers, they grow either in a rockwool cube or a coco coir cube. And there’s a reservoir on the bottom of the towers, it gets pumped to the top and it just drizzles down onto the roots.
“So it’s like a low-tech aeroponic solution.”
He says by removing the soil, you also remove most bug problems because they live and reproduce in soil. He’s also using a natural insecticide made from worm casings.
Vidic has brought in 110 towers for the farm. They’ll be outside for the rest of the growing season – until about mid-October when they’ll be cleaned and stored for the winter.
Currently, Vidic has over 20 types of vegetables and more than 6,000 plants growing. The farm has a traditional soil garden as well for rooted vegetables that can’t be grown in the towers.
He says the towers are part of a larger project, to help inform others how to live sustainably.
“We’re a Métis owned business, so we’re kind of creating our own Métis settlement,” said Vidic.
“And the idea is to, you know, sustain ourselves and show people how to grow their own food and, you know, live a sustainable life.”
He has big plans for the future of the farm. He’s bringing in more animals to grow his own meat, and will be opening a drive-in movie theatre.
He’s hoping to have a market up soon, for people to come buy produce – he says he’s waiting on permits from the District of Coldstream.
The farm is also introducing a “you pick” experience, where people can come and choose their own produce from the towers. Vidic says there’s nothing more fresh than that.
“We give people a chance to stay overnight on the farm. It’s like a glamping agritourism resort,” explained Vidic.
“So if you’re interested in coming to see about the towers, you can spend a night here, have a tour and you can go through the farm and we can show you about all the great things that we’re doing here.”