For Village Farms International, Vancouver, British Columbia, sustainability is a way of business.
Village Farms, which will celebrate its 25th year in 2014, is based on the idea of being good for the earth, said Douglas Kling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
The grower’s operational practices follow that commitment, he said.
As a greenhouse that uses limited chemicals and less water than other types of operations, Village Farms has sustainability at the forefront.
Other programs also support Village Farms’ goals.
For example, its water is recycled and reused as much as possible, but when it’s no longer usable, it is used to water fields in Texas to grow grass for the cattle to graze on.
“We look for ways to help the community, and developing water usage in the desert, where there is a lot of cattle, is being a good member of the community,” Kling said.
The water is aerated before it’s applied to make it usable.
Technology has helped make this method of growing possible.
“As hydroponics have evolved, there are better computer programs that help you track how much water a plant uses, and there are now types of glass that allow for more light, as well as cooling systems that use less energy,” Kling said.
Another upgrade is the use of etched glass that diffuses more than 90% of the light, Kling said.
“It requires less heating because it’s a more balanced environment,” he said.