Green projects face hurdles - The Packer

Green projects face hurdles

07/07/2011 10:01:00 AM
Dan Gailbraith

A wind turbine that will supply 30% of the facility’s power is expected to be implemented later this summer, according to president Peter Testa.

In June, Village Farms International, Delta, British Columbia, broke ground on its fifth Texas greenhouse. Like Testa’s center, the new facility will draw on wind power.

Marketing manager Helen Aquino said that 40% of the new greenhouse’s energy needs would be generated by wind power.

Village Farms will use supplemental lighting in one of its greenhouses for the first time, reducing the amount of natural gas required for heating. The added lighting also will increase winter volumes, which in turn will reduce the amount of product the company will need to transport into the region from other growing areas, vice president of applied research Paul Selina said.

New York-based BrightFarms LLC also has some new ideas about greenhouses. The company is working with four retailers on projects that will put hydroponic greenhouses on the roofs of retail stores.

“We call this ultra-local,” said chief executive officer Paul Lightfoot.

BrightFarms will design, finance, build and operate the greenhouses. The company then will sell its products — including lettuce, greens and tomatoes — directly to the stores below.

Another new idea in retail comes from a small company in Austin, Texas, that hopes to become the nation’s first zero-waste grocery store. Brothers Lane LLC aims to open In.gredients this fall. The micro-grocery store will focus on local product from the Lone Star State and will offer virtually every item it sells without packaging.

“The goal is that everything will definitely be from within Texas, ideally from Travis County or surrounding counties,” partner Christian Lane said. “There are a lot of growers in this county that can supply us.”


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