Allan Murr, Vancouver Island Urban Farms:

Canadian entrepreneur thrives with self- developed hydroponic system

During our visit to the Canadian Greenhouse Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada, we’ve seen a lot of interesting new products. One of these products was the Pyramid Garden of Vancouver Island Urban Farms. Allan Murr is the creator of this pyramid shaped hydroponic system. He gave up his IT job in B.C. to develop this system that’s ideal for growing strawberries, lettuce and all kinds of herbs. According to Allan, his system can increase yield by 2 or 3 depending on the type of crop.

“I got into hydroponics when my kids were young. I was worried about how their food was being made and I needed to find a way to grow my own food. Not only in the summer, but also in the winter, taking advantage of my basement.” Allan started looking for a product that would increase yield in a small amount of space, but he couldn’t find an existing system that was suitable for him. “That’s how I came up with the pyramid concept.”

As the name already suggests, the Pyramid Garden has four triangle shaped sides. Each side has holes in it and in these holes little plugs of BVB Sublime substrate with seeds or cuttings can be placed. On the inside of the pyramid, a pump will circulate water and sprays nutrients to fertilize the roots. There’s a consumer and commercial version of the system. The consumer systems has its own small pump and reservoir and the commercial system has one pump and reservoir for 25 to 30 units.

Allan’s farm in B.C., Vancouver Island Urban Farm, houses over a hundred pyramids. In his 3300 square feet greenhouse he grows crops for the local markets. “Depending on what we’re growing, we can cultivate about 14,000 plants on a year round cycle. One advantage of the Pyramid Garden is that we can harvest the whole plant, including the roots, so it is as fresh as it can be. I like to try to keep the local growing in my mindset. My products are harvested and delivered to stores within the hour.”

A berry farm has already shown interest in Allan’s units. “The system is perfect for hydroponic strawberry cultivation. For example, we order bare root strawberries, we clip them a little bit, put them into the BVB Sublime substrate, stick them in the unit and within two weeks we are getting berries.” The watering in the pyramid can be adjusted to the right amount of water and nutrients per plant and per season.

Next to the commercial market, Allan also marks the consumer market as very promising. “I notice more and more people who want to know where their food comes from. There’s a lack of trust in the food industry and people are looking for possibilities to grow their own food. Our Pyramid Garden is perfect for home use, because it fits in the basement, and it’s quite easy to use. LEDs or supplemental HPS lighting will do the rest. I have a partner in California, he knows nothing about growing, yet thanks to the Pyramid Garden, he always has fresh home grown lettuce on his plate.”

For more information:
Pyramid Garden Inc.
Allan Murr

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