Whether it’s repurposing household equipment or using mobile greenhouses, a Dresden-area organic grower makes sure innovation is part of his operation.

And that spirit has earned Joseph Grootenboer the Agriculture Innovator of the Year Award from the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce.

One of the latest initiatives he launched was an online order service. When he opened the business, he would send out the same bin of garden produce to all customers, but now they select what they want.

Another decision he made was to use an old washing machine as a salad spinner for the salad washing program. He said this didn’t cost them anything and it does the work well.

All six of the greenhouses they use can be moved to support different crops at different times of the year, said Grootenboer. It takes three people to move each 15-foot by 50-foot greenhouse and they are capable of moving all of them in one day if they need to, he said.

“We can be growing summer stuff, which for us is cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, stuff that likes the heat, so we use them in the summer for that,” he said. “We can move it onto some stuff that started in the fall to keep things like kale, and spinach and greens growing late into the fall, right through the winter.”

Read more at Chatham This Week (Tom Morrison)