University's greenhouse aims to grow local produce for northern Manitoba

One Manitoba university is operating a near-net-zero energy greenhouse on one of its campuses that could one day help address food insecurity in northern Manitoba. The University College of the North (UCN) said it built the greenhouse on its campus in The Pas to improve food sovereignty, community health, and student learning opportunities.

Katrin Stedronsky, assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Science at UCN, said it was designed “strictly for proof of concept of year-round production of produce with sustainability at the center of it.”

The facility’s main heat reservoir is Biofibre blocks, which absorb light energy. The blocks were built based on a Canadian design and are made from Canadian-sourced hemp. They were also designed to capitalize on heat retention.

“The greenhouse was designed so we can have that year-round production of produce in northern communities where they don’t necessarily have availability for fresh produce as readily,” Stedronsky said.

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