The College’s Prairie Research Kitchen is now home to an innovative Terrace Pro hydroponic growing system that promotes sustainability and offers solutions to offset rising grocery costs for businesses and individual consumers.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Treaty No. 1 Territory and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis Nation – After working together with RRC Polytech to develop the Terrace Pro, an innovative hydroponic growing system, Les Verts Living is extending the partnership by providing a commercial Terrace Pro unit to the College’s Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK) – to promote further study of indoor gardening and to supply Culinary Arts students with access to fresh, gourmet produce while they pursue their education.
“RRC Polytech helped us convert our vision of sustainable produce into a reality, and today our soil-free, pesticide-free and stress-free Terrace Pro system empowers anyone anywhere to grow fresh, quality greens for their family, friends and local communities year-round with minimal effort and no prior growing experience,” says Andrew Vickerson, CEO of Les Verts Living.
“We are thrilled to continue this partnership and offer their students and researchers an opportunity to further explore indoor hydroponic gardening by providing Manitoba’s up-and-coming culinary minds with the highest quality produce to create their next showstopping dishes.”
What sets the Terrace Pro apart is its impressive production capacity, exceptional quality produce, ease of use, and significant savings opportunities. The professional-grade equipment and nutrient regimes surpass the freshness and nutritional value of other indoor systems and what is typically found in grocery stores and promises a significant return on investment through reduced food waste and produce expenses.
“Through our technology, facilities and expertise, the College is uniquely positioned to bring these types of project ideas to life for our industry partners while training the workforce of tomorrow,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech.
“This project demonstrates the power of partnership and the value of applied research in propelling our province’s economy forward, and today, we can quite literally see and taste the success of this project while sharing the benefits with our community.”
The relationship began almost six years ago when locally based entrepreneurs from Les Verts approached RRC Polytech’s Prairie Research Kitchen to confirm chefs’ interest in the product and then were referred to the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM) for help with the electrical and mechanical components of their original design. The TACAM team worked with Les Verts staff to refine the unit’s unique combination of necessary pumps, motors, fans, and lights while addressing tank orientation for optimum watering and drainage. Eventually they even created a control panel/interface to integrate all the systems together. The Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) was also consulted to analyze any humidity level changes caused by the system.
Now, the easy-to-use product is on the market encouraging even the greenest of gardeners to grow an abundance of the freshest, top-quality living produce available while saving money on their food expenses – and the partnership continues to evolve with PRK’s research team studying further development options through a follow-up project.
“Rising food costs have increased the demand for locally grown, sustainable produce so offering chefs of all levels the ability to grow their own greens and herbs year-round has enormous appeal,” says Mavis McRae, Director of the Prairie Research Kitchen Technology Access Centre. “We’re excited to test the benefits of the Terrace Pro unit in a restaurant setting and continue studying how we can optimize this technology while working with our partners at Les Verts to develop future products for commercial and home growers.”
To celebrate this successful collaboration and inspire a more sustainable food future, Les Verts Living and RRC Polytech hosted a media tasting event at Jane’s Restaurant located in the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The teams involved joined industry, academic and community leaders for a small sampling of the delicious living lettuce, fragrant herbs and hyper-nutritious microgreens and baby greens produced in the Terrace Pro before touring the PRK, Manitoba’s only Technology Access Centre that blends food science and culinary arts.