At West Grow Farms our environmental impact is a key performance indicator (KPI). We have taken measures that have not been the most profitable but rather measures that can minimize our carbon footprint and still allow us to operate a sustainable farm.
Some of the measures we have implemented in our process are:
Significant reduction in shipping distance.
As we grow indoors, we establish our farms very near the population that requires our produce, our consumers. Most produce available in Canada is grown in the Southern United States or Mexico. The distance that produce travels is approximately 3000 kms. Our commitment is to grow our produce within 100 kms or less from consumers. The reduction of distance traveled by approximately 96% represents a significant reduction in carbon emissions. In addition to actual carbon emissions from the Importers vehicle operations for transportation, there is also a carbon component for the refrigeration of that vehicle.
Significant reduction in water required to grow our produce.
We utilize a closed-loop growing system, that is to say, we reuse any water the plants do not use immediately. We use approximately 95% less water than a conventional farm. Our produce packages (142 g) requires 1.46 liters of water from seed to harvest. We do utilize water for cleaning and that water is not reused.
Chemicals, Pesticides, and Preservatives:
We do not use chemicals, pesticides, or preservatives. Our farms growing cycle takes approximately 22 days and we can harvest our crop before pests become an issue.
Green House Gas (GHG) Free Energy:
We utilize a natural gas generator and a Co2 separator to produce energy we need to power our LED lights and other operational equipment. We separate Co2 from that process for use in our farm environment. Ambient air (the air we breathe) contains approximately 390 Parts per million (PPM) of Co2, and plants grow best at approximately 1100 PPM. We supplement our growing environment to increase the Co2 content to give the plants the optimum growing environment. As we separate the Co2 from our energy production, we utilize Carbon Neutral Energy.
Use of single-use plastics:
We are very diligent in our procurement processes and we ensure that we minimize the use of single-use plastic in the products we purchase. Our produce packaging is Compostable (99% food based) and that is a measure we implemented in our packaging process to assist in our commitment to being good environmental stewards.