New Horizon Co-operative Limited (New Horizon Co-op) is now growing hyper-local greens in a self-contained hydroponic greenhouse called the New Horizon Local Garden. The new unit includes sustainable technology and allows New Horizon Co-op to produce greens for their members and customers year-round.
Canadian Built Hydroponic Modular Farm
The New Horizon Local Garden unit was manufactured by Growcer Modular Food Solutions in Winkler, Manitoba. In 2018, two business students from Ottawa pitched the Growcer idea to Dragons Den and were successful. The students created the business after first-hand experience with the high cost of healthy food in northern communities.
Up to 140 types of leafy greens can be grown in the modular farm in as little as 6 weeks. Growcer’s modular farms require very little infrastructure, and each unit has a 30- year life span.
“Growcer is extremely excited to have partnered with New Horizon Co-op to bring fresh, locally grown vegetables to the Co-op's network of loyal customers and partners through the launch of the Local Garden. The strong start that the project has gotten off to, thanks in large part to the dedication and hard work of the New Horizon team, has Growcer very excited to scale our partnership and continue to grow alongside New Horizon and other Co-op stores across Canada,” said Drew Stirling, Customer Success Lead at Growcer.
Harvesting Right Here At Home
The New Horizon Local Garden modular farm arrived October 24, 2021, and the team has already harvested grown produce from it. The growing of the produce is done primarily by two employees, one being Shelley, who is the lead Grower at the Trader Ridge Food Store location.
The New Horizon Local Garden not only allows for New Horizon Co-op to get their greens harvested and put on the shelves in a matter of hours, for the freshest produce possible, it also improves their supply chain resiliency and reduces packaging required for transportation.
“What you put in, you get out” explained Shelley. “We put in all this time, we harvested, and we have this wonderful, fresh product to offer our members and all of the citizens of Grande Prairie and surrounding area.”
The decision to invest in the New Horizon Local Garden in Grande Prairie was based on having the capability of provide fresh, high-quality produce year-round to their members.
“The New Horizon Local Garden provides food security and sustainability for our members and customers. Its controlled environment allows us to provide local produce that is fresh, fresh, fresh! 365 days, all year round. As a community invested business New Horizon Co-op is proud to have brought this new, innovative concept to Grande Prairie" said Karen Fladager, Director of Operations, New Horizon Co-operative Limited.
Both Grande Prairie New Horizon Co-op Locations, have a special location within the produce section where product from the New Horizon Local Garden is stocked. “There is a little sticker on each package with our logo, and it says New Horizon Local Garden. Any product that has that sticker on it is what has been produced right here in Grande Prairie” Shelley said.
Shelley has a couple of recommendations for trying the greens.
“Last week, I made a homemade soup and put the Rosie Choi (Greens) and they were delicious. From Thursday's harvest, I bought a head of the Monte Carlo Romaine Lettuce and we had Chicken Caesar salad. It was amazing.”
In the future, New Horizon Co-op is hoping to supply the product at other Co-op locations throughout the Peace Region. As for varying the kind of greens grown New Horizon Co-op says you’ll have to stay tuned to see what they produce next.