Vancouver parking garage becoming a semi-automated urban farm

Late this August, Vancouver-based Alterrus Systems began installing a 530 sq. metre urban farm on the roof of an underused downtown parking structure. It uses a semi-automated vertical-farming system to hydroponically grow leafy vegetables and herbs for local consumption.

Its automation suggests it won’t be a job creator, but in a press release Alterrus’s CEO emphasized the predicted land use and carbon pollution impacts of its VertiCrop system:

“Current food-production methods are ineffective in dealing with the challenges of growing populations and decreasing amounts of farmland. VertiCrop’s high-density urban farming is an effective way to grow nutritious food using fewer land and water resources than traditional field-farming methods.”

The produce will be packaged on site and can be delivered to markets in the city the same day as harvest. “The smaller carbon footprint involved is a critical point,” said [the CEO]. “Food production represents one of the world’s largest sources of unwanted gas emissions.”

The company says it expects the facility to produce more than 68,000 kilograms of produce annually.

(hat tip to Michael Levenston at CityFarmer).