2017 Premier's Award Winner
Greenbelt Microgreens - Hamilton Region
Premier Wynne, Ian Adamson, Michael Curry, Minister Leal
Looking for fresh, local arugula sprouts in February? Greenbelt Microgreens has you covered. The greenhouse operation has developed an eco-friendly process for growing organic microgreens such as lettuce, arugula and wheatgrass year-round right in Ontario's Greenbelt.
The company's state-of-the-art facility uses several green features. For example, cisterns collect rainwater used to irrigate the crops, and each evening ceiling curtains automatically close to keep warm air inside while a glass roof opens up to release excess hot air on sunny days. Biomass heating, solar power and other energy-saving approaches also help to reduce the operation's environmental footprint.
Since 2010, the producers have experimented with growing mediums, seed types and mechanized harvesting equipment. Those efforts have paid off. Thanks to their innovations, Greenbelt Microgreens is 80 times more efficient than open field production.
Supplemental LED lighting has decreased growing time by 30 per cent, while a unique soil mix that includes organic fertilizers, fish emulsion and coconut fibre also helps to maximize yields. The results are nutrient-dense sunflower sprouts, pea shoots, wheat grass and other microgreens that can be produced on an average 10-day growth cycle and boast a shelf life of 13 days - the longest in the industry. Today, the company has become the largest grower of organic microgreens in Canada, supplying fresh produce to hundreds of retailers such as Longo's, Sobey's and T&T Supermarket.