Construction continues on three greenhouses which will support and provide communities in the Chilcotin with fresh vegetables.
“Basically Chief Ross was looking to support the community and surrounding community with more fresh vegetables. So it’s hydroponics based greenhouses,” says Shaye Donald, manager of the Yunesit’in (Stone) Green House Project.
“We broke ground about a week and a half ago. Right now we have a building team in there erecting the actual structure and it will take about a month from start to finish with everything hooked up and ready to grow.”
Donald says the project will be a capital generating project in the long run because any excess vegetables will be sold to the surrounding communities and Williams Lake.
He says the greenhouses will be heated using wood boilers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that lettuce can be grown throughout the year adding that the primary three crops will be tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. He says that the grower will be looking at exploring options to get a more diverse selection of produce as well as more winter based vegetables such as peas, beans, and beets.
“In the long run, they want to do potatoes outside as well.”
“We’re looking at getting ideally about 20-25kg per square meter per year. So it would be about 25,000 kg of tomatoes alone, and I know lettuce we’re going to get at peak production close to 150 heads every two days.”
A grower who has trained at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in greenhouse technology will be in Yunesit’in for 1 year to assist.
It is hoped that 2 people will shadow him to get hands-on experience before also attending the University for additional education, and then return so that the greenhouses can be completely community run. The greenhouses could employ up to 5 people during peak production months.