Picture this: you’ve just worked a long, hard day slaving at the office. It’s 5pm. You finally get to go home, relax, and eat that big, fresh salad that you’ve been craving all day. You get into your car and you have the sudden realization that you have no food at home, so you must stop at the grocery store to get supplies for your salad. As you drive over to the store your mouth starts to water
thinking about the juicy, sweet Tomberry® Tomatoes that you’re going to devour and the crunchy Sweet Red Bell Pepper that you are going to thoroughly enjoy. Finally, you’re there at the store. You get out and are on a dead tear to the produce isle. You walk in and… nothing. There’s absolutely no produce. You start to cry as you realize that yesterday the world ran out of all-natural resources and that all the pollinating bugs have died. Why did this tragic event happen you ask? Because no one was growing sustainably. We used up all the resources we had and then gonzo. Now wake up from that horrible nightmare because NatureFresh™ Farms is doing everything in their power to grow as sustainably as possible. It’s the small things that add up.
At NatureFresh™ Farms, we start by growing in coconut fiber. In one growing season, we will use approximately 2.5 million ground-up coconuts, which would have been filling up a landfill if we didn’t use them. That’s a whole lotta coconuts!! Sustainability 1, Depletion 0.
Next up, we’ve got water. In our greenhouses, we use a closed-loop irrigation system. Any water that the plant doesn’t absorb is recycled and reused. This means that 0% of our nutrient water is being discharged into the environment! If we were not doing this, we would be using 75% more water. Sustainability 2, Depletion 0.
It’s getting hot in here so take off all your… The plants LOVE the hot and humid climate. This is much more manageable in the greenhouses in the summer here in Canada, but how do we get our greenhouses hot in snowy, -26 degree winter weather? We use biomass boilers! We burn approximately 15,000 tons of waste wood per heating season and that heats our 23 million litres of water that runs through our heating rails and heats up the greenhouse during the colder months. Not only do we use biomass boilers, we also use natural gas boilers to heat our water. They give off CO2 which we pump into our greenhouses for our plants to use. Little to no CO2 is being pushed out into the atmosphere! ANDDD we use energy screens on the roofs of our greenhouses to conserve heat and keep our plants shaded from the sun. Those deserve a solid 3 points for sustainability. Sustainability 5, Depletion 0.
The itsy-bitsy aphid climbed up the Cucumber plant, down came the ladybug and ate the aphid up! Bugs can be gross but they are extremely important and beneficial to our environment. At NatureFresh™ we use 19 different “good bugs” to fight “bad bugs”, all of which are native to North America – #Score! Bugs do what they would naturally do in the environment in the greenhouse, which allows us to use less pesticides!
At NatureFresh™, we strive to keep everything as sustainable and natural as possible. Sure, it’s great that we do all of these things, but how do we share this information with our consumers? Well, we use our Greenhouse Education Center (GEC)! The GEC is an exact snapshot of what our greenhouses look like. We use our GEC because it is a visual and hands-on learning experience, and it allows consumers to ask all questions they may have about greenhouse-grown produce. We take our GEC to schools, fairs and retailers to show people how we grow sustainably and why greenhouse-grown produce is, at the same time, sustainably-grown. Our mobile greenhouse shows people the coconut husks, heating rails, closed-loop irrigation system, good bugs, and even our shading system! Who knew you could fit a whole sustainable greenhouse on a 40-foot trailer?!
Sustainability is key to all aspects of NatureFresh™ Farms’ operations. Sustainability 6, depletion 0. So, as you can see by this final score, sustainability swept natural depletion, and at NatureFresh™, that’s just how we like it!