GOODNESS GREENS ALIVE
A major problem in getting fresh green vegetables to market is
often the distance from producer to customer. Another is the weather
that often makes some products ridiculously cheap during harvesting
season and then makes some products ridiculously cheap during
harvesting season and then prohibitedly expensive the rest of the
year. A new development may help eradicate those problems, at least
from lettuce, spinach and watercress.
Now available: Farm-in-a-box. A complete packaged greenhouse in
two 40 foot containers that when opened and erected provides a hot
house, as long as a football field with about half the width. Also
inside the box is a packaged computer irrigation system and everything necessary to get the operation up and farming. One needs no
soil, fuel, chemicals or experience.
A big plus for thenew system: greatly reduced heating costs and a
labor-when-needed production strategy. Sounds too good to be true
right? Not according to greens alive, Toronto lawyer Stephen
Mackneson (who has created an enviable reputation by franchising such
networks as the breadman bunsmaster, cottmann transmissions and
Ziebart (rustproofing). His partner and system disigner is Helmut
Designed to be run by no more than three permanent staff the
system produces 7 000 head of Boston Lettuce a week. Ten to 12 parttimers are required two days a week to harvest the fast-growing leafy
One big economic feature is the fact that this system has been
able to reduce the heating costs for a hot house from 30 to 40
percent of gross revenues to just two percent. By not using chemicals
a further cost saving is made while appealing to many consumers who
are increasingly concerned over crops grown with chemicals.
Operated like a Japanese car factory production plant, the seed is
planted at one end of the 300 foot-long greenhouse and is harvested
from a moving production line at the other end of the building.
Growing in sterilized nutrient-packed water, the thousands of plants
only use 500 gallons of water a day -- about the same as a home with
a family of four. A built-in continuous-freshness element offers
other advantages: popped out of its growing container the lettuce is
bagged with its roots still attached, thereby adding a "PluckedWhile-Alive" freshness for about ten days in the consumer's home.
Heather McKneson, Greens Alive INTL.,
R.R. #2, Osgoode, Ontario K0A 2W0.
Phone: (613) 826-3443.
Fax: (613) 826-3175.
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