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Canada: Something fishy about downtown Toronto’s Waterwheel Farms

Solutions to growing local produce may be as close as Queen Street West

By Katherine Forte
Toronto Obeserver
December 4th, 2017


Wheeler began a small aquaponics farm in his apartment five years ago, when he got tired of his store-bought greens going rotten too quickly. All of his education on aquaponics farming came from research and translating knowledge gained from growing up on his family’s open-field farm in Northern Ontario. He works as a financial analyst for a renewable energy provider. He jokingly refers to himself as “a renewable energy crusader by day and an urban farmer revolutionist by night.”

In May 2017, Wheeler expanded from his apartment to a 1,000 square foot research facility and farm. On-site at there are two tanks containing 400 tilapia fish who aid in growing Bok Choy, arugula, sorrel, spinach, lettuce and Waterwheel Farms’ most popular product, their tender kale. Anyone can purchase their fresh produce by visiting on Saturdays.

The seeds start their life cycle in peat moss. When they’ve grown to the point where their roots are the appropriate length they’re transplanted into pipes with running water where they have more room to flourish. The vegetables grow under different kinds of lights, at controlled temperatures that mimic the longest summer day in Toronto, for optimal growing conditions.

“Because we are indoors we’re controlling the lighting and heating and all that kind of stuff. In Toronto we are at the 43 latitude. Our longest day is just shy of 16 hours. We have these lights timed so they run on 16 hour cycles,” Wheeler said. “We can get, like, seventeen harvests for certain plants as opposed to the one or two you’d get traditionally.”

Read the complete article here.