Fresh Innovation at the Regina Food Bank

Guest blog provided by Kimberley Wenger, Community Greenhouse Coordinator at the Regina Food Bank.

With help from the +Fresh Gardens & Growing Fund, through Food Banks Canada, Compass Group Canada and Bayer Inc., the Regina Food Bank purchased and installed four aeroponic Tower Gardens in our Four Season Urban Agriculture Centre in May 2018.  

Aeroponic Tower Gardens use only air, water, and nutrients; no soil! Most herbs and leafy greens take only five weeks to go from seed to harvest; allowing us to easily showcase many stages of plant growth and development while using 90% less water and space than traditional growing methods. We are very excited to share this interesting and innovative technology with our community!  

In our Four Season Urban Agriculture Centre, the goal is to educate and empower clients and school-aged children and youth to grow food through demonstration and learning experiences. It is important to offer a variety of scalable growing options to suit the needs and interests of participants, whether someone lives in a small apartment with little to no natural light or a house with plenty of yard space to grow your own food.  We demonstrate affordable, low-cost, do-it-yourself methods of growing food and provide our participants with all that they need to become successful urban farmers!  The addition of aeroponics allows us to demonstrate this soil-less fast-growing approach to food production. 

Through our upcoming 2018-2019 school outreach project we will have the opportunity to share information about the aeroponic system with 24 schools, engaging with hundreds of students and dozens of educators. Through outreach, field-trip experiences and client workshops we are confident that we are having a long-term impact on participants’ relationship with food, innovation, and the economy. 

Urban farming has become increasingly more popular as people’s concern about food sources have grown. Growing food where people live increases quality and reduces carbon footprint, it tastes better and supports the local economy. The addition of aeroponics will allow the Regina Food Bank to demonstrate a soil-less fast-growing approach to food production that can be done indoors and in all seasons.

As a food bank that serves up to 250 families per day, we are constantly asking ourselves how the work we do can put more food on the table for our clients. Growing your own food is an obvious way to get food on the table but is not always affordable when we consider time, effort, and cost. While we know urban farming may not be for everyone we believe in the values and benefits of growing your own food and that there is an affordable way to do it. The greenhouse will give our clients the opportunity to try something new and consider adopting a method of growing food at home. Above and beyond education the fresh high-quality food that we grow goes straight to our clients. Thank you Food Banks Canada, Compass Group Canada and Bayer Inc., for helping us reach our goals with the +Fresh Gardens & Growing Fund.