Serving Up Local, Year Round
Project status: Installed August 2018; first harvest in November
The University of Ottawa has partnered with The Growcer to serve hyper-local produce on campus. Students and staff at the University of Ottawa can now see exactly where their produce is coming from – a hydroponic farm inside a retrofitted shipping container right outside the campus cafeteria.
The University of Ottawa’s food service feeds well over 10,000 people every day. Feeding that volume of people comes with its own set of unique challenges, including having to import produce during the majority of the school year, when local food is normally out of season. With sustainability being front of mind for the university as a whole, they were keen to explore opportunities in local food production.
Thanks to the Growcer, they can now grow food right where it is served, eliminating long transport and reducing produce spoilage. What’s more, the university was able to plan for their entire project to operate on a cost-neutral basis - meaning produce grown in their Growcer costs exactly the same as their wholesale prices of produce.
How they did it
The university's food service department qualified for The Growcer's leasing program, allowing them to pay for their system month by month. Since they preferred to have a third-party manage the farm, The Growcer helped them identify a local non-profit, Just Food, who work on contract to harvest and deliver produce twice weekly.
To learn more about The Growcer's service offerings and leasing options for university, college and hospital campuses, visit thegrowcer.ca/healthcare-education.