The Long Form - The Eco Lens
There’s no question that spring is in the air - even if it’s mandarin and geranium essential oils being pumped through the office diffuser. While our focus on houseplants in February was part of our winter coping techniques, the thaw of the Canadian deep freeze sparks joy around any tiny sprouting of green.
It’s human nature to be excited about plants in the springtime. It’s still a little early for the crocuses and daffodils to be popping up, so to get our fix we took a tour of Green Relief’s licensed production facility.
Have you ever toured a cannabis growing operation? Maybe you’ve seen a few plants growing at your friend’s house? While you might think that if you’ve toured one producer, you’ve seen them all - Green Relief was built to challenge those assumptions.
You’ve probably heard of hydroponics, where plants are grown in water instead of soil. Nutrients are carefully calculated and added to the circulated water to deliver exactly what the plant needs. The benefits of hydroponics include a significantly more efficient use of water; better use of space with more plants per square foot; and better growth rate as plants can grow faster when they don’t have to search through the soil to find the nutrients they need.
Get ready for the rise of aquaponics. It’s what makes Green Relief’s Puslinch, Ontario facility unique. In the aquaponics system, the growing medium is… an aquarium. Coming from aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics, aquaponics is a closed loop system if you take it to the nerdiest level. Which is exactly what the team at Green Relief has done. Once all three of their facilities are in operation, there will be zero waste and very little additional water needed each year to power the system. The other bonus is the second crop harvested from this farming process - the fish - which are donated entirely to Second Harvest. So far they have donated 180,000 fish!
Reducing water is a big deal in cannabis cultivation. A report out of California found that the average cannabis plant requires 480 gallons of water over its life cycle! Finding greener ways to grow cannabis is going to quickly become a big conversation in the industry.
So what can the average home grower do to make their crop a little more eco-friendly?
Get educated about it...
Our other favourite Spring activity is visiting the Green Living Show in Toronto. Imagine the home show, yoga show, and foodie show creators had a sesh together and came to their senses about making sustainable products that are good for you and the earth.
What’s piqued our interest at the show over the last couple years is the rise of the home grow system. (If you’ve been following along with our plant diary - you’ll know that the struggle is real.) There are products and concepts for home grow systems we see at the Green Living Show that we haven’t seen anywhere else.
Carolina is very excited about the home hydroponics system she ordered: The Aeva from Just Vertical. It's a super stylish unit built for condo living, which is supposed to produce up to 10lb of food per month! At this year's Green Living Show the Aeva is on special with one month's supply of seed pods and fertilizer included in the price.
Another little secret: you can taste some of the best of the local-focused culinary scene in the amazing food court. We recommend bringing a few friends and sharing the many delicious offerings. Taste the world without the cost of international travel. How more eco-friendly can you get.
Whatever you do to ring in spring - cleaning, vacation, health kick - we hope you’re inspired to look at it with an eco lens.