Space-age tech will take farming to new heights in Welland

Intravision Group has shone a light on everything from cannabis to planet simulators, spanning across Kuwait, McMaster University, and the European Space Agency. Now, through Intravision Greens Niagara, its tech is taking veggies to new heights in Welland.

Starting in Norway, Intravision made its progression across the pond to the University of Guelph’s Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility. In collaboration with the university, they honed in on how isolated plants in a hyper-controlled environment responded to everything from lighting spectrum, to air flow movements.

While the technology applies to plants grown in space, the fundamentals behind it aren’t rocket science.

Modern farming has drastically evolved to give farmers more control over their crop, but outside in the field, nature still has the upper-hand.

Move the entire growing process inside into a controlled environment, and suddenly you have control over everything. For Intravision Greens, it’s a bit like getting to play God.

“It’s a low-tech approach to a high-tech challenge,” says Nic Keast, a senior project manager with Intravision. “You’re growing plants, plants grow themselves, let’s give them the right conditions and let them do their thing.”

Non-GMO, certified and sterile seeds are planted in-house. Every stage of the plant’s growth, from germination to harvesting, is dialled in; from what spectrum of light the plant gets, to the temperature and amount of air circulated over a plant, to the spacing in a tray.

By the time produce makes its way out the door, there’s a traceable log of its entire journey.

Plants start off on the lower level of a vertical farming system and as they mature, they’re moved up higher. It’s a constant cycle of maturing plants moving up, replaced by seeds below.

Intravision Greens Niagara’s Neville D’Souza, one of the operation’s executive directors, said without insects to worry about, there won’t be pesticides or herbicides used; leafy greens like basil and arugula, are sent out the door ready-to-eat; and the facility will use significantly less land and water than a conventional farm.

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