Greenhouse on a parking garage? Who knew?

Better! Cities & Towns
January-February 2012

A 6,000 sq. ft. greenhouse is starting construction this January on the roof of a parking garage in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Not only is the greenhouse’s downtown location unusual. What’s also unusual is the greenhouse’s use of motorized conveyors to carry 4-meter-high stacks of trays full of plants up, down, and around for watering and for capturing the sun’s rays. A Dec. 13 article in the Vancouver Sun says the conveyors also will move the trays full of plants into position for easy harvesting.

The greenhouse should be able to grow as much lettuce as 16 acres of California farm fields. The produce will be fresher and more nutritious than the winter lettuce now transported from California, Mexico, and from as far south as Chile, said Christopher Ng, chief operating officer of the greenhouse manufacturer, Vancouver-based Valcent Products. “Lettuce loses half its nutritional value in the first 96 hours after you pick it,” Ng pointed out. He hopes to interest the city’s best chefs in the product once its quality has been established.

The Sun said the garage, on Richards Street, has good access to sunlight throughout the day despite tall buildings nearby.