The team at Greenbelt Microgreens, winner of the 2017 Excellence in Innovation Award, touts itself as Canada’s largest producer of microgreens. But as a certain arachnid superhero once said, with great power comes great responsibility.
In the case of Greenbelt, located in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, this means constantly staying on top of the latest trends in technology, and, if necessary, becoming the first in your industry to do something bold.
For example, Greenbelt Microgreens President Ian Adamson says that one of the biggest input costs his company incurs is harvesting expenses. After realizing that the ideal type of technology he was looking for simply didn’t exist, Adamson and others at Greenbelt took the product development in-house and created different styles of harvesters for microgreens to pass through.
“They’ve been paramount in labor reduction costs and alleviating backlogs in the system when orders are coming in,” Adamson says.
Another new creation is a compostable tray that will be launched at Cultivate’17.
“Sanitizing trays for smaller growers is a big challenge due to cost and space, and sanitization has turned into a major bottleneck at our operation,” Adamson says. “We wanted to create a compostable tray that is composted with the root mat, saving a lot in input energy.”
The recent installation of an acrylic roof is one more example.
“In many cases, our machinery is one of a kind, and we are pushing the boundaries of existing greenhouse technologies in Canada,” Adamson says.
Fortunately, Greenbelt doesn’t keep this innovation to itself and is more than willing to share it with other growers.
“We have brought other microgreen growers from across the continent and abroad to our greenhouse and have shown them how we have been able to scale our operation up through technology without compromising quality,” Adamson says.
The Operation of the Year award winner will be announced during Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence at Cultivate’17.