To address the need for productive, year-round food production systems in remote, northern communities, the first phase of the ‘AgriDome Feasibility Study’ was conducted at Yukon College during the winter and spring of 2015. The AgriDome consisted of an insulated dome, vertical hydroponics systems and partially automated plant production that aimed to reduce the inputs of power, water and labour in order to reduce the cost of producing vegetables in harsh, northern environments. The results of this study demonstrated that the AgriDome was able to exceed expectations by significantly reducing heating and water expenditures while producing a variety of plants and vegetables. Total average power expenditures over the course of the study were 1.9 kWhr (continuous) and water usage was less than 1000 L/mo to support nearly 800 plants. However, overall productivity needed to be improved in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the AgriDome systems.
With support from Yukon Agriculture’s ‘Growing Forward2’ program, continued support from Yukon Research Centre – Cold Climate Innovation and contributions from Agri-Arctic, this study continued until January 31st, 2016. The objective of this phase of the feasibility study was to improve practices and continue to develop the AgriDome’s systems to boost productivity to acceptable levels.
This final phase managed to boost production of a variety of plants and vegetables and led to the development of an upgraded vertical hydroponics system that is presently being constructed in Hay River, NWT.