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Food and Agriculture Institute

The BioPod Initiative

‌The BioPod Initiative is a unique partnership between the University of the Fraser Valley, the City of Surrey, and the John Volken Academy formed to stimulate agri-tech development, provide opportunities for careers in agriculture, and strengthen the local food system. This project won a Leadership and Innovation in Agriculture award from the BC Union of Municipalities and it was funded by both provincial and federal governments through the Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF). Read the IAF project success story.

The BioPod is a twin set of state-of-practice greenhouses built by BW Global that are designed to advance the yield potential while reducing the investment and cultivation costs of traditional greenhouses.

The Food and Agriculture Institute welcomes proposals from industry and entrepreneurs to partner on testing and research in the BioPod. Advanced lighting, climate control, and water management systems provide the capability for year-round growing. 

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BioPod projects‌

Initial projects in the BioPod included the determination of the advantages of a light-dispersing plastic-covered pod concept greenhouse. This project and report included research on the greenhouse structure, use of the vertical growing tower, and a nutrient delivery and recycling system.

Affinor growing towers are designed to use less water and land to grow high-quality food year-round. Seasonal growing trials have tested all aspects of the operation of the tower and have resulted in recommendations to changes in design with anticipated reductions in operating costs and improvements of productivity. 

UFV was asked by Vancity and the City of Surrey to organize and deliver 4 workshops targeting aspiring farmers that may have access to a plot of land or small-scale producers that want to enhance their knowledge. The workshops provided essential training and hands-on practice, covering the principles of organic agriculture and business planning with a focus on vegetable production for the market. Read a story about the workshop from Country Life in BC magazine.

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