An initiative between Farm Credit Canada and the Regina Food Bank has introduced some new technology that will help with the food bank's needs.

The FCC supplied them with a containerized grower, a unit that can grow certain vegetables in a controlled environment that can be set up anywhere.

Regina Food Bank President John Bailey talks about the new unit and how it'll help the food bank.

"What a container grower is in our case is a horizontal growing unit which sort allows for us to plant all sorts of vegetables and produce with low and not-so-deep root systems. The nice part is because it's indoors, our growing season becomes 12 months, which is a little bit different than what we were trying to plan on outside and then because it is low water, and little electrical, it's also a very environmentally friendly way to grow.

"Once we get it up and running and get all the processes figured out, it's a very consistent yield like it's up to sort of 95% yield efficiencies, which means you essentially never lose crops, which means we have a constant or predictable supply of produce coming into our food  bank." 

That'll produce hundreds of heads of lettuce every few weeks, providing a strong yield for the food bank.

"We're looking at sort of 6-900 heads of lettuce every sort of two to three weeks and then because we were able to cycle it, it means we'll be able to have that sort of being provided to us on a weekly basis, so a fairly significant amount of produce coming into our building." 

The food bank is hoping to have that unit set up in around a month, meaning the first harvest is likely to be around late October to early November.

The partnership will do more than just provide food, as they're also working with the University of Regina to see if the program could be copied and expanded.

"Part of our plan is to have this sort of unit be a catalyst for the development of containerized growing in the province. So we've partnered with the Growth Group which is a recently launched initiative with Economic Development Regina, U of R, and Onehoop to sort of see if there's an opportunity to set up basically a hub around this growing at the Regina Food Bank and then folks will be able to use it for their purposes."

"So for the U of R for research, or for oneHoop for traditional crop growth, and then we can sort of be there. As we grow and as the program expands, we're able to expand and bring in more units ourselves as well to help meet the need in our community."