Tagged composting

City of Vancouver Approves Urban Stream’s Latest Micro-farm

Though Urban Stream is leaning much more towards our composting technology these days, we have a microfarming project on the go with Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Rocky Mountain bought our Urban Microfarm container a little over a year ago. And a little less than a year ago, the City of Vancouver issued a stop work order on that project due to a neighbour’s complaint.

Despite the city issuing the stop work order, they were really eager to get us up and running. We worked closely with the city to get the unit up to the city’s code. Because the City of Vancouver had never seen a project like our Microfarm, so we had to work with them to figure out which building codes we have to abide by. Ultimately, we had to change the roof on the micro-farm, upgrade the electrical and seismically anchor the shipping container to ensure that if a big earthquake hits, the container won’t budge.

This week, after the container was inspected by the engineer and our friendly-neighbourhood building inspector, the retrofits were approved! We are so happy to have gotten to this point after almost a year of retrofitting and working with the city. Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company has been so wonderfully patient with us and the city, and we couldn’t be happier to have them as a flagship customer.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be outfitting the micro-farm with our second generation worm composter and Lifespace Projects’ self-watering planter boxes and in no time at all you’ll be able to enjoy Urban Stream’s fresh greens on Rocky Mountain’s delicious flatbread pizzas.

To learn more about how this all came about, listen to Urban Stream founder, Nick Hermes, on CBC’s The Early Edition and Spark with Nora Young.

Urban Stream Micro-Farm’s to be tested for remote communities and subarctic climates

Norman Wells, an arctic  community on the De Cho (Mackenzie) River

Norman Wells, an arctic community on the De Cho (Mackenzie) River

We’re excited to share that Urban Stream has new opportunities we’re exploring in Alberta. This is thanks to the work of USI co-founder Jim Sawada (PhD) and a new addition to the team, Richard Hermes. Jim relocated to Edmonton in 2011 where he is now researching at the University of Alberta. Richard and Jim are assessing opportunities for Urban Stream in Western Canada in commercial/ industrial markets. More specifically the application of Urban Stream’s technology in work camps and isolated communities – a growth area acknowledged in our most recent business plan.

We are also excited to note that we have been awarded our second IRAP grant through National Research Council Canada for $30,000 to explore this opportunity, and have also been approved for a $15,000 voucher from the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures program. So that’s a little slice of awesome that can go towards continued R&D.

We’ve contracted TEC Edmonton to assess regulatory/permitting issues for Urban Stream growth in urban markets in Western Canada starting with Vancouver while an RFP has been issued for a technical feasibility study into the scale-up and cold-weather engineering potential of our technology. In response we have received three proposals that we are currently reviewing.

A BIT ABOUT ARCTIC FOOD SECURITY AND REMOTE COMMUNITIES

Remote communities, work camps and disaster relief deployment have all been areas of interest for Urban Stream over the past couple of years but we have not actually put significant resources into these areas until now. Vancouver is an amazing city, and the political will to support innovative greentech or urban ag projects is obvious here. Our mayor takes it on the chin from his detractors regularly, and for that we are truly appreciative of his commitment to a more sustainable food system and city. Nonetheless the bureaucratic thickness and complexity of a City like Vancouver has proven difficult in the past and remote communities, resource sector camps and even military in many respects appear a quicker growth trajectory as competition for space and the complexity of permits and other regulations less cumbersome. Not to say we won’t still be focusing on cities, and Vancouver in particular, but we’re also beginning to explore these other options more closely now that several assumptions about our technology have been proven (and in some cases dis-proven, which is also good as we continue to dial in our Micro-Farm concept and learn how to better design each subsequent unit)

Remote communities, particularly in the arctic, are facing food security challenges. Urban Stream’s Wes Regan was born in the arctic and spent most of his early childhood there. His parents still live there. It’s an issue that’s near to him. Urban Stream’s Nick Hermes grew up in Edmonton, the northernmost major city in North America and in many ways the Gateway to Canada’s Arctic. Further to remote communities we’ve seen that major industrial and even military procurement has been searching for environmentally sustainable (if not more supply chain sustainable) innovations. One example is one of the largest purchasers on the planet, the United States military.

The United States military has recently begun to invest significantly in sustainable energy. With both cost reduction and carbon reduction benefits to adopting our technology we see a potential market opportunity in defense sector food systems management. The research and development work we are about to embark on in Alberta opens the door to explore these options in the near future once we have a better understanding of how our technology can operate in remote areas, in colder climates, and in rapid deployment scenarios.

USI Media Update:

This previous November Urban Stream was featured in Utne Reader and the popular City Farmer News. A generous article in Garden Culture (a quarterly magazine) showcased the company. Online journal Ecopreneurist also wrote an article on USI as well as RogeHydro

Urban Stream Launch a Huge Success!

The clouds parted and the sun came out almost as if we had ordered up the weather ourselves at Urban Stream’s official launch.  A good thing too, as much as we tried to keep everyone inside for the drinks and snacks it was hard to stop a crowd from forming around our first commercial scale Micro-Farm.

It took nearly a month to build out but in reality it’s taken nearly 3 years for this to go from a thesis on sustainable food systems to an innovative and 100% tangible solution for restaurants in Vancouver, Luke’s Corner Bar & Kitchen in this specific case. A lot of thank you’s have been necessary between then and now, and we tried to get them all in that afternoon. In particular our investors and other early supporters who took that leap of faith with us. Vancity who awarded us 3rd place in the Good Money Venture Impact Challenge, Dave Anderson who has done fantastic work drafting our schematics and site plans over the past year, the numerous folks at the City of Vancouver, UBC, IRAP (Especially Lori Law!), the Urban Farming community here in Vancouver, our awesome team of advisers who have been so incredibly helpful, the core team that has formed at the heart of this enterprise and of course our wives and partners who have seen us go from writing on napkins to appearing on the cover of the Vancouver Sun. A big thank you to Randy Shore for that!

Nick was grilled on the technical aspects of the system by media, restaurant owners, urban farmers and other interested parties for 2.5 hours outside while Gord,Matthew and I had the much easier job of wining and dining with the above mentioned people. Sorry Nick, that’s what being the resident scientist of the bunch entails.

What it’s resulted in is numerous phone calls from interested restaurants, local governments, food distributors and manufacturers elsewhere in the lower mainland and even newspapers from as far away as Pittsburgh. So needless to say, the only reason we’ve gotten to posting to the blog about it now is because of the incredible amount of other communications going on! Have a look at some of the pics for the day. More are available at Luke’s Facebook Page.

Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch

 

Urban Stream Launch a Huge Success!

The clouds parted and the sun came out almost as if we had ordered up the weather ourselves at Urban Stream’s official launch.  A good thing too, as much as we tried to keep everyone inside for the drinks and snacks it was hard to stop a crowd from forming around our first commercial scale Micro-Farm.

It took nearly a month to build out but in reality it’s taken nearly 3 years for this to go from a thesis on sustainable food systems to an innovative and 100% tangible solution for restaurants in Vancouver, Luke’s Corner Bar & Kitchen in this specific case. A lot of thank you’s have been necessary between then and now, and we tried to get them all in that afternoon. In particular our investors and other early supporters who took that leap of faith with us. Vancity who awarded us 3rd place in the Good Money Venture Impact Challenge, Dave Anderson who has done fantastic work drafting our schematics and site plans over the past year, the numerous folks at the City of Vancouver, UBC, IRAP (Especially Lori Law!), the Urban Farming community here in Vancouver, our awesome team of advisers who have been so incredibly helpful, the core team that has formed at the heart of this enterprise and of course our wives and partners who have seen us go from writing on napkins to appearing on the cover of the Vancouver Sun. A big thank you to Randy Shore for that!

Nick was grilled on the technical aspects of the system by media, restaurant owners, urban farmers and other interested parties for 2.5 hours outside while Gord,Matthew and I had the much easier job of wining and dining with the above mentioned people. Sorry Nick, that’s what being the resident scientist of the bunch entails.

What it’s resulted in is numerous phone calls from interested restaurants, local governments, food distributors and manufacturers elsewhere in the lower mainland and even newspapers from as far away as Pittsburgh. So needless to say, the only reason we’ve gotten to posting to the blog about it now is because of the incredible amount of other communications going on! Have a look at some of the pics for the day. More are available at Luke’s Facebook Page.

Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch Urban Stream Launch