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Home Grown

Trying to cut food miles one veggie at a time

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Those interested in reserving a box for 2009 should call WCSS (604) 932-0113 to inquire about getting on the waitlist for next summer.

Trying to address sustainable food practices on a whole other level in Whistler is Dr. Steve Milstein who is the honorary coordinator of Whistler’s up and coming commercial greenhouse project, which will also be managed by the Whistler Community Services Society.

The project, which would fit into Whistler’s sustainable living plan following the Natural Step Environmental Sustainability Program would be a major step towards achieving the goals of Whistler 2020. WCSS hopes that it will also demonstrate the advantage of non-governmental agencies entering into business ventures that are socially responsible and profitable, while simultaneously increasing their ability to deliver needed social services independent of government financing.

Dr. Milstein took the opportunity to share some of his insight, hopes and challenges for the project as he works to transform the idea from a seed into a harvestable product.

Pique: For those who haven't heard, briefly describe the commercial greenhouse concept for Whistler.

Steve Milstein: The plan is for 80,000 square feet of organic commercial greenhouse space growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuces and herbs. The produce will then be sold to local grocery stores and restaurants. The project will use heat from the wastewater plant or utilize geothermal heating (to run year-round). We are now assessing the best and most sustainable source.

Pique: Why do you think this is an important project for Whistler?

SM: The project will eliminate some greenhouse gas due to importing food. It will bring the cost of organic vegetables in Whistler down and move us toward food security. We believe the attention it will bring will help jumpstart more year-round greenhouse production in the corridor, specifically Pemberton.

Pique: Has any land or funding been located to get the project off the ground?