Feature

SAIT ready for construction on “fully tricked-out greenhouse”

Chef Andrew Hewson stands in the PCK Greenhouse Plot

Chef Andrew Hewson, who has been with SAIT for six years, stands on the site where the new greenhouse will be built. “I’m just excited to have a year-round growing season,” said Hewson. NICOLE SANTERRE PHOTO

This year, the end of the growing season for the SAIT culinary garden also marks a
beginning.
Chef Andrew Hewson, an instructor in SAIT’s Professional Cooking program, has been working with David Silburn, SAIT research associate in Green Building Technologies, to put the final plans in place for a greenhouse in the newly named Jackson’s Garden.
SAIT’s Applied Research and Innovative Services (ARIS) has been working on the project since the garden’s inception
in 2009.
Silburn played a big part in the design and construction of the Net-Zero homes created on campus. He worked to design, fabricate and introduce building integrated renewable technologies and he has now applied these technologies to the new greenhouse.
This will not be an average greenhouse. It will combine solar and bubble insulation technology, which will allow the greenhouse to be self sustaining.
The walls will contain a 14-inch air space that will be continually pumped full of bio-degradable soap bubbles. Housed within the roof will be two bubble generators “like you would see at a concert or club,” said Hewson. But these bubbles will be more functional than fun, as they will act
as insulation.
The system works on a closed loop. It takes 8-12 hours for the bubbles to dissipate, and then what is broken down is used again by the bubble generators to fill the air space.
There’s no need to encroach on any of the garden’s growing spaces to fit in this innovative greenhouse as there is a designated 14 by 16 foot place for it in the garden’s plans.
The greenhouse will give the SAIT culinary programs the capacity to grow food 12 months of the year. “It will give us a jump start on the season,” said Hewson. He is expecting a lot more production from the garden, especially fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and eggplant, that require longer growing seasons.
Even though this will be a “fully tricked-out greenhouse,” Hewson said greenhouses are not that difficult to construct and he encourages anyone to have one.
Hewson said he hopes to have the greenhouse functioning by the end of this year.
“Fingers crossed,” he said.
This will be the final stage in the garden’s journey, but there may be a move to create another garden on campus. “Slowly but surely we are going to take over,” said Hewson.
The garden essentially acts as a classroom for the culinary students, but “I try to encourage the campus to get involved with the garden,” said Hewson.
If the gates are open and Hewson is free, he is more than willing to share his knowledge and sometimes the produce. Hewson said the garden has been productive this year and there are items for sale in the John Ware Marketplace.

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