WATCH: A Surrey businessman has built our country’s first working biodome in his backyard and he’s hoping to use it to tackle the world food shortage. Nadia Stewart explains.
A giant bubble in Surrey is home to 6,000 strawberry plants, stacked upon each other with no soil and requiring one-tenth the water of a normal strawberry plant.
If it sounds new, it’s because it is. The biodome in Tom Colclough’s backyard, built by Eco Energy Asia, is just a prototype. But it’s the first of its kind in Canada, and Colclough hopes it will be the beginning of a new trend in sustainable growing.
“We need to be looking at how we grow things. We need to have a simpler way of growing things that is close to where that produce is going to be consumed,” he says.
“We’re looking at putting the dome wherever there’s people, in populated areas, in urban areas.”
The Biodome is a closed, contained, controlled, environment. The panels are created using a special plastic film called ethylene tetrafluoroethylene to ensure light is equally spread through the structure. Because the panels are clear, they can use the sun as a natural heating source.
“In controlling the environment, it also means that we can grow 365 days a year, so that we can take these plants through the cycles and accelerate them to a certain degree by optimizing the conditions,” says Colclough.
While they know they can grow the strawberries inside the dome, the new question is how efficient they can make it. While it’s still in the research and development phase, both Colclough and Eco Energy Asia have high hopes.
“We can grow throughout the year and potentially in environments where it’s difficult to grow where people have got limited water resources, where people have limited arable land,” he says.