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New project brings ‘desperately needed’ indoor farming to Calgary Tower

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Big changes are on the way at one of Calgary’s best-known landmarks, which means Calgary Tower will soon have a garden in a surprising spot.

The project involves putting in an indoor system for growing produce in vacant commercial space at the bottom of the tower.

For the man in charge of the project, Dan Houston of Agriplay Ventures, it brings back memories of childhood visits to the top of the tower.

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“It was special, because we’d go up to see the city,” Houston said.

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Agriplay will be installing vertical growing towers in the Calgary Tower space.

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“We’re going to be having strawberries, watermelons, cucumbers,” Houston said.

It will be an expansion of what Agriplay already has on the go at its existing indoor farming facility in northeast Calgary

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“The system automatically produces the nutrient system and flows into each of the towers,” Houston said.

Agriplay’s existing operation grows produce like parsley, peppers and cherry tomatoes.

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“You can grow, in one-tenth the space, three to five times the amount of greenhouse vegetables, using 98 per cent less water,” Houston said. “It’s environmentally friendly. It’s desperately needed.”

Agriplay is planning to grow fruits and vegetables at the Calgary Tower by Sept. 1.

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The company is hoping to take its system elsewhere in Calgary to help revitalize the city’s downtown.

“We walk into a building that can’t find a tenant and we turn that building into an output of fresh produce,” Houston said.

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Agriplay is aiming to have fruit and veggies grown at the Calgary Tower in local supermarkets by early 2023.

The project will bring fresh ideas to a spot Houston enjoyed so much as a child.

“So it’s kind of come full circle,” Houston said. “I mean, what better way to show Calgary diversifying and changing… than to covert the icon that is the Calgary Tower and bring it back to life?”

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