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Closer to home with a Biodome


GRANT ULLYOT


Surrey-based systemis designed to make the growing of quality food possible where farming is difficult or far removed fromconsumers.


By Grant Ullyot C


anadian consumers today prefer to eat locally-grown foods and this has led to development of another new system for growing fruits and vegetables in a fully-enclosed structure.


Called a Biodome, it addresses the growing need to bring healthy food production closer to urban centres and establish improved food security — anywhere in the world. The innovative system was designed and built by Tom Colclough for Eco Energy Tech Canada (EcoTech). It covers 3,000 square-feet of his rural Surrey farm yard. Colclough’s Biodome, when under construction, raised some eyebrows among area residents passing his property wondering what he was doing.


Potential customers could be in any country where there are large populations with limited access to food sources, such as South Africa, China, Japan and Germany. Colclough explains that Biodomes can be used by schools, hospitals, food aid programs, commercial growers and governments to provide healthy food to those in heavily populated areas dependent on food imports from other countries. The domes can even be placed on flat rooftops in urban centres.


6 British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2015


Colclough says he drew upon his many experiences working in the healthcare field in developing countries, particularly the southern African countries. “What concerned me most was the nutrition issue ... where you have people from rural areas moving into a suburban area and their diet changes. In fact, it changes dramatically as they go onto a high carbohydrate diet which is all they can afford and it has a major impact on the children.”


Colclough cites China where 250 million people are being displaced from their homes and moved into enormous new villages.


“So what I am doing is providing a facility in which crops can be locally grown, giving consumers a more nutritional choice of foods produced in a controlled atmosphere right where they live.”


The Biodome is a controlled environment. One of the benefits of growing berries or cole crops in a Biodome compared with field grown crops is less pest management. The Biodome reduces the risks associated with growing these crops.


Colclough thinks the interest on feeding ourselves locally is very beneficial.


“Reducing our reliance on fruits and vegetables that are not produced in Canada is the objective, and the Biodome is a vehicle that can bring food production to where the consumer is located no matter where.


“Today we have extensive development in Africa. I also have three Biodomes in China; one in Hong Kong in the inner city, one on the outskirts and a third in the adjacent rural area. Over the next five years I hope to erect up to 30 Biodomes in China. The Middle East is another area in


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