Micro Crop. Macro Thinking.
Since Ian Adamson, owner of Greenbelt Microgreens, first started experimenting with greenhouse-grown microgreens in 1998, Greenbelt Microgreens has become Canada’s largest producer of organic microgreens. Today, the company’s sunflower sprouts, pea shoots, wheat grass, arugula and lettuces are flying off the shelves at the country’s largest grocery chains and most discriminating organic retailers.
In 2016, in order to keep up with increasing demand, Greenbelt Microgreens shifted operations from one-acre of greenhouse space to a 3.5-acre greenhouse complex just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. Having direct experience with the benefits of growing under glass from his first greenhouse, Ian knew that replacing the new greenhouse’s cloudy double polyethylene covering was a must.
A chance encounter with an ACRYLITE® representative would not just change the plan for his new greenhouse covering, it would take his crop to unexpected new heights.
When Ian first heard about the option of using 16 mm ACRYLITE® Alltop high impact UV transmitting acrylic multi-skin sheet in a carefully controlled growing environment like his greenhouse, the product’s long list of advantages had him immediately intrigued.
While the initial investment in ACRYLITE® would cost more than glass, Ian felt the numbers were worth a closer look. Ultimately, he held true to the company’s philosophy of always putting quality first and opted to invest in 160,000 square feet of 16 mm ACRYLITE® Alltop high impact UV transmitting acrylic multi-skin sheet.
Two years later when asked if he’d make the same decision again, Ian answers with an enthusiastic, “Absolutely. I would never grow again without it.”
“It’s funny, because the things that initially drew me toward ACRYLITE® were that it had these incredible warranties, that I wouldn’t have to worry about hail and that it would last significantly longer than other products. As a company that is incredibly focused on our environmental impact, we also really liked the fact that it offered improved energy efficiency. I don’t think I was really prepared for all of the other improvements that the UV light transmitting acrylic would drive in our greens. We now have all the advantages of a greenhouse environment with light conditions that truly replicate outdoor growth. It’s the best of both worlds and the results we’re seeing are amazing,” says Ian.
Ian estimates that ACRYLITE® has improved crop yields by 40 percent compared to growing under poly and reduced the growth cycle by 20 percent compared to growing under glass. The ability of ACRYLITE® Alltop high impact to allow for UV light to penetrate through the greenhouse covering also has enhanced color, flavor and nutrient density, and it’s a difference that has buyers taking notice. Recently, a buyer that’s worked for one of Canada’s largest grocery chains for over twenty years visited the greenhouse and commented that he’d never seen such deep reds in greenhouse-grown red butter lettuce.
ACRYLITE® is a registered trademark of Evonik Cyro.
For more information on ACRYLITE, please visit www.acrylite.net.