TORONTO — U of T Scarborough and Centennial College are partnering to establish the EaRTH (Environmental and Related Technologies Hub) District, which includes the development of Canada’s first net-zero vertical farm and living lab that will apply innovative technologies to food production in an urban setting.
The EaRTH District initiative, aimed at advancing the clean tech sector through research, academic programming and commercialization, will be located at U of T Scarborough and will be a knowledge and training hub for the development of clean technologies.
The vertical farm will create training and research opportunities in a variety of fields including waste management, clean energy, sustainable building design, water conservation, and urban agriculture, among others, indicates a release.
U of T Scarborough and Centennial College signed a memorandum of understanding in early 2019 and have already undergone an extensive consultation process for the vertical farm. The facility’s design is being done in such a way that industry can test and commercialize clean technologies, the release states.
“Every single component of the building, from the heating and cooling to the lighting to the vertical farm, is an element that students, industry and the community can interact with,” said Andrew Petrou, director of strategic initiatives and external relations at Centennial College in a statement, adding clean tech is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Ontario economy and that the EaRTH District will help train a skilled workforce to ensure the province remains internationally competitive.
“The goal is that they would be able to engage with this facility at all levels through programming, research, testing and experiential learning opportunities.”
An important goal of the EaRTH District Petrou said, is to bring together industry, government, community and academia to develop clean technology that can help build more resilient communities and to connect with other clean tech innovation hubs across the world, building a global network to support and advance the sector.