The OASIS Food Security Dream

Download: The OASIS food security Dream

oasis greenhouse illustration

Organic Aquaponic Symbionic Integrated Systems – lot has happened with this project, we have new partners and ideas, using the underground spaces under St James Town, Shipping containers for a kitchen and food buying club, joining the mobile market…. See our new site for more info:new site for the OASIS project

OASIS Greenhouse

Picture a state of the art innovative Aquaponic Greenhouse built on a former outdoor swimming pool between two 25 story high rise towers, a low rise, playground and a grocery store. Imagine looking inside this elegant re-purposed structure, to see 10,000 sq ft of fish tanks, plant beds and growing towers that produce thousands of pounds of high nutrient organic greens, veggies and healthy delicious fish every few months.

Inside, community greenhouse keepers handle seedlings, feed the fish, monitor the growing medium and water quality, harvest fish and veggies. A group of students walks through on a tour and sits in the learning circle seating area on the pool deck overlooking the worlds first community owned zero emission climate controlled year round urban aquaponics greenhouse integrated with a high rise tower.

The rain collection system winding around the greenhouse feeds into the bio-filtration system that also treats the municipal water in the holding tank. The OASIS growing system operates at a 95% water conservation efficiency rate and the water is as pure as can be. The filtration technology demonstrated here is helping many other communities purify water for household use and gardening. The crew that was trained to build the OASIS pilot, often brings interested community leaders and investors to see for themselves the benefits of hiring their new company to help them plan and build an OASIS greenhouse and train their residents to operate its’ cutting edge technology.

The Greenhouse is powered by bio-gas, wind and solar renewable energy systems that run highly efficient pumps, led lighting, fans and temperature controls. The shell has an inner layer of air that can be filled with bubbles to insulate the interior from extreme heat and cold. The machine room under the west tower holds an adapted gas generator that is helping the gas company to switch to renewable fuels like methane from sewage and food waste. There is a bank of double carbon batteries that can hold many days worth of power to ensure the greenhouse can maintain its growing environment whether or not the power grid is working, the sun is shining, or the wind is blowing.

A senior from the building wanders in to take a seat on a bench in a sunbeam and breathe in the moist fragrant air, seeking refuge from the winter cold and ice. A teenager on the 14th floor checks the OASIS website and webcam to see how the tomatoes are doing and who is collecting greens for the market the next day. Her mum is making a stir-fry that includes peppers harvested the week before. She takes the organic waste bucket to the chute down the hall and it falls into the bin collector that feeds a bio-digester and compost separator. Her daughter sends a picture of the inside of the greenhouse, and a tech summary to her cousin in Hyderabad who was asking for information on how to make an OASIS greenhouse for her local community…

Along the sides of the pool base a berm of compost helps to keep the base warm, and the pipes from freezing. There are also 5 vermi-composting bins that enrich the compost that is used to build the soil beds nearby where root veggies are grown almost year round. Across the walkway under the grocery store, in the food hub, harvested produce is processed packaged and stored in industrial refrigerators and freezers until displayed for the weekly market. A community kitchen produces healthy meals, sauces, preserves and desserts.

The café upstairs welcomes residents to socialize, sign up for workshops and events and learn about healthy eating. They can also apply for the time-bank and to become a member of the St James Town community co-op. The service co-operative, which built and owns the OASIS Greenhouse, has it’s offices beside the café. Members and staff work there to administrate and manage the greenhouse, the café, a food buying club and homegrown healthy food market, high-end sales to local food businesses. The co-op also supports a variety of community building projects, social enterprises and educational programs for youth, New Canadians and seniors, largely focused around climate change resilience and based on human rights principles.

This is a vision that could become a reality within 3 years in St James Town…we need approximately 3 million dollars to make it all come true…in a few years it will be financially sustainable, provide jobs for between 10 and 50 residents, train people in urban agriculture, greenhouse building and keeping, water filtration, healthy cooking etc, and provide healthy organic affordable food to hundreds of families in our community.