Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

April 10, 2018 by  
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Over half of products in supermarkets contain palm oil , according to United Kingdom (UK) grocery store chain Iceland , and demand is contributing to deforestation . Iceland plans to do something about it by becoming the “first major UK supermarket” to eliminate palm oil from its own label products by the close of 2018. BREAKING NEWS: We're the UK's first supermarket to commit to removing #palmoil from our own label products by the end of this year! Watch here to find out why… #PalmOilAlarmCall pic.twitter.com/hfGvH2QRDW — Iceland Foods ?? (@IcelandFoods) April 10, 2018 Palm oil is one of the largest causes of deforestation in the world, according to Iceland , which specializes in frozen foods. So they plan to remove it from their own brand products. “By the end of 2018, Iceland will stop using palm oil as an ingredient in 100 percent of its own brand food production, reducing demand for palm oil by more than 500 tonnes per year,” head chef Neil Nugent said in Iceland’s video above. Iceland said Nugent is working to replace palm oil with fats and oils that aren’t destroying rainforests — The Guardian said this includes oils like vegetable or rapeseed oils. Related: UK researchers are developing an orangutan-safe alternative to palm oil Iceland quoted their managing director Richard Walker on their website as saying, “Until Iceland can guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction, we are simply saying ‘no to palm oil.’ We don’t believe this is such a thing as sustainable palm oil available to retailers, so we are giving consumers a choice about what they buy.” Deforestation is threatening many species, including the critically endangered orangutan — their population “has more than halved in the last 15 years,” according to Iceland. The World Wildlife Fund describes the animals as gardeners of the forest, “playing a vital role in seed dispersal.” They’re vulnerable in part due to their low reproductive rate — since females only give birth to one infant around every three to five years, it can take a while for the species to recover from declines in population. + Iceland Foods on Twitter + Iceland Environment Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

This plant-based spray makes fruits and veggies last up to four times longer

March 23, 2018 by  
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How do you preserve fruits and vegetables after harvest? Generally, you need cold temperatures. But what if there were an alternative to refrigeration ? That question inspired Santa Barbara-based Apeel Sciences  to create  Edipeel , a post-harvest protection product made with edible extracts from plants . Inhabitat spoke with CEO and founder James Rogers about the product, which forms a micro-climate around each piece of food so it lasts around double the amount of time it would untreated — at least. Hunger continues to be a pressing problem, and as the population grows, humanity must figure out how to feed 10 billion people. This issue formed the basis of a podcast Rogers was listening to while driving through the Salinas Valley. He looked out the window at the greenery of the valley, dubbed the “Salad Bowl of the World,” and wondered how people could go hungry if we were growing so much food. Digging into the issue, he discovered it’s not so much about growing enough calories to feed the planet as it is about keeping what we do grow from perishing. Related: This company wants to turn food waste into building materials — here’s how Rogers found out fruits and vegetables rot through water loss and oxidation. “As a materials scientist, immediately this rang a bell with how people solve this problem for steel ,” he told Inhabitat. “Most people don’t think about it, but steel is highly perishable. It rusts. Metallurgists solved this problem in creating stainless steel, and the way that they did that was by adding additional elements, like chromium or nickel.” Edipeel creates an invisible, edible barrier to keep oxygen out and water in. Apeel recombines edible oils from plants in blends tailored for different kinds of food; think citrus or avocados. The result is a powder that Apeel mixes with water and sprays on the surface of food. It dries into a thin added peel, creating a micro-climate for each piece of produce. “The result is that it can last two, three, four times longer, even without refrigeration,” said Rogers. Worried about harmful chemicals on your food? So were Rogers’ friends. “They said, ‘Hey, sounds like a cool idea, bro, but we don’t want any chemicals,’” Rogers said. Although food is technically comprised of chemicals, some people don’t always think about it that way, so he wondered, “What if we could relegate ourselves only to using those materials that are found in high concentrations in the fruits and vegetables we eat every day to make formulations to use food to preserve food?” Apeel has been developing Edipeel for around six years now with that goal in mind. “We’re not a large chemical manufacturing company saying ‘let’s manufacture a new chemical to solve this problem.’ We’re looking at it from this perspective of: how do we work with nature to solve this problem the right way — not the fast way, not the cheap way, not the way that sacrifices the long-term health of the planet, but how do we solve this with the tool set nature has provided us?” Rogers told Inhabitat. The extracts for Edipeel can come from any vegetable or fruit. “We’re not looking for any weird botanical extract from some crazy flower in the Amazon,” Rogers said. “The materials we need are ubiquitous. If it grows above the surface of the earth, basically we can use it to create our formulations. The materials we’re using are all inert materials. They don’t have any action in and of themselves; they’re just structural. We recompose that structure on the outside of produce. “ Since spoilage is so significant, the way Apeel prices Edipeel means it’s more expensive for retailers not to have it. According to Rogers, “If you’re a retailer and you’re throwing away eight percent of your avocados, we’re able to price our product such that by paying us, you’re still going to save enough money to pay us for the product.” Edipeel is designated “Generally Recognized As Safe” by the Food and Drug Administration and can be used on organic produce. “As soon as you see how it works, you know that this is going to be a thing in the world,” Rogers told Inhabitat. “Seeing it work, even at a small scale, it was like, ‘This is the future.’ It just feels like an eventuality.” This year, Apeel is gearing up to offer Edipeel to commercial partners. Rogers couldn’t say who those partners might be quite yet, but he did say they are premier retailers. + Apeel Sciences Images courtesy of Apeel

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This plant-based spray makes fruits and veggies last up to four times longer

Agtech start-up Plenty plans to grow hydroponic peaches

March 19, 2018 by  
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San Francisco -based start-up Plenty is expanding the possibilities of what can be grown on indoor farms, with its sights set on peaches. Plenty uses a hydroponic growing system, which feeds crops through a steady flow of nutrient-rich water, to grow high-quality, local produce. This kind of system is typically used to grow annual crops, not perennial trees like peaches. Nonetheless, Plenty’s success has the company confident that it can break new ground. “[Plenty’s kale] is nothing like the tough, bitter leaf we’re used to,” Plenty CEO  Matt Barnard proudly stated to Wired . “It’s sweet and velvety. People say we should find another name for it.” Plenty grows its crops indoors thanks to light supplies by LEDs and vertically-aligned growing spaces. This allows for greater crop density, which best serves the urban environment in which Plenty farms. In addition to its environmental benefits, Plenty’s local harvest tastes better too. “Right now, produce often has to travel 3,000 miles from the farm to consumer,” said Barnard, “which is why so many farms grow iceberg lettuce , which tastes of nothing. Our salads are spicy and citrusy and sweet at the same time. People are amazed they can eat it without salad dressing.” Related: 6 places where soil-less farming is revolutionizing how we grow food The primary obstacle to greater success for operations like Plenty is cost. “Anyone can buy some shelves, some lights, irrigation,” said Barnard. “The challenge is to get your produce down from $40 per pound to $1. At the moment, for example, we have an expensive peach.” Plenty plans to incorporate data and machine learning capabilities into the system, so as to allow for algorithmic alterations based on plant needs. “Now we are having what I like to [call] a ‘Google moment,’” explained Barnard. “Just like Google benefited from the simultaneous combination of improved technology, better algorithms and masses of data, we are seeing the same.” Via Wired Images via Plenty and Depositphotos

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Agtech start-up Plenty plans to grow hydroponic peaches

First plastic-free supermarket aisle opens in Amsterdam

February 28, 2018 by  
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The world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle opened on February 28 at the Amsterdam location of the Netherlands -based supermarket chain Ekoplaza. Within this aisle, customers will be able to choose from more than 700 plastic-free products. Eventually, the company hopes to roll out plastic-free aisles at all of its 74 locations. The aisle arrives at a time when global concern over plastic pollution is on the rise and campaigns are being waged to urge companies and governments to change their plastic policies. “For decades shoppers have been sold the lie that we can’t live without plastic in food and drink,” Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, told the Guardian . “A plastic-free aisle dispels all that. Finally we can see a future where the public have a choice about whether to buy plastic or plastic-free. Right now we have no choice.” Ekoplaza is proud to offer an environmentally friendly alternative to its customers. “We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging,” Ekoplaza chief executive Erik Does told the Guardian . “Plastic-free aisles are a really innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.” The plastic-free items, which incorporate biodegradable materials whenever possible, will not be any more expensive than those wrapped with plastic. According to anti-plastic campaigners, the aisle will serve as a “testbed for innovative new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard.” Related: Iceland supermarket commits to eliminating plastic within five years According to activists, the grocery store sector accounts for 40 percent of all plastic packaging. “There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic,” Sutherland said. “Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the Earth for centuries afterwards.” Ekoplaza’s first step into a plastic-free world should be emulated by others. “Europe’s biggest supermarkets must follow Ekoplaza’s lead and introduce a plastic-free aisle at the earliest opportunity to help turn off the plastic tap,” added Sutherland. Via The Guardian Images via Ekoplaza

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First plastic-free supermarket aisle opens in Amsterdam

This whimsical houseboat in Seattle is straight out of a fairy tale

February 28, 2018 by  
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Floating on Seattle’s East Lake, this fairy-tale houseboat – which is on the market for $850,000 – has more storybook features than you can shake a magic wand at. The shingled roof is topped with a turret, and the interior features playful geometric archways, secret nooks, and stained-glass windows. And even the pickiest of princesses will love bathing in the wooden bathtub carved from a 200-year-old cedar log. The design of the 830-square-foot home is quite unique, but the living space in the floating home is surprisingly comfy and inviting. With multiple skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows and stained glass accents, natural light streams throughout the interior. The wooden paneling that covers the flooring and the walls gives the space a cabin-like feel, enhanced by a beautifully hand-carved banister. Vaulted ceilings and geometric archways open up the space. Related: Two photographers are sailing through Europe in amazing handbuilt houseboats The sweet home is filled with lots of character, including hand-carved wooden railings and doors. The living space on the ground floor opens up through two french doors to a large wooden deck that wraps around the home. Two bedrooms and a bath are on the second floor, which is filled with little nooks and reading spaces. For a little bit of solitude, a cozy sitting area has been nestled into the structure’s fairytale turret. Via Apartment Therapy Images via Windermere

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This whimsical houseboat in Seattle is straight out of a fairy tale

Daan Roosegaarde reveals vision for air-purifying Smog Free Drones

February 28, 2018 by  
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Studio Roosegaarde ‘s Smog Free Project continues to create bubbles of clean air throughout the world – the team recently opened a Smog Free Tower in Park Jordana in Kraków, Poland . But Daan Roosegaarde isn’t through innovating new ideas to clean our skies. In an exclusive interview with Inhabitat, Roosegaarde shared the first art impressions for Smog Free Drones, which could create personal pockets of fresh air. Imagine a small gizmo gliding above your head, scrubbing the air as it goes. That’s essentially the Smog Free Drone, or Smog Free Floatable. This new artistic vision from Studio Roosegaarde is still very much in the early stages, but Roosegaarde says they do think it is possible. He tells Inhabitat, “The Smog Free Project is a movement: we’ve done the Smog Free Tower, Smog Ring , Smog Free Bicycle, but at the same time we also wanted to make it personal, make it portable. That’s why we came up with the notion of the floatable; that it would be like a buddy floating above your head, giving you clean air as you walk through the polluted city.” Related: INTERVIEW: Designer Daan Roosegaarde on smog temples, space trash, and what’s next The Smog Free Drone could function as an alternative to a stiff face mask; Roosegaarde described it as “sort of like a Pac-Man moving through the city and keeping you safe.” There are technical challenges to the project: battery life, safety, and sound are a few. But these could be tackled, Roosegaarde thinks, and with enough time and energy, the Smog Free Drones could become reality. “The artist impression we made is also an open call to the community,” he says. “This is our idea, we think it’s possible, we don’t know. If someone wants to make it or knows how to make it, call us or do it yourself, I don’t really care as long as it’s realized. Why not?” The design of drones themselves could assist the idea’s realization. Roosegaarde says, “Drones already have a sort of air flow, because they need to stay up in the air. You might be able to make use of that to design the thermodynamics underneath, or above your head.” So far the Smog Free Tower has been a success in Kraków , which Roosegaarde described as one of Europe’s most polluted cities — worse than Beijing on some days. And while Studio Roosegaarde is continually taking measurements to test the tower’s performance, in Poland there was another surprise indicator of clean air around the tower: little dogs . “Apparently, of the animals they’re having the most trouble with the smog because their noses and lungs are small. They were somehow attracted by the tower, so there were a lot of these really small dogs hanging around, like they were having a secret meeting, and enjoying the clean air,” said Roosegaarde. “Maybe that’s the quality of a good design: that it always triggers something beyond the control of the designer, and you just have to surrender to that.” Overall, the tower’s design is the same as the ones in China and the Netherlands, but Studio Roosegaarde made a few minor alterations in terms of production, and can also monitor the tower online. It’s in a public park , so anyone can freely access the clean air. “We’ve calculated that we can make the park between 20 and 70 percent more clean than the rest of the city in terms of clean air,” Roosegaarde said, adding that the Smog Free Tower in Kraków might become a permanent urban fixture. Studio Roosegaarde held a symposium at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK) with local creatives and activists to discuss creating change around air quality . Roosegaarde said, “It is as much unique technological innovation as social and political innovation. I think the summary of all these dialogues is that we live in an economical system which is all about money and time. And we all want a new economical system which is about clean air, clean water , and clean energy . But how do we get there? What’s the price of clean air? Who is going to decide that? It was incredibly fascinating for me to learn from that, and I hope we have way more conversations.” Stay tuned for more smog vacuum cleaners popping up around the planet — Roosegaarde said they will be launching the Smog Free Project in Mexico, Colombia, and India in upcoming months. And will it be an Inhabitat reader who helps bring the vision for Smog Free Drones to life? We’ll be excited to find out! + Studio Roosegaarde + Smog Free Project Images courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

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Daan Roosegaarde reveals vision for air-purifying Smog Free Drones

Solar and wind energy could meet 80% of US electricity demand

February 28, 2018 by  
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Fourth-fifths of the United States’ electricity demand could be met with wind and solar power , according to four researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science , University of California, Irvine (UCI), and the California Institute of Technology . UCI associate professor Steven Davis said in a statement , “The fact that we could get 80 percent of our power from wind and solar alone is really encouraging. Five years ago, many people doubted that these resources could account for more than 20 or 30 percent.” The scientists scrutinized global hourly weather data between 1980 and 2015 data to grasp the geophysical barriers to utilizing solely those renewable sources, and think if the United States were to draw only on solar and wind, they’d need to store several weeks’ worth of power to make up for those times when the sun isn’t shining or wind isn’t blowing. According to Davis, the US could reliably obtain around 80 percent of electricity from wind and solar power “by building either a continental-scale transmission network or facilities that could store 12 hours’ worth of the nation’s electricity demand.” Related: Abundant solar threatens fossil fuel companies in Texas to the tune of $1.4 billion It wouldn’t be cheap to invest in expanding transmission or storage capabilities, but the researchers said it’s not inconceivable. They estimate new transmission lines required could cost hundreds of billions of dollars, while storing that amount of electricity with the cheapest batteries today could cost over one trillion dollars, but prices are dropping. Carnegie Institution for Science’s Ken Caldeira said, “Our work indicates that low-carbon-emission power sources will be needed to complement what we can harvest from the wind and sun until storage and transmission capabilities are up to the job. Options could include nuclear and hydroelectric power generation, as well as managing demand.” The journal Energy & Environmental Science published the research this week. + University of California, Irvine + Energy & Environmental Science Lead image via DepositPhotos ; others via Steve Zylius/UCI and Drew Hays on Unsplash

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Solar and wind energy could meet 80% of US electricity demand

Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

February 20, 2018 by  
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If you feed your doggo and puppers foods made by the J.M. Smucker company (and the list is long), you are definitely going to want to read this. The company has recalled several brands of food because they are contaminated with a drug used to euthanize pets. In case you are thinking to yourself, “haven’t I heard this before?” – yes, you have. A different company had the exact same issue last year. The FDA states that a small amount of pentobarbital was found in foods like Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits and Skippy (see the whole list below). According to the FDA, “Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia.” If you’ve fed your dog one of these brands, the FDA says it is unlikely that the amount of the drug found in the food will make your dog sick, but watch out for “drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner) and inability to stand.” If your dog shows any of these symptoms after ingesting any of the contaminated foods, it’s best to get them to the vet to be safe. Related: The devastating reason Mumbai dogs are turning blue “We take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain,” said Barry Dunaway, President of Pet Food and Pet Snacks. In case you were wondering how the heck a drug like pentobarbital is making its way into dog food, it is likely from contaminated cattle meat – all the more reason to take a good, hard look at what you are feeding your pets . The list of withdrawn products the firm provided to the FDA include: Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541 Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542 Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647 Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380 Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250 Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245 Via Gizmodo Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 and 2 )

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Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste

December 26, 2017 by  
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OLIO  is an online app designed to reduce food waste through social networking . After creating an account, OLIO users can upload photos and descriptions of foods, such as extra vegetables, surplus canned goods, or leftover meals, that they wish to share. Since launching in the United Kingdom in early 2016, OLIO has gained 322,000 users, with more than 400,000 food transactions made on the app. A third of OLIO’s regular users are from low-income households. “[The food system] is clearly absolutely bonkers and needs to be fixed,” said OLIO co-founder Tessa Cook, who was inspired to create the app to deal with what she describes as “one of the biggest problems facing humanity today,” according to the Independent . One-third of all food produced globally is wasted, while in the United Kingdom, the average family discards £700 worth of food each year. Cook was inspired by one incident in which she sought to share leftovers on the street, but could not find someone. “I thought, this is perfectly delicious food . I know there is someone within 100 meters who would love it. The problem is they don’t know about it,” she said. Related: France is the world’s most sustainable food country When Cook realized there was no food-sharing app, she and Saasha Celestial-One, an American former investment banker, co-founded OLIO after raising £1.65 million (~$2.2 million) in investor funding. OLIO is now collaborating with cafes and supermarkets to reduce food waste , while positively impacting business and consumer behavior. Sharing apps like OLIO have highlighted the positive possibilities of a networked society. “These have made visible the kind of opportunity within all this stuff around us, and they can be really powerful,” said Joe Iles, editor-in-chief of Circulate , a magazine which promotes the idea of a circular economy, in which materials and products are reused . Via the Independent Images via OLIO and Depositphotos

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OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste

The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

December 22, 2017 by  
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Although frost has arrived in most subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, farmers still carry on even in the most extreme cold climates with the help of innovative technology and thoughtful design. Polar Permaculture Solutions of Norway  and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse of Canada are outstanding examples of defiant, determined agriculture in the Arctic. With features such as hydroponic systems, insulated greenhouses, and compost-warmed geodesic domes, these farms are far from frozen despite their high latitude locations. Benjamin Vidmar, founder of Polar Permaculture Solutions , was inspired to make a change through observations of his home, Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago’s largest island. “This whole island is about extraction: whales, coal, animals, fish, gas, oil,” Vidmar told Mic . “Everything here is based on taking things from the Earth . I feel like I have to do something for this town.” Vidmar, a chef, began researching methods for growing food in harsh, frigid climates and started growing microgreens for home and restaurant use in an insulated geodesic dome. Since then, Polar Permaculture Solutions has opened its doors for tours and classes for those interested in the challenge. Vidmar hopes to acquire a biodigester, which would create heat and fertilizer from food waste and quail droppings. Related: New Antarctic farm will grow produce despite temperatures of -100 d Across the Atlantic, then again across the most northern regions of North America, communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories are also implementing innovative systems to grow food despite the short season. In the small town of Inuvik, the Inuvik Community Greenhouse , which was converted from an old hockey rink, is now a cherished community space for all ages. The Greenhouse has 250 members, 149 community garden beds, and 24 smaller beds that grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. During the growing season, which lasts from May to September in the greenhouse, community members donate 100 pounds of food to the local food bank. The Greenhouse also offers a compost collection service for town residents, which reduces local food waste, helps to build greenhouse soil, and financially supports the greenhouse’s growth. Via Mic Images via Polar Permaculture Solutions and Inuvik Greenhouse

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The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

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