Former NAIT Student From Fort McMurray Recognized For Food Security Project

A former NAIT student from Fort McMurray is gaining provincial recognition for a project aimed at growing fruits and vegetables in an efficient and safe way.

Noah Neiman and his partner Sebastian Potoniec were chosen as finalists for the Capstone Award, which acknowledges engineering technology projects made by students, for their indoor farm.

They were able to grow lettuce in a small, closed environment using LED lighting. The LED lights produced ideal wavelengths for photosynthesis which helped the lettuce through its stages of growth.

Neiman tells Mix News this technology could help expand farming seasons.

“I think it’s ideal for here in Alberta with our short growing seasons and it offers the chance to grow fruits and vegetables year-round.”

The two came up with the idea after watching a video about indoor farming. They decided they wanted to try and recreate the process but more efficiently.

LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient than alternative lighting sources, can mimic the sun with farmers also able to control all other aspects of growing crops in any place across the globe.

“The whole idea with indoors is that every single condition for growth is completely controlled – you control the temperature, the humidity, the water temperature, everything,” added Neiman.

Their project is also gaining attention due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crops would need little human interaction and could help with food supply concerns.

Barry Cavanaugh, CEO and General Counsel for the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta, believes this could make a real difference in communities struggling to grow food.

“This idea can be used in food deserts in the far north communities and other communities where’s it’s lacking, it can be used in your spare room and in your basement.”

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