HiGarden International Inc.

HiGarden International Inc.

HiGarden International Inc. (HiGarden) is a company focused on modelling structures around nature that benefit people and the environment. These structures involve indoor food production systems, including hydroponic, aquaponic, and vertical farming. Through the function of these systems, HiGarden has created a novel bioproduct that has the potential to be rich in fertility and microbial activity. If so, this bioproduct could be used both in the agriculture industry as a soil rejuvenator and as a complete nutrient source in horticulture. The product is a blend of biochar that has been infused with nutrients and microorganisms through its incorporation in an aquaponics system, worm castings produced from food waste, and a biochar filter.

Objective
The objective of this project was to support the characterization of the chemical, physical, and biological parameters of a novel bioproduct, LivingChar, produced by HiGarden, for use as a complete nutrient and microbe-inoculated media amendment in horticultural crops. This was achieved through the facilitation and examination of various analyses and their subsequent interpretation.

Challenge
HiGarden has created a novel bioproduct that is a blend of vermicompost and biochar, enhanced with nutrients and microbes. HiGarden currently doesn’t possess the knowledge or ability to undertake chemical, physical, and biological analyses and the subsequent interpretation of these analyses, towards understanding their potential impacts on the soil and plant health.

Solution
The Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC) team at Niagara College engaged in a research project with HiGarden, which entailed thorough chemical, physical and biological analyses of its LivingChar products. This study examined the individual and combined effects of the detailed analyses and provided expected outcomes of the results on soil and plant health. Results of this study suggest that the inclusion of activated biochar supports a more desirable aerobic biological environment and nutrient levels in the bioproduct, which will positively impact plant growth and health, as compared to inclusion of the aquaponic biochar.

Funding support provided by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) through the GreenCentre Canada fund.

(Project #NC401)