While Saskatchewan is known for being a province filled with farmland, there aren’t many farmers that can say they grow their own tropical foods.
But for Dean Sopher, that is exactly what he set out to do.
The idea for a solar-powered greenhouse came as food prices soared due to inflation. Sopher said the greenhouse was just an extension of how he lives his life.
“I’m a builder by trade, but I’ve always been interested in passive solar technology,” the Saskatoon resident explained. “I built my house to use very little natural gas and air conditioning and I knew this concept would work for a greenhouse.
“I designed this specifically for our latitude on planet Earth. So, where we live, we get 319 sunny days a year, and I decided to utilize all that sun for producing as much as I possibly can.”
Now, Sopher is growing avocados, bananas, passionfruit, lemons, limes, eucalyptus and a number of tropical medicinal herbs.
“In this climate, we have created, we are able to grow things that can’t be grown in Saskatchewan,” Sopher said with a smile on his face.
The solar greenhouse sits at roughly 35 degrees Celsius throughout the winter.
Sopher built the space almost entirely by himself and said the process has taken over a thousand-man hours over the last two years.
“I have a young family and I want to provide them the best food possible as well as fresh food,” he said, though Sopher hopes to one day expand to a small direct-to-customer system as well.
Sopher has been documenting his journey on his YouTube channel, where he’s got more than 36,000 subscribers and over 1 million video views.
“I try to share all aspects of the science on passive solar technology so anyone anywhere on the planet can make some adjustments and recreate what I built here.”
Sopher said the entire experience has been very humbling to see people so interested in the science. And regardless of his success online, Sopher said he is just happy he gets to spend time with his family and walk into a tropical climate after shoveling snow outside in the cold Saskatchewan winter.
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This content was originally published here.