Greenhouse Canada

U of G students demonstrate plant-growth chamber for Canadian Space Agency

February 12, 2024  By Greenhouse Canada

Feb. 12, 2024 – The challenge continues for a team of University of Guelph student scientists working on ways to grow food in space.

The U of G Canada GOOSE (Growth Options for Outer Space Environments) team was visited by the panel of judges from the CSA and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to assess their full-scale plant-growth chamber, one of the final four entries into the Deep Space Food Challenge.

Led by PhD candidate Ajwal Dsouza and MSc candidate Jordan Silver, students within the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, the demonstration showed how it can grow vegetables, microgreens, fruit and mushrooms without soil, sunlight or the need to constantly replenish fresh water.


The modular self-contained crop production system works is hydroponic, where seeds are planted in a reusable growing medium and regularly irrigated with a fertigation solution made of water and fertilizer and lit by custom LED lights. Only a few hours of maintenance a week are needed to yield as much as 150 kilograms of food a year.

The entire system’s controls can be adjusted remotely through the operations of the GOOSE app developed by the team.

The U of G Canada GOOSE team is made up of students and staff from the Ontario Agricultural College with members from the Interdisciplinary Design Lab, College of Arts and their external partner from Noki Farms (Guelph).

The team is led by Professor Emeritus Dr. Mike Dixon, Director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility. They are up against three other finalists from Concordia University, McGill University, and Ecoaction Innovative Solutions Inc. to win the grand prize of $380,000 in grant funding.


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