WEST CARLETON – The Deep Roots Food Hub’s Sept. 22 annual general meeting will also serve as the official opening of the organization’s now-completed root cellar.

“Unofficially dubbed ‘The Queen of Root Cellars’ in a recent Ottawa Citizen article, the Deep Roots Food Hub is proud to announce the official opening of its off-grid, high-tech root cellar,” the organization’s board released in a statement. “This exciting venture will help to address nutrition, food security and sovereignty, and climate change.  We very much hope that you will join us.”

The AGM is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dress appropriately, because it is an outdoor meeting.

“This will be a COVID-19-sensitive outdoor meeting, requiring screening, masks, social distancing and contact information,” organizers said. “The only exception will be a brief tour of the root cellar itself, limited to 10 (masked) people at a time.”

The highlight of the meeting will be a tour of the modern root cellar.

“Tour this unique root cellar, capable of keeping more than 50,000 lbs of food safe through the Canadian winter using only a small amount of solar power, storage batteries, fans and geothermal heat,” the board said. “Sprott Business School (Carleton University) is partnering with Deep Roots Food Hub to create a sustainable business plan that addresses farmers, consumers, health and the planet. Consider joining the team that will take this forward by volunteering to join the board, and/or volunteering otherwise.”

The Deep Roots Food Hub, a non-profit group based in West Carleton, spent the last 18 months building an above-ground and off-grid root storage structure on NCC land close to the Federal Government’s Communication Research Centre’s campus on the western portion of Carling Avenue. Our community-funded facility provides small-scale vegetable growers with a post-season sustainable and energy-efficient storage facility providing longer root crop storage and extended sales and/or distribution possibilities. 

The innovated Quonset-styled metal building is designed to capture and circulate ground-sourced geothermal heat to maintain a near-constant + 2 C. temperature and 90 to 95 per cent humidity within the structure’s root storage chamber.  The off-grid design utilizes three solar panels and four 12-volt vehicle batteries to capture and store energy to power the air circulation fans, monitoring instrumentation and required interior lighting.  The root cellar’s modular structure allows for future expansion by simply adding arch sections to achieve any desired length.

An eight-inch layer of spray foam insulation, with a fire-proof and water-proof membrane, has been applied to the inside of the storage chamber’s arched walls. The perimeter of the building, to five feet beyond the concrete footings, is insulated with high-density insulation panels reducing the transfer of frost to the inner wall and under-floor soils of the root cellar. The storage chamber’s insulated floor is raised, supported by cement blocks, to allow under-floor air circulation of cool air (passively transmitted, in winter time, through the insulated walls) or naturally-warmed air, tempered by the underlying soils, to maintain the desired interior root storage temperatures.   

The root cellar’s storage chamber is 25’ (W) X 24’ (L) or 600 square feet. There is also a 25′ (W) X  12′ (L) entrance chamber where utilities, air inlet and outlets, and storage batteries are housed. It is estimated that the storage area will accommodate up to 60,000 pounds (approximately 27,000 kgs.) of produce. 

The Deep Roots Food Hub also hopes to fill some positions at the AGM.

“Please consider joining the board,” the board said. “We have four vacant positions. Meetings are monthly.”

The Deep Roots Food Hub is asking attendees to pre-register for this event. If you are interested in attending, you can register here.