Todd Rippin has expanded his passion for computer technology to food production.
Rippin has just opened a new store at 241 Kenneth St. in downtown Duncan called Eco Tower Print that harnesses aeroponics-growing technology which provides a cleaner, simpler and more effective way to grow fresh and healthy food in just a few weeks.
An advanced form of hydroponics developed by NASA, aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment and a soil-less growing medium to quickly and efficiently grow more colourful, tastier, better smelling and nutritious produce.
Rippin creates grow towers at his store that are designed on computers and prints out sections of growing towers, which are made from recycled plastic, layer by layer until complete, using 3D printers.
He said a grow tower is a fully automated growing system with redundancies built in; dual water pumps, flow metre, temperature and humidity sensors, LED grow lighting, and a small OLED screen gives you the status of these devices and more.
Rippin said the towers can sprout anything that grows above ground.
He said the towers can grow at least 30 per cent more produce then other systems three times faster using 98 per cent less water.
“In a few weeks, plants are harvest ready,” Rippin said.
“Aside from a few minor maintenance tasks, such as checking the water levels and cleaning the pump filter, the grow towers will take care of themselves and in just a few short weeks, you’ll be enjoying abundant homegrown produce, harvested at its peak so you can be at yours.”
Rippin encourages people to drop into the store and he will take orders for grow towers and answer any questions on the growing system that you may have.
Duncan’s Willow & Orchid Boutique and Floral Design has new owners.
Torrie and Wendy Miller recently took over the boutique and florist shop that specializes in fresh, local blooms.
Torrie said he used to run a martial arts school in Cobble Hill until the pandemic struck the region.
“We were looking to do something different and change things up a bit, and we were looking around Vancouver Island for a florist shop,” he said.
“I’ve been shopping at Willow & Orchid for 15 years and really liked the place so when it became available, we jumped at the chance. Business has been great since we took over and we’re having fun.”
From the floral arrangements made each day, to the thoughtfully made pre-arranged flowers available to purchase from its table, the shop’s talented florists have whatever you need, says Willow & Orchid’s website.
“We are also happy and excited to help you plan custom arrangements for weddings, corporate events, or any other special occasions in your life,” the website said.
The Laketown Ranch Benevolent Society has donated more than $22,000 in tickets to local teams and groups for fundraising efforts this year, and provided more than $50,000 in contributions to at least 20 groups and societies.
They include two local families in need, four scholarships to local post-secondary students, Nourish Cowichan Society, Clements Centre, the Cowichan Intercultural Society, and the Cowichan Valley Basket Society.
During the three festivals at Laketown Ranch this year, lucky 50/50 ticket winners took home more than $23,000.
The bottle returns from the events at the ranch raised well over $11,000 this year, all of which goes back into the Laketown Ranch Benevolent Society to provide support to the community.
For more information on the society, and to get in touch, check out laketownranch.com/benevolent-society.
September was Disability Employment Month in B.C. and the WorkBC Centres in Duncan and Ladysmith celebrated organizations in their communities that support the creation of healthier communities and profitable businesses.
The 18 award recipients include those that hire people from all walks of life in their staffing design and include people with disabilities who often face unnecessary barriers to employment.
The first nine organizations include the Cowichan Valley School District, Cowichan Valley Independent Living, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Real Canadian Superstore, the Starbucks at Beverly Corners and Duncan Village, the Community Farm Store, Duncan Ironworks and Veer Holdings.
The other organizations are Trading Post Feed and Tack, Tim Hortons in Ladysmith, the 49th Parallel stores in Duncan, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Ceder, Save On Foods in Ladysmith, Violet Wild, Integra Support Services Cowichan Valley, Walmart in Duncan, Co-op Liquor in Duncan and Just for Kids After School Care at Mt. Prevost.