Mark Lucas, co-founder and CEO of Cannasouth

"Our search led us to the CEA, sealed greenhouse design"

While a lot of attention is on Canada and USA, there are a lot of things happening in the cannabis industry of the opposite hemisphere. Recently, the New Zealand grower Cannasouth has completed the complex commissioning phase of their Wakaito-based cultivation facility. “This project has been 3 years in the making,” says Mark Lucas, co-founder, and CEO of Cannasouth.

Sealed greenhouse design
“In 2018, we embarked on a search for the cutting-edge cannabis cultivation facility design to meet the highest pharma standards.” So, when considering the pros and cons of an indoor facility and a greenhouse, Cannasouth decided to go for the best of both worlds. “Our search led to a CEA, sealed greenhouse design,” he continues. “The philosophy behind it is that we retain all the precise climate and biosecurity control of indoor cultivation, but harness the power of the sun to reduce energy consumption, environmental footprint, operational costs, as well as improve the quality of our products and of the cannabinoid profiles.”

At the same time, putting together all of that was the real challenge. “This greenhouse is unique in New Zealand,” he says. “We have teamed up with Vera Cultivation out of Colorado, where they grow cannabis following the same design principles.”

Meeting the highest standards
The cultivation is indeed designed to comply with GMP and GACP standards, with post-harvest pharma cleanroom design with airlocks and dedicated air handling systems. “The growing areas of the facility include LED lighting, custom HVAC, UV air filtration, CO2 enrichment, deep water culture hydroponics,” Mark explains. “All the systems are linked together with a complex building management system, ensuring optimal growing conditions year-round.”

While designing and setting up such a facility was an enormous challenge in and of itself, COVID came in to make things even worse. “There have been challenges related to COVID lockdowns, supply chain disruption, and so on,” he points out. Yet, the team at Cannasouth could push through and finally achieve a milestone that has been 3 years in the making. “The next step is sealing the facility and carrying out deep cleaning,” Mark continues. “Then, we are going to transfer the mother plants from the research facility, and we will begin the first commercial crop next month.”

For more information:
Gallagher Core Facilities Building,
Waikato Innovation Park,
1 Melody Lane, Hamilton East, Hamilton, New Zealand
+64 (0)7 949 8393  

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