Meet Wes Regan. Member of a few boards, Executive Director of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association, a founding Director of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society and a founding partner at Urban Stream Innovation, which is a food systems tech startup. Wes in one of those people with so many sticks in the fire that I wonder how he manages to juggle them all, but he does!
We met for this 500 Coffees at a little shop called Dose Espresso on Broadway just West of Granville.
The conversation started with my asking which of his projects takes up the greatest percentage of his time, and I learned that the Hastings Crossing B.I.A. gig does: about 65%. A great percentage of his remaining time is being put towards a project called Urban Stream, which has one of its prototypes a couple of blocks away from where we met for coffee, right behind Luke’s Corner Bar and Kitchen on Granville. Urban Stream is essentially a tech startup which is leading the way in the technology of portable plant growth and composting – local food. The portable greenhouse and composting unit (for lack of a better term) which they’ve got behind Luke’s is a wonder to step into. On the walls grow arugula and all sorts of herbs which they use in the restaurant. In the back of the thing is a large composting component where the establishment places all of its waste organics. It’s a closed system which will one day also have aquaponics (fish!) built in, and one of the byproducts from a business standpoint is that Luke’s monthly garbage pickup fees went from $600 down to $200 because they compost almost everything now instead of having to get it shipped out with the real trash.
The big idea that they’re approaching with Urban Stream is to develop a product that will help cities and the food systems within them become resilient to climate change. He told me that he grew up in the arctic, and that this sort of unit could be extremely useful in a geographic area like that, where it’s already challenging to grow food. Really interesting stuff, which you can learn more about at urbanstream.ca.
And stay tuned for 435 more Coffees! Check out the caffeinated archive HERE.