Tag: Food safety

Shawn Woods GoodLeaf Farms

Canada’s Largest Commercial Vertical Farm | Q&A With GoodLeaf Farms’ Shawn Woods

GoodLeaf FarmsWhat started in 2011 as a dream to deliver fresh, nutritious produce to Canadians year-round has become reality. As Canada’s first and largest commercial vertical farming operation, GoodLeaf Farms began supplying microgreens and baby greens to retail locations and restaurants throughout Ontario in 2019.

Indoor Ag-Con is excited to kick off our 2022 Indoor Ag-Conversations webinar series on June 1, 2022 at 2:30 pm ET with the idea-packed case study session , “A Dream Becomes Reality” with GoodLeaf Farm Manager Shawn Woods and equipment partners from Signify & Montel.  Ahead of the webinar, we had the chance to catch up with Shawn to learn a little more about how GoodLeaf is delivering on its mission and what’s next for the growing company.

 What are you growing at your Guelph, Ontario operation, and, what differentiates GoodLeaf from other vertical farms in the marketplace

GoodLeaf FarmsWe are currently growing microgreens  — Spicy Mustard Medley, Pea Shoots, Asian Blend, Micro Arugula, Micro Radish, and Micro Broccoli —  and baby greens – Ontario Arugula, Ontario Spring Mix and Ontario Baby Spinach.

In terms of what sets us apart, we are Canada’s largest commercial vertical farm, and the only one with scale to supply the major grocery chains with safe, fresh, and healthy greens. We lead the industry in Food Safety with SQF Level 2 Certification and a positive release program, which  means that we test every harvest for pathogens and only release them once they have been cleared by our internal lab

In addition, our proprietary technology enables us to grow nutrient-dense local food that is environmentally conscious 365 days a year.

From Day One, our focus has been on growing healthy, tasty food that people want to eat. We use our technology to grow food, while others use technology to collect data.

 

Sustainability is a key part of your mission. Can you share some of GoodLeaf’s sustainable practices and initiatives?

GoodLeaf Farms Sustainable PracticesOur sustainable practices include:

  • Water use in vertical farming is 95 per cent less than traditional farming methods.
  • More food can be grown per acre, maximizing use of space, and limiting land use.
  • Because our farm is indoors in an environment that is almost entirely controlled, there are no pests, bugs, or birds — and thus no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are used.
  • The water used is cleaned and recirculated, so there are no run-off issues.
  • Peat / Soil is recycled and re-used in landscaping.
  • Favorable carbon footprint compared to traditional farming.
  • By providing a local food source, we are removing thousands of food miles annually; Leafy greens coming from the southwestern United States are trucked across the continent, burning fossil fuels the whole way.

 

Last year, GoodLeaf announced an aggressive growth and expansion plan to build a national network of vertical farms.   Can you share updates, including progress on the Calgary project?

GoodLeaf FarmsConstruction on our Calgary farm is well under way. We are on schedule to have the 95,000-square-foot farm open and providing fresh leafy greens to grocery stores across Western Canada in first half of next year.

We are continuing to move forward with our plans for a similar facility in the Montreal area but are not able to provide additional information at this time.   

 

GoodLeaf is working on a number of R&D projects with universities to advance the science & engineering of vertical farming.  Can you tell us about any of the projects currently underway?

We have an MoU with the University of Guelph to build stronger links between theoretical research, the development of technology and processes and practical application in the field.

Some of the best and most innovative agricultural research in Canada happens at the University of Guelph. Building on the vertical farm technology we have already developed and are using; it will be exciting to see where this partnership can take us.

Some of the projects currently under way with the University of Guelph include research into:

  • Enhancing yields, plant science and new product development.
  • Substrates, growing compounds, and microbiology.
  • Human resources and training future experts in the field of vertical farming.

 

What’s next for GoodLeaf ?

GoodLeaf FarmsWe are constantly innovating and experimenting with new processes and products to bring the best possible leafy greens to Canadian consumers.

Efforts continue to build partnerships with grocery retailers across Canada, and we are aggressively pursuing growth into the restaurant and hospitality sector. Chefs can do wondrous things with our leafy greens, and we are excited to see where this journey will take us.

While Canada is our priority today, we can’t wait to bring our greens to consumers across the globe

What’s more, we are excited about other opportunities for vertical farming to add value — expanding the portfolio beyond leafy greens or growing specialty crops for healthcare

 

To learn more about GoodLeaf Farms, visit the website at www.goodleaffarms.com  and check out this video that takes you through a quick tour of GoodLeaf’s seeding and grow rooms, harvesting and packaging:

 

Bright Farms CEO Steve Platt Keynote at Indoor Ag-Con 2022

Q&A With BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt

‘It’s An Exciting Time To Be In the Business Of Indoor Farming’ 

Indoor Ag-Con is excited to announce that BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt and Cox Enterprises VP Steven Bradley will kick-off the February 28 – March 1, 2022 edition of Indoor Ag-Con with the opening morning keynote address. Platt and Bradley will share how BrightFarms and Cox are working together to transform the indoor farming industry – further strengthening its position as a sustainable platform for the future.

Ahead of his upcoming keynote, we had the chance to catch up with Steve to hear more about BrightFarms’ future plans and goals in this month’s CEO Q&A.

Cox Enterprises, which had a majority stake in your company since 2020, acquired BrightFarms earlier this year as part of its stated mission to build a healthier, more sustainable future. What attracted Cox to Bright Farms initially?

BrightFarms Greenhouse

The mission of Cox Cleantech aligns with BrightFarms’ mission to improve the health of Americans and the planet with fresher, sustainably grown local food. BrightFarms has been a leader in indoor farming since 2013, building out a decentralized network of local farms. Our demonstrated ability to replicate our model while developing deep partnerships with retailers was unique to the indoor farming industry. Since investing in 2018, Cox has been a fantastic partner and we’re now proud to be a fully owned subsidiary of the company.

We read that BrightFarms has expansion plans designed to bring local indoor leafy greens to more than 2/3 of the US by 2025. Can you share more about how you hope to achieve this goal?

We’re expanding our footprint and capacity with much larger farms ― 10-40-acre greenhouses that can serve as a complete salad category solution for retailers. We predict that in 10 years, 50% of leafy greens nationwide will be sourced from indoor farms, and BrightFarms will be a big part of that growth. We’re poised for massive growth in the coming years as we scale across the country. It’s an exciting time to be in the business of indoor farming.

What differentiates BrightFarms’ growing methods and services from others in the space?

BrightFarms Greenhouse

We have a proven, scalable model and are developing proprietary technology, called BrightOS, to support everything we do — from growing the plants themselves, to staying on top of food safety and leveraging greenhouse supply and retailer demand. Our experience and success in the market sets us apart from many other indoor farming companies still establishing their technology, footprint, or go-to-market strategy. We’re also the first company to be backed by a blue-chip company, Cox Enterprises, that is wholly supportive of our model and growth.

This year, BrightFarms also announced larger investments in R&D including the creation of a new R&D hub, BrightLabs. Could you share a little about why you created it and what the BrightLabs team is working on?

In 2021, we brought on our VP of Agriculture & Science, Dr. Matt Lingard, who heads up our R&D and food safety programs. Matt is building a team that will focus on delivering the highest quality complete salad program in the industry.

For more information on BrightFarms, visit the company website.  And, register today to attend the 2022 edition of Indoor Ag-Con to hear more from Steve about the company’s exciting plans!

Ceres Certifications, International – All The Services You Need To Keep Your Operation In Compliance

Ceres Certifications, International has been serving the produce and tree nut industry since 2001 and has been an accredited Certification Body to conduct GFSI level audits including PrimusGFS since 2011. We have experienced personnel in all categories of agriculture.

CCI is accredited by ANAB, ANSI National Accreditation Board as a certifying body under ISO/IEC 17065 for PrimusGFS and GLOBALGAP.

CCI also does non-accredited inspection audits for many other schemes and programs that can help your organization have what it takes to be successful. CCI is proud that 99% of our clients return every year and recommend our services to other growers.

CCI auditors are always trained on current audit scope revisions, technological updates and industry conditions. CCI auditors are top notch and understand the nature of agricultural business practices. Our auditors stay with you up to three (3) years, providing consistency in evaluation.

CCI offers a Price Match Guarantee, we promise to meet or beat any competitor’s quote. Special pricing is also available for brokers, associations, and co-ops. Additional price discounts may be available. Contact us by calling 715-723-5143 or visit our website at www.ceresci.com

 

AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg Kicks Off Indoor Ag-Con 2021 With Opening Morning Keynote Address

Rosenberg Headlines Full Roster of Keynotes, Panels, Networking & Expo Floor Innovations For In-Person October 4-5, 2021 Edition In Orlando

“We are thrilled to have an industry leader like David Rosenberg join us as we kick off our return to the live event format,” says Brian Sullivan, co-owner, Indoor Ag-Con LLC along with other event industry veterans Nancy Hallberg and Kris Sieradzki. “We look forward to gathering with our industry colleagues again and are working hard to bring the best possible combination of networking, education and exhibition opportunities together in Orlando.”

Scheduled for opening morning, October 4, Rosenberg’s address will be held from 8:30 am – 9:20 am.  Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms.  AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture overall.

On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corp Company with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, United States. Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company three years in a row and one of TIME’s Best Inventions, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides vs. traditional field farming. Grown for flavor first, AeroFarms enables local production to safely grow flavorful baby greens and microgreens all year round.

ROBUST 2021 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOW IN DEVELOPMENT

In addition to Rosenberg’s keynote, look for additional announcements coming soon on other CEO keynote presentations planned for the October event. The 2021 conference will also include a full roster of panel discussions, fireside chats and presentations offering a deep dive into three core tracks – Business & Marketing, Science & Technology and Alternative Crops.
In addition to the extensive educational component, attendees will find more new initiatives and show highlights to explore, including:

NEW LOCATION: HILTON ORLANDO – DISCOUNTED HOTEL RATES, TOO

Indoor Ag-Con’s Hilton Orlando venue makes it the perfect opportunity for a business vacation. Centrally located to all major theme parks and attractions, it is just minutes from the eclectic dining scene and entertainment of International Drive. What’s more, the Hilton Orlando resort sits on more than 26 acres of lush landscaping and tropical inspirations making it a true destination of its own. Indoor Ag-Con has arranged for discounted hotel rates for attendees and exhibitors starting as low as $129/night. Complete details are available on the show website.

NEW ASSOCIATION ALLIANCES

Indoor Ag-Con is also forging new alliances with other events, industry associations/groups that will play an integral role in its marketing outreach and conference programming. Look for partnership announcements coming soon.

EXPANDED EXHIBIT FLOOR & NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

The Indoor Ag-Con team is working to bring even more resources for farmers/growers to explore across all sectors – everything from IT, energy, AI and lighting solutions to substrates, vertical farming solutions, business services and much more. Attendees and exhibitors alike will also have even more networking opportunities with daily luncheon sessions and receptions on the show floor.

QUICK FACTS:

WHEN: Monday, October 4 – Tuesday, October 5
WHERE: Hilton Orlando, 6001 Destination Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32819
INFO: For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag or email
hello@indoor.ag

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON LLC

Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for vertical farming | indoor agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. In December 2018, three event industry professionals – Nancy Hallberg, Kris Sieradzki and Brian Sullivan – acquired Indoor Ag-Con LLC, setting the stage for further expansion of the events globally. More information: https://indoor.ag

 

Q & A With AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg

ROSENBERG KICKS OFF INDOOR AG-CON 2021 WITH OPENING MORNING KEYNOTE ADDRESS

AeroFarms has been making a lot of headlines of late. In addition to last month’s announcement that it will become a publicly traded company through combination with Spring Valley Aquisition Corp, AeroFarms has brokenDavid Rosenberg AeroFarms Indoor Ag-Con Keynote 2021 ground on the world’s largest and most technologically advanced aeroponic indoor vertical farm and  launched a new brand identity.  What’s more, Indoor Ag-Con is excited to announce that AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg will headline Indoor Ag-Con, as he leads the opening morning keynote address for the 8th annual edition scheduled for October 4-5, 2021 at the Hilton Orlando, Florida.

AeroFarms Launches New Brand IdentityAhead of our October 2021 in-person event, Indoor Ag-Con Content Chair Jim Pantaleo had the opportunity to talk with David about his company’s exciting developments and plans for the future.

David, thanks for sitting down with me today. Obviously, the big news at AeroFarms is the recent merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp…Can you speak to this exciting new collaboration?

AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg To Lead 2021 Indoor Ag-Con KeynoteWe are thrilled to announce our merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp, who shares the same ESG philosophies to make a positive impact on the world, while serving the interests of our shareholders. AeroFarms’ mission is to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, and we are executing on this by taking agriculture to new heights with the latest in technology, innovation and understanding of plant science.

Our technology empowers our operations – this is how we get closer to where the problems, opportunities and solutions are. We also have the capabilities to innovate fast by turning our crops a typical 26 times per year that allows us to continuously learn and improve yield and quality while simultaneously reducing capital and operating costs. Our business is at an inflection point where we will scale up our proven operational framework and begin our expansion plans in earnest as we have shared with recent farm news for Danville Virginia and Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The other piece of interesting AeroFarms news is the expansion to Danville, VA. Please share how you envision that facility in terms of AeroFarms technology to be deployed. And, what impact do you foresee the operation having not only for AeroFarms but also for the local community?

The science, technology and innovation that underpin our proprietary growing platform allow us to drive superior unit economics and scale up our business to deliver on ourAeroFarms Breaks Ground On Largest and Most Tech Advanced Aeroponic Indoor Vertical Farm mission of growing the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. Our customers love our leafy greens, which consistently win on quality, flavor, taste and texture. We are excited to break ground on our new farm, expand our retail presence in the region and bring our exceptional, great tasting products to more customers. Danville-Pittsylvania County is the perfect location to introduce our next-generation Model 5 farm that will be able to serve the more than 1,000 food retailers in the region.

Our new farm will deepen our established retailer partnerships even further and make our sustainably grown, pesticide-free and always fresh leafy greens available throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, while also creating high-quality jobs in the area. This new facility represents an inflection point in our growth trajectory as we scale our technology and expand our retail distribution footprint and customer reach.

Speaking of expansion, please tell us how Abu Dhabi is progressing and the great (R&D) work which will come from there once fully operational?

This new cutting-edge R&D facility leverages our agriculture expertise and science-driven roots. We will be conducting leading research in plant science, vertical farming, and automation, accelerating innovation cycles and commercializing a diverse range of products. We will be partnering with major international companies, local universities, and AgTech startups to help solve some of the most pressing agriculture needs of our time, and AeroFarms is proud to play a pivotal role to helping establish the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as a global hub for AgTech innovation

What does David Rosenberg do for fun when he’s not leading one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative indoor vertical farms?

I am proud to serve as a Managing Trustee of New Jersey’s Liberty Science Center and a mentor at Endeavor, to help impact entrepreneurs succeed. In addition, I enjoy SUP paddle boarding and spending time with my family.


AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture overall. On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corp Company with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, United States. Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company three years in a row and one of TIME’s Best Inventions, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides vs. traditional field farming. Grown for flavor first, AeroFarms enables local production to safely grow flavorful baby greens and microgreens all year round.

 

Register Today & Save Your Seat For David Rosenberg’s Keynote Address On Monday, October 4, 2021 at 8:30 am