Tag: indoor vertical farming

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:

 

Netled Launches Its First Vertical Farm In North America

Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor Netled Laulnches First North American Vertical FarmNetled and Calgary-based Rambridge Wholesale Supply have entered into a key strategic partnership that will bring Vera vertical farming technology to the North American market for the first time.

Vera Compact Vertical Farming System

In May 2021, Rambridge will take delivery of the Vera Compact vertical farming system, which will also become Netled’s first vertical farm in North America. It will produce lettuce and herbs and function as a working example for North American customers. Vera Compact is a modular vertical farming system that allows growers to start small and scale up their operations in line with demand.

Vertical Farming In Canada

“Vertical farming is still quite early-stage in Canada. Growers have been setting up their own systems because there is no current turn-key provider who can guarantee quality technology, equipment, and installation. Netled’s Vera products fill that gap,” says Brent Parker, President at Rambridge Wholesale Supply.

“The market for a system like the Vera Compact is significant. There are many places like close-to-market supermarkets and restaurants who would benefit hugely from the Compact system. It also suits growers who want to start small, but have growth expectations. Vera Compact allows them to grow in a modular way as their operations, market share and budget grow,” he continues.

“At Rambridge, we are super excited to be able to offer top-quality vertical farming technology via the Vera Compact system.”

About Rambridge Wholesale Supply and Netled Ltd

Rambridge Wholesale Supply is a family-run manufacturer and wholesale distributor based in Calgary, Canada, with a focus on indoor and outdoor garden and greenhouse goods.

Netled Ltd. designs and builds the high-tech platform for the world’s smartest vertical farms offering an extensive range of products for all segments of vertical farming from in-store growing cabinets all the way to massive-scale industrial projects via its Vera technology.

Chief Operating Officer, Niko Kurumaa, who is also in charge of North American sales, understands the significance of the partnership with Rambridge.

“This is a key strategic partnership with Rambridge that allows us to bring our Vera technology to the North American market via an established and well-respected company. Rambridge has supplied garden and greenhouse goods throughout Canada and the United States for over 35 years. Now they can also offer their customers cutting-edge vertical farming technology as a turn-key service. We are thrilled to be working with them to both serve and develop the North American market,” says Kurumaa.

The Market For Vertical Farming Systems In North America

The market for vertical farming systems throughout North America is rapidly developing. Brent Parker thinks that now is the perfect time to capitalize on those developments.

“Vertical farming represents the future of controlled-environment production in Canada. As the climate changes and ever-more unpredictable weather, pest, and disease pressures become commonplace, vertical farming represents an opportunity for safe and reliable food production. Vertical farming also means food is produced locally, which reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation, reduces supply-chain costs, and reduces water consumption. It ensures customers are able to enjoy a fresher product, and one that is more sustainably produced,” says Parker.

“And we’re not just talking about the Compact system. There is a huge potential market for the Vera Instore system too,” he continues. “Grocery stores across the country would benefit immensely from hyper-local crop production and instore growing cabinets. We can’t wait to bring Netled and its Vera technology to North America,” he concludes.

Netled’s Vera® Vertical Farming Technology Introduced In S Groups’ Prisma Hypermarkets

Netled's Vera® vertical farming technology introduced in S Groups' Prisma hypermarketsNetled has entered into a significant long-term cooperation agreement with Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa, a regional operator of the largest commercial chain in Finland, the S Group.  Prisma Pirkkala, which opened at the beginning of December, is the first hypermarket in Finland to launch Netled’s  new Vera® Instore Cabinet inside its new store.

Netled’s Vera® produced herbs and salads will be sold in Prisma hypermarkets in the Pirkanmaa area. Leafy greens are produced within the store in Vera® Instore Premium Growing Cabinets. Herbs are harvested directly off the shelf. The growing conditions are automated and controlled remotely.

S Group is a customer-owned Finnish network of companies in the retail and service sectors, with more than 1 800 outlets in Finland. S Group’s main branches are grocery, consumer goods, hotels and restaurants, fuel trade and bank & services. As a major operator, the S Group’s main focus is also sustainable food, and the new ways it can offer healthy and responsibly produced food for its customers.

”With this newly formed collaboration, we can offer consumers fresh, ultra-locally produced products and at the same time introduce them to vertical farming as a method of ecological, urban farming.” – Ville Jylhä, COO of Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa.

”We have developed our range of offering for different segments of vertical farming. Instore growing systems is interesting and growing segment and as technology provider we have a lot to offer for it. Co-operation with Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa proves the viability of instore concept also for our other customers and partners globally.” – Niko Kivioja, CEO of Netled.