New Canadian agtech company Local Leaf Farms has opened its first vertical farming facility. It produces hyper-local produce, directly addressing many of the challenges of food production highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Canadian consumers are demanding greater transparency about the food they eat. And that demand has never been more urgent," said Steve Jones, president and CEO of Local Leaf Farms. "As we begin to consider a post-COVID reality, we need to have real discussions about the stability - and overall future - of food production in this country. Local Leaf is bringing leading-edge technology to the food sector to produce the fresh, safe and sustainable produce that Canadians are asking for."
All Local Leaf Farms produce can be at local grocery stores just hours after it was harvested, not only because of proximity, but because, unlike any other produce sold in Canada, it can be 'drop shipped.’ That means it can be delivered directly, without the need to pass through distribution centres, maximizing freshness and shelf life.
Local Leaf also offers a fully traceable food source, with instant access to information about the food from seed to shelf. The company's proprietary technology and mobile app allow retailers and consumers to know exactly where their produce comes from, including detailed information on how it was grown, when and by whom. The farm, which includes a 20,000 square foot community garden, is even open to the public once a month, allowing people to see and connect with their food.
Of particular importance in our current reality, vertical farms like Local Leaf eliminate the need to rely on migrant labour - a workforce that has faced a severe threat in the face of COVID-19.
Local Leaf's Barrie location services grocery stores, food service providers and home meal kit providers within 50 km of the farm. All of the produce, which is sold under the My Local Leaf brand, is pesticide- and herbicide-free, non-GMO and packaged in 100 per cent plastic-free compostable packaging. The company is on track to open its next location in Kingston in the coming months - and has a scale goal to launch 20 locations across the country by the end of 2025.
Source: Local Leaf June 22, 2020 news release