Canada’s ‘first-ever hands-free vertical farm’ starts operations
The UP Vertical Farms operation produces sustainably-grown, pesticide- and contamination-free baby salad greens.
March 24, 2023 By Greenhouse Canada
After nearly a decade of research and development, agriculture technology company UP Vertical Farms has started operations at what’s being called Canada’s first-ever hands-free vertical farm in Pitt Meadows B.C., where sustainably-grown, pesticide- and contamination-free baby salad greens are being produced at 350 times the yield of conventional field-grown greens.
“In an industry grappling with challenges, from high food costs, climate change, labour shortages and food contamination, traditional methods of farming are proving to be unsustainable especially as the population grows,” officials with UP Vertical Farms said in a March 23 news release. “[We] aim to provide a viable locally-grown solution to many of these industry challenges by employing the most advanced, high density growing technology that uses 99% less land, 99% less water, 99% less fertilizer, no pesticides, no herbicides or fungicides.”
Using recycled CO2 and proprietary lighting technology, the leafy greens are grown to custom brix levels and flavour profiles while lasting 22+ days refrigerated, the release said. And because UP’s greens are never touched by human hands and undergo rigorous food safety testing, the products are said to be ready to eat right out of the package.
Forecasting production of approximately 2 million pounds or 6.3 million bags of salad greens per year, UP Vertical Farms also says it has the ability to fully customize packs specific to the individual needs of retailers and restaurants. “Because crops are grown in an automated 13 to 21-day period, blends can be tailored and grown instantaneously to keep pace with ongoing trends, which adds to the quality and consistency”, the release said.
UP salad greens will be available at select Western Canadian retailers within the next few weeks. UP Vertical Farms’ strategic partnership with Oppy for its marketing and retail strategy is expected to lead to a rapid introduction into the Canadian market and beyond.
UP Vertical Farms was founded by brothers Bahram and Shahram Rashti.
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