Trudeau tours latest Lufa Farms greenhouse
By Lufa Farms
By Lufa Farms
March 25, 2017, Montreal – Urban agriculture pioneer Lufa Farms has just completed its third highly automated rooftop greenhouse, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among recent guests to tour the new facility.
The new greenhouse is located in the Montreal borough of Anjou.
The new 63,000-square-foot rooftop greenhouse is a milestone in polyculture efficiency and produces over 40 varieties of urban-grown greens and vegetables throughout the year.
Trudeau was given a full tour of the new production facility by Lufa Farms founders Mohamed Hage and Lauren Rathmell. He witnessed first-hand the innovative complexity of the rooftop greenhouse, and even took time to harvest a basket of fresh greens for himself and his family.
The new rooftop greenhouse is a marvel in automation. It was designed by Dutch greenhouse innovators at KUBO, outfitted by Belgian greenhouse automation experts, Hortiplan, and includes advanced horticultural lighting systems from GE.
‘PASSION FOR ROOFTOP FARMING’
Lufa Farms’ six years of rapid growth and its successes in rooftop greenhouse design, co-operation with local sustainability-focused farmers, and appeal to thousands of Montreal consumers, make it one of the most successful large-scale urban agriculture models in the world, demonstrating how to sustainably feed entire cities.
More than 10,000 food baskets are delivered every week to consumers of Greater Montreal, who shop via their online marketplace.
“We began this venture because of our passion for rooftop farming. We didn’t start out as farmers and I’d never even grown a tomato before,” says Rathmell.
“But we did what made sense to us as technologists and problem solvers. Today, we understand that successful urban agriculture requires not only advanced greenhouse technology, but also direct-to-client distribution, and working together with local, sustainable farmers and food artisans. The sum of all the parts, working together, is greater than the whole.”
Constructed on top of an existing warehouse building in Montreal’s borough of Anjou, Lufa Farms’ largest and most technologically advanced greenhouse was designed and constructed with the financial support of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and La Financière agricole du Québec. The Fonds de solidarité FTQ invested $3 million in debt financing, while La Financière agricole du Québec contributed an additional $500,000 to the successful greenhouse project.
“Supporting innovative companies like Lufa Farms is at the heart of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ’s strategic planning. The reinstatement of the federal tax credit by the Trudeau government made such investments possible,” says Gaétan Morin, president and chief executive officer at the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.
Financière agricole du Québec’s goals are as progressive, and consistent with the Quebec government’s Stratégie gouvernementale de développement durable 2015-2020.
The new greenhouse was designed by Dutch greenhouse innovators at KUBO, outfitted by Belgian greenhouse automation experts, Hortiplan, and includes advanced horticultural lighting systems from GE.
DEMONSTRATING THE VIABILITY OF URBAN AGRICULTURE
“Being able to finance this project in Quebec has been an important milestone for us,” says Hage.
“It’s testimony that commercial-scale urban farming is truly economically viable. It also illustrates that a sustainable economy is possible. Urban growing centres like Lufa Farms will employ local workers and, together with local farmers, will provide fresh, responsible, and locally produced food to thousands of urban residents every day. That’s a desirable model for every city in the world.”
THE FUTURE OF LUFA FARMS
Founded in 2009 by Mohamed Hage, Lauren Rathmell, Kurt Lynn, and Yahya Badran, Lufa Farms now has a combined urban growing space of 138,000 square feet. The company plans to continue the expansion of its urban farm projects in Quebec urban centres, and also in select New England locations in the U.S.