Greenhouse Canada

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Village Farms expanding in the U.S.


June 13, 2011
By Dave Harrison

June 13, 2011, Vancouver — Village Farms International, Inc. has begun
construction of a state-of-the-art greenhouse in Monahans, Texas.

June 13, 2011, Vancouver — Village Farms International, Inc. has begun construction of a state-of-the-art greenhouse in Monahans, Texas. It will be the fifth greenhouse built by Village Farms in Texas, and will be based on the company's innovative proprietary technology – GATES(TM) – and is expected to begin production in early 2012.

The first of its kind, the GATES greenhouse has successfully operated over the past four years in nearby Marfa, Texas. Phase One of the Monahans greenhouses will incorporate a 30-acre production greenhouse in addition to various other service buildings, including an advanced technology packing, sorting and distribution facility.

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The long-term plan is to build a total of 120 acres, on the 320-acre site.  The farm will initially employ 80 to 100 people and has a capital cost of approximately $42 million US, which includes certain infrastructure improvements for future phases. Each subsequent phase would add about 30 acres of production area.

In its first year of operation in 2007, the Marfa GATES greenhouse broke the world record for production of tomatoes.
The new Monahans greenhouse will provide year-round supply and enhance the company's product offerings for its existing local and existing customer base.

"Currently we face increased demand for our U.S. product because of the buy local food movement,” said Village Farms CEO Michael DeGiglio.

RESOURCE-EFFICIENT HYDROPONIC GROWING SYSTEM
The Monahans greenhouse will be based on a highly resource-efficient hydroponic growing system. In keeping with the company's "good for the earth" sustainability philosophy, the project is focused on water conservation, land preservation, food safety, integrated pest management, and on reducing the farm's overall carbon footprint. The greenhouse will recycle its water up to five times and utilize 86 per cent less water compared to field tomato farming. Higher yields per acre equate to less land for producing greater quantities of food, up to 30 times more food per acre compared to field farming.

The Monahans greenhouse will receive a portion of its electricity needs from renewable wind power.

In addition to its other next-generation technologies, the Monahans' greenhouse will use supplemental lighting and be among the first greenhouses in North America to use diffused roof glass capable of increasing yields over conventional clear glass. The company (in conjunction with its technology partners Verbakel Bomkas BV and Hortimax BV, both headquartered in the Netherlands) has developed advances in highly efficient growing systems enhancing its "from seed to fork" integrated business model, built with proprietary intellectual property “strengthening our position as a leader in the industry.”

The Monahans greenhouse will be the 12th greenhouse the company has developed, built, acquired or operated over the past 22 years, including projects in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and Texas.

In addition, Village Farms owns and operates one of the largest greenhouses in Canada. This facility is located outside of Vancouver.


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