CAN: "Farms are merging with food retail spaces"

Canadians have started to notice that grocers have begun to sell plants in miniature greenhouses. "We’ve seen gardens on rooftops, vertical farms close to stores, and even some selling gardening equipment to gardeners who are shopping for food. The farm is essentially merging with the food retail spaces we roam as consumers. We’re slowly witnessing the rise of the ‘grow-cer,'" writes Sylvain Charlebois in Troy Media.

For years, customers accepted the myth that food just magically shows up at the grocery store. But COVID-19 got many to think differently about supply chains – how food is grown, produced, transported, packaged, and retailed.

With the addition of new farmgate features for city dwellers, grocery stores are slowly becoming the gateway to an entire world most of us rarely see: farming.

Sobeys has provided one recent example of what’s going on. The grocer in Canada recently signed a partnership agreement with German-based Infarm to get greenhouses into many outlets across the country. Infarm units were installed last year in British Columbia and can now be found in many other locations across the country.

While Sobeys doesn’t have to worry about infrastructure and extra capital to change a store’s allure, it can get rid of these miniature vertical farms if proven unpopular or unnecessary. That works well for Sobeys and the consumer. But it’s not just Sobeys. Other grocers now have decent-sized vertical farms inside the store or close to them.

The gardening rate in Canada has gone up by more than 20 percent since the start of the pandemic last year. For consumers, growing their own food was about pride and taking control of their supply chain in some way.

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