Lilley, founder, and chief visionary officer of Langley-based ReFeed Canada Farm, is seeing the spring launch of his company's vertical worm farm, a chrome, three-level setup featuring a pair of 14-meter-long beds on each level, where more than 450 kilograms of worms and feed reside in each bed.

"We created this whole, complete closed-loop system," Lilley said, adding that 100 percent of the produce ReFeed sorts through is ultimately able to be used in some capacity.

The business model sees produce warehouses, distributors and importers pay ReFeed to collect byproducts that would otherwise be used for composting. "That, to me, is a sustainable system. To do it for free, there's no value," Lilley said. "And unfortunately, I've seen so many iterations of those companies come and go."

ReFeed workers then sort the excess produce between what's fit for human consumption and what's best for livestock feed. The produce and livestock are delivered to organizations like food banks and dairy farms, respectively, which in turn pay ReFeed for that service. "It reduces the cost and the requirements for food banks and other charities from having to do it themselves, which would have been their own costs, and reduces their labor," Lilley said.

Last year ReFeed recovered 2.7 million kilograms of produce this way, while what remains is going into ReFeed's vertical worm farm.

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