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New Alberta strawberry grower opts for geothermal heat

Canadian company Freshbay is launching a large-scale, deep earth geothermal powered, 19-acre controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facility expected to begin operations in Hinton, Alberta, in January 2024. The project will use vertical farming technologies, greenhouses, and scientific horticulture procedures; in order to create 100% sustainable operations, to grow herbs, strawberries, and tropical fruits year-round.

"The project will be the first of its kind in North America to harness deep earth geothermal energy to mass produce in remote regions," the team says. Freshbay is set to provide a major boost to the local economy, specifically by creating a projected 450 new full-time jobs.

Freshbay has strategic partnerships with several companies:

Novus Earth Energy has signed on as a strategic partner to manage the drilling, installation, and maintenance of the geothermal wells.
Canada Banana Farms, a leading producer of exotic fruits, will manage growing fresh fruits while prioritizing sustainability.
F&G Strategic Partners is arranging for the establishment of an appropriate funding structure to provide the capital debt facility for the project.

Vic Reddy, CEO of Freshbay, commented: "This geo-agriculture project is being led by a strong, passionate geothermal energy team with strategic agriculture and tech partners. They are committed to delivering innovative, sustainable, and economically viable solutions. We are thrilled to launch this large-scale, deep-earth geothermal agriculture project, which has the potential to revolutionize indoor farming. By harnessing the power of geothermal energy, we can create a genuinely sustainable and efficient solution for indoor agriculture, providing fresh, healthy produce all year round."

Also, an LOI was signed with Affinor growers. The LOI sets out the general terms and conditions pursuant to which Affinor will supply its newly designed 3-level vertical farming rotating towers.

Affinor CEO Nick Brusatore commented: "We are pleased to be involved in this geothermal project with Freshbay. Our vertical growing technology was designed for projects of this scale and in this northern location. The heat energy, amount of sunshine, and glacier-fed water are optimal factors in Hinton, along with the dry, cold air through all seasons. We expect that this project will deliver on production quality with high yields to produce strawberries for local markets, the likes of which have never been seen before in Canada."

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