CAN: Almaguin Highlands welcomes its first vertical farm

The Almaguin Highlands has what is believed to be its first vertical farm, and it’s located in the unorganized township of Lount, near Sundridge. 

Husband and wife team Romano Marchi and Robin Gibson own the operation, and Marchi says the technical name for this type of growing is controlled environmental agriculture. The vegetables are grown on double-sided towers, one on top of the other in pod-like cells. 

Marchi compares that to just one of his six towers which are 16 feet long and have 20 double-sided rows. Each row has 12 grow sites on one side and another 12 on the other. Marchi says this allows him to produce 24 lettuce plants at a time on each row, and it’s a process he repeats 12 times a year. The six towers give Marchi 2,880 grow sites over an area that’s well under 300 square feet.

The vertical farm operates as Marquee Farm. Marchi says it’s ideally situated to serve North Bay to its north, Muskoka to the south, and Parry Sound to the west. He says it’s a wholesale operation and currently provides some stores with various lettuce and has begun supplying Churchill’s Prime Rib House in North Bay with various lettuce for its salads. Marchi expects to expand in a large way this summer to other outlets.

He applied to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation for a $200,000 grant which he matched dollar for dollar, although he will be spending more than the $200,000 he was required to put up.

Read the entire article at The Timmins Daily Press

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