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What's driving vertical farming in Canada?

Vertical farming is gaining momentum in Canada, driven in large part by changing consumer tastes, the need for greater sustainability and advanced technology.

In grocery stores and restaurants, Canadians are demanding more fresh local produce year-round. The world's changing climate threatens the reliability and sustainability of some food supply chains. Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) technology and innovation continue to improve at a rapid pace. Canadian governments and agencies have introduced new policies and funding to support vertical farming, both in the countryside and in cities.

In March 2023, a vertical farm opened in British Columbia, using technology from seeding to harvest. More vertical farming operations are being established in urban settings and a hydroponic-based high-yield facility in Canada opened in a former cereal plant in Ontario. Quebec is a Canadian leader in urban agriculture as it has many urban farms, community-led rooftop gardens and the world's first commercial rooftop greenhouse operation. Several floors of an office building in Calgary have been rented to a vertical indoor farming startup. Successful vertical farms operate in rural and in remote areas across Canada.

Several government supports are available for vertical farms
Federal—The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) is a 5-year agreement between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. It took effect on April 1, 2023 and provides $1 billion in federal programs and activities, along with $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs and activities funded by federal, provincial and territorial governments. Significant adaptions of robotics equipment used in vertical farms is included in the AgriInnovate Program. The Sustainable CAP also includes an AgriScience Program to accelerate innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and research that benefit the agriculture and agri-food sector.

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