When GoodLeaf’s baby and micro greens hit grocery shelves in Calgary next month, it’ll mark another notch in the company’s rapid growth as a leading vertical farming company attempting to bring a new type of farming to scale.
The vertical farming company opened its first commercial farm in Guelph, Ont., in 2019 and is currently expanding into Calgary and Montreal. Facilities use LED lights to grow the greens on rapid timelines: its micro greens are harvestable within eight days, and baby greens are ready in 18 days, Murchie said. Baby greens grown in an open-field format, such as arugula, spinach, and romaine, take 45 to 60 days to grow, he said.
The company’s new 96,000-square-foot facility, which sits inside a warehouse in southeast Calgary, will cost an estimated $56 million, according to the province. (Alberta chipped in $2.73 million in grant funding for the project.) When it first opens, the highly automated warehouse will operate at half capacity, providing 70 new jobs to the city. GoodLeaf has left room for operations to double in size.
Murchie said in an interview he’s been “pleasantly surprised” by the commitments the company has inked for the new farm, adding its greens will be on shelves of all major grocers in Calgary. Operations will only expand when the farm sells out its full initial capacity, which could happen within the next six to 12 months, he said. When the Calgary and Montreal farms open, “a good percentage of that capacity will already be committed.”
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