For this new farm, which is located in the Saint-Laurent borough of Montreal, Lufa Farms says it has has doubled its production capacity for fresh vegetables, adding 163,800 square feet for a total of 300,000 square feet of growing space.
The new facility started full production early in August of this year and, according to the official press release that came out at the end of last week, now yields 25,000 pounds of produce each week. The greenhouse grows 10 varieties of tomato and 3 varieties of eggplant.
Since its inception in 2009, Lufa has been fine-tuning its process around farming on commercial rooftops. That means it doesn’t use new any new farmland in order to grow crops, which is an important point in any discussion about sustainable farming. The greenhouses use an irrigation system that recirculates water and what it calls “the passive energy savings of simply being on an urban rooftop.”
That urban setting also means produce is closer to the consumers buying it. To that end, Lufa has a subscription service that provides customers with a weekly basket of produce in addition to an online farmer’s market where the company sells its crops as well as food items from partner food producers. Users can either have their goods delivered to their own doorstep for a $5 fee or designate one of Lufa’s pickup points nearby.
More and more urban greenhouses are cropping up as the food industry looks to supplement — though not necessarily replace — more traditional forms of agriculture. Gotham Greens is another notable player in this space, having recently opened its latest high-tech greenhouse, a 100,000 square-foot space in Baltimore earlier this year. Element farms uses the greenhouse format to grow spinach, and in Morehead, KY, AppHarvest is building out a massive facility that will provide produce and employment to the surrounding Appalachia area.
For its part, Lufa said it’s seen a surge in popularity for its own greens thanks to the pandemic. In response, Lufa launched a seven-day service, tripled its home delivery capacity, and added new local markets as well as team members. No one is sure what direction the pandemic will next turn in, though given its recent developments, Lufa seems well-poised to weather the uncertainty.