Ontario farmers faced unprecedented challenges following a series of climate hazards, global supply chain disruptions, and important shortages in labor. Recently, Senator Robert Black has pointed out the problems the supply chain had due to labor shortages and vacancies of above 20% as the companies couldn’t find the required labor to fill in the product lines thus affecting the entire supply chain from producers to the end-users.
Companies thus seek alternative solutions to the issue in order to prevent further damages. Indoor vertical farming is seen by many, as a potential solution to some type of agriculture and has since attracted large investments to continue the research and expand operations throughout the country and sometimes throughout the world. Today, we take a look at 4 Ontario-based companies shaping the future of farming through their technology or their services.
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Cultivatd is primarily a broker of technology but also offers a Farming-as-a-Service program in which the company will manage a farm’s operation for their clients. Founded in 2020 by the company’s Managing Partners, Eric Levesque and Eric Bergeron are both industry veterans who have been involved in Agtech for several years. Cultivatd has secured over 40 partnerships with some of the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry’s biggest technology providers such as IGS, Elevate Farms, Artechno, Cubic Farms, AmplifiedAg, Netled, RotoGro, and Delta9 in the past year, and intends to continue to expand its roster of partners over the coming year.
Recenlty the company successfully raised USD 3 Million in a funding round to expand their operations in the United States, United Arab Emirates and Australia. The company currently has over $250 million in active projects in it’s portfolio and expects that number to increase substantially in 2022.
2- GoodLeaf Farms
With a passion for delicious, nutrient-rich greens, GoodLeaf was founded in Halifax in 2011. Using an innovative technology and leveraging multi-level vertical farming, GoodLeaf has created a controlled and efficient indoor farm that can grow fresh produce anywhere in the world, 365 day of the year. The system combines innovations in LED lighting with leading edge hydroponic techniques to produce sustainable, safe, pesticide-free, nutrient-dense leafy greens.
GoodLeaf Farms recently raised more than $65 million from food manufacturer McCain Foods and is set to embark on “an aggressive growth and expansion plan” for its network of vertical farms. The company also partnered with Toronto AI Firm, Ad Astra to further enhance its data collection and analytics in order to improve its production efficiency.
Most recently, the company announced a partnership with Well Juicery, in order to supply them with healthy, locally grown, Baby Spinach.
3- Canobi Agtech
Maxville-based Canobi AgTech is the brainchild of ERP veteran and indoor farming visionary Robin Vincent. After six years of consulting in Indoor Farm Management, it was a mandate to build a secure IT network for research into medical cannabis for paediatric oncology that crystallized Robin’s vision. He saw a future where data-driven farming would actualize the dream of indoor agriculture at scale. Food security, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and commercial agriculture sustainability are at the core of Canobi’s vision of empowering
Local indoor farming to feed the world sustainably. Canobi’s AGRP (Agricultural Resource PlanningTM) platform integrates monitoring and automation technology with powerful business planning tools to streamline indoor farming operations. Working with indoor farmers, agri-agents, agricultural device and systems manufacturers and farm developers across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Canobi is on the fast track to becoming the global operating system for indoor agriculture.
They have recently partnered with Growpipes to create, what is considered as a disruptive growing solution for the controlled environment agriculture industry.
ZipGrow is an international leader in indoor, vertical farming technology. The company’s flagship product, the ZipGrow Tower, is a core component of many of the world’s most innovative farms; from indoor hydroponic warehouses to vertical aquaponic greenhouses and high-density container farms.
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ZipGrow technology is a patented system that utilizes both hydroponic growing systems and vertical planes to maximize production volume within a small footprint. Primarily growing leafy greens such as lettuce and kale, along with herbs and small fruiting crops such as strawberries, ZipGrow systems will be installed in Sodexo locations including educational institutions, conference facilities, and corporate food service centres.
This list is non-exhaustive and is not a ranking, it only represents companies based in Ontario, bringing solutions for the future of farming.