For the past couple of weeks, Ontario-based indoor vertical farming companies have been extremely active in appointing new heads, signing strategic partnerships, announcing new products, expanding their facilities, and creating funds for the AgriTech sector. A handful of these companies are based in Cornwall (Ontario), so the question may be asked, is Cornwall becoming a vertical farming hub?
Fieldless Farms announced a $17.5 million Series Funding Round to expand their Cornwall (Ontario) Facility.
In a funding round led by Forage Capital Partners and including Farm Credit Canada (FCC) and BDC, the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs, Fieldless Farms, a controlled environment agriculture company launched in 2019, successfully raised $17.5 million in equity and debt to expand operations at its Cornwall facility by 10 times.
“Since launching across the Farm Boy chain in 2019 we’ve been propelled by the enthusiasm for our products. Canadians are hungry for better options and we can’t keep shelves stocked,” said Fieldless CEO, Jon Lomow in a press release. “Fieldless is directly addressing long, complicated and mostly foreign supply chains by offering products that are local and more sustainable, but most of all, that people fall in love with.”
“We really like Fieldless’ approach and what the company has been quietly and cost effectively building here in Canada,” said Jim Taylor, CEO of Forage Capital Partners. “We think the company is well positioned in the current economic climate for steady and significant growth.”
BDC participated equally in the debt portion of the fundraise with FCC.
“BDC is thrilled to be working hand-in-hand with FCC to support Fieldless with its expansion plans. A greener future is on the horizon, when we invest side-by-side in projects that are essential for Canada’s food sovereignty,” said Kunle Tauhid, BDC’s Vice President for Eastern and Northern Ontario.
The company’s first farm in Cornwall, Ontario, launched in 2019. The operation grows no-need-to-wash leafy greens using highly-controlled environments, renewable energy, and without herbicides or pesticides. Shortly after launching, Fieldless Ontario Sweets and Northern Crunch lettuce mixes obtained listing across Ontario in the rapidly expanding grocer, Farm Boy, in addition to a handful of independent grocers.
“In Canada we import around $60 billion worth of food each year and happen to have the largest trade deficit in the world for lettuce. We rely on other nations to feed us, and it’s risky and unsustainable,” said Fieldless Farms CEO Jon Lomow. “We’re building Fieldless to address that massive opportunity—the need to locally produce food that is safer, secure, and more sustainable, 365 days a year.”
Other Active, Ontario Companies Involved in This Vertical Farming Hub
- Cultivatd: Another Cornwall-based company, Cultivatd is a leading broker in the indoor vertical farming sector. The company recently appointed seasoned CEA veteran, Kyle Barnett as well as former Forbes 30 under 30 award-winner, Daniel Penn to fuel the company’s growth unprecedented growth rate and its worldwide expansion. The company also recently announced a partnership with ONO Exponential Farming to assist the Italian company with its Americas expansion.
- ZipGrow: Yet again another Cornwall-based company, ZipGrow is a hydroponic equipment supplier. They recently announced the launch of a supersized container farm as well as a distribution partnership with Growfoam®.
- Mucci Farms: Cox Enterprises announced a significant strategic investment in Mucci Farms, a 60-year industry leader with a network of thousands of acres of indoor grown fruits and vegetables. As a long-term operator and investor, Cox is uniquely positioned and committed to partnering with Mucci Farms to scale and meet growing consumer demand. This strategic partnership is the next phase in Cox building multibillion-dollar controlled environment agriculture (CEA) business and establishing Cox as one of the leading providers of sustainable produce across North America.