© GoodLeaf Farms
McCain Foods has announced an investment in TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture and its subsidiary GoodLeaf Farms, to drive innovation in Canada’s agri-food sector.
The company has increased its total investment in GoodLeaf to more than CAD 65 million ($51.5 million approx.), making McCain the single biggest shareholder in what it says is Canada’s largest commercial vertical farming operation.
The investment will help GoodLeaf establish a national network of sustainable vertical farms with the aim of bringing fresh, locally grown food to more Canadian consumers.
The wholly owned TruLeaf subsidiary currently operates an indoor farm in Guelph, Ontario. The fully automated 45,000-square-foot facility uses specialised LED lights and hydroponics to grow microgreens and baby greens for the Canadian market.
Over the course of the next year, GoodLeaf is planning two more indoor vertical farms — one to serve the grocery and foodservice channels in Eastern Canada and one to serve Western Canada.
Peter Dawe, McCain’s chief growth and strategy officer, said: “At its heart, McCain is an innovative agricultural company. This is why we’re excited to support the growth and scale up of this Canadian start-up that lives at the intersection of food, agriculture and technology.
“GoodLeaf’s vertical farm technology creates spring and summer growing conditions in Canada year-round, growing local, fresh, healthy and tasty leafy greens instead of being trucked long distances into Canada. We are thrilled to contribute to bringing GoodLeaf’s delicious produce to Canadians across the country.”
McCain says that its investment will support the continued growth and expansion of GoodLeaf, while also being “directly aligned” with its global sustainability plan.
“As a global leader in agri-food, McCain is committed to growing food smarter and in a way that’s better for our planet. That’s exactly what GoodLeaf is doing,” said Dawe.
GoodLeaf’s vertical farm is said to use 95% less water than traditional farming practices and offers fresh, locally grown produce for the Canadian market all year round. The shorter transportation routes between the farm and the consumer results in a ‘significantly reduced’ carbon footprint.
Commenting on its partnership with McCain, GoodLeaf CEO Barry Murchie said: “We share a keen interest in providing delicious food for Canadians while making farming more sustainable. Our vertical farm technology is a true game changer for Canadian food.”
Last year, McCain Foods unveiled a raft of sustainable agriculture pledges with a key focus on creating a more sustainable approach to potato farming.
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