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Indoor Vertical Farm to Spur Agri-Food Innovation in Canada

Investment and Growth Fund helps GreenLeaf Farms build 74,000-square-foot facility in Calgary
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Indoor Vertical Farm to Spur Agri-Food Innovation in Canada
GoodLeaf operates a proprietary indoor vertical farming system that uses a suite of technologies to grow varieties of leafy greens year-round without pesticides or herbicides.

The popularity of growing leafy greens indoors is steadily gaining ground. One of Canada’s largest commercial vertical farming companies, GoodLeaf Farms, is expanding its operations to Calgary thanks to a $2.7 million incentive from Alberta government’s Investment and Growth Fund.

The fund helps well-established companies make high-impact investments that create jobs, showcasing Alberta as a location of choice for new business. GoodLeaf’s new 74,000-square-foot indoor vertical farm planned for 108 Ave SE will create 70 jobs and supply major metro areas in Alberta, British Columbia and the Prairies with fresh, local, ready-to-eat varieties of leafy greens that are grown without pesticides or herbicides. This is the first project to receive funding from the program.

GoodLeaf is working to be a global leader in indoor vertical farming, and our first step to achieving that is ensuring we have a strong footprint in Canada,” said Jeff McKinnon, SVP, network development, GoodLeaf Farms, which is headquartered in Ontario. “Establishing this farm in Calgary is fundamental to that objective, and the support of the Government of Alberta, Invest Albert Corporation and the Investment and Growth Fund is instrumental in making this farm a reality. In Calgary, we have a location that is on a main corridor and is a central access point to Western Canada, ideally positioned to provide fresh, Canadian-grown leafy greens to grocery stores and food service networks between the Prairies and Pacific year-round.”

Current retail partners include Loblaws, Metro and Empire Co. Ltd.’s Longo’s. 

Construction on the new Calgary farm is currently underway and expected to be completed by the end of 2022. It will produce more than 1 million pounds of local leafy greens each year that will land on grocery store shelves in Western Canada by early 2023. Alberta will house GoodLeaf’s third Canadian operation, which will also create opportunities to partner with post-secondary institutions on agri-food innovation.

“We are thrilled to welcome GoodLeaf’s vertical farming operation to our province. Alberta is home to a cutting-edge food and beverage processing industry and the most welcoming climate for businesses and investors in North America,” said Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development. “We will be looking to the agri-food sector to help lead Alberta’s economic recovery plan and spur growth, and this innovative project is a step in the right direction, creating jobs, providing an economic boost to the region and building a sustainable, local source for year-round greens in Alberta.”

Invest Alberta helps businesses gain awareness of Alberta’s Investment and Growth Fund while providing investment advisory services to companies looking to come to Alberta. An eligible project must create 25 jobs and deploy at least $15 million in capital spending. Potential applicants to the program and partner ministries can work through Invest Alberta investment advisors to access the program.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. operates more than 2,400 stores in Canada, with more than 190,000 full- and part-time employees. The Brampton, Ontario-based company is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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