The future of farming is vertical

GoodLeaf, a Guelph-based indoor farm, raised $150 million from McCain and the investing arm of Québec insurer Power Corp to expand its greens into a national brand, per the FP

Driving the news: The move is a bet by two major companies on the potential of vertical farming, in which crops are grown in warehouses, stacked atop each other, using LED light. 

  • The technique makes it possible for acres worth of crops to be grown in relatively small indoor spaces and closer to urban centres than traditional farms.
  • It also allows for quick and year-round access to fresh produce, much of which is currently sourced by Canada from places like California or Mexico.  

Why it matters: Some experts say vertical farming is the key to boosting Canada’s food supply, much like how the Netherlands became the world’s second-largest food exporter by value (despite being ~240 times smaller than Canada) by investing in the same techniques.

  • Critics however have slammed vertical farming as a not-yet viable solution in Canada, pointing out its extensive costs and high energy use

Bottom line: Just as the ongoing lettuce shortage is proving, Canada’s food supply chain is highly dependent on other places. Vertical farming offers a disruption to future disruptions.