Local Leaf opens vertical farming location in Barrie
June 23, 2020, Barrie, Ont. – New Canadian agtech company Local Leaf Farms officially opened its first vertical farming facility today in Barrie.
Using vertical farming technology, Local Leaf produces hyper-local produce that’s fully traceable – directly addressing many of the challenges of food production highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local Leaf’s Barrie location services grocery stores, food service providers and home meal kit providers within 50 kilometres of the farm.
Alongside the launch, Local Leaf also released the findings of a study conducted by IPSOS that confirmed the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted the way Canadians are making decisions about food.
According to the survey, 68 per cent of Canadians say the pandemic has made food safety more important to them and 47 per cent say locally produced food is today their top purchase driver.
“Canadian consumers are demanding greater transparency about the food they eat. And that demand has never been more urgent,” said Steve Jones, president and CEO of Local Leaf Farms. “As we begin to consider a post-COVID reality, we need to have real discussions about the stability – and overall future – of food production in this country. Local Leaf is bringing leading-edge technology to the food sector to produce the fresh, safe and sustainable produce that Canadians are asking for.”
Today, the average package of leafy greens in Canadian grocery stores travels 3,000 kilometres before it lands in a shopper’s cart. This journey can take up to two weeks, and can cause produce to lose up to 70 per cent of its nutritional value – not to mention the impact on its taste, texture and flavour. Local Leaf Farms’ technology allows the company to reimagine the journey food takes from the farm to the store. All Local Leaf Farms produce can be at local grocery stores just hours after it was harvested.
Local Leaf also offers a fully traceable food source, with instant access to information about the food from seed to shelf. The company’s proprietary technology and mobile app allow retailers and consumers to know exactly where their produce comes from, including detailed information on how it was grown, when and by whom.