Empire announces in-store vertical produce farms
March 10, 2020, Stellarton, N.S. – Empire’s family of brands is partnering with Infarm, one of the world’s fastest-growing, in-store farming platforms, to grow and harvest a range of fresh produce in select Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Foods stores across Canada.
Each vertical farming unit is a stand-alone ecosystem, enabled by machine learning and AI technology, that creates the optimum environment required for plants to flourish.
The in-store farms produce fresh, nutritious and flavourful produce all year round without the use of chemical pesticides. The vertical farms use 95 per cent less water, 90 per cent less transportation and 75 per cent less fertilizer than industrial agriculture.
“Our goal at Empire is to be the fastest-growing and most innovative retailer in Canada,” Niluka Kottegoda, vice president customer experience, Sobeys Inc., said in a press release. “As we strive to achieve that goal, we continuously seek out first-to-market opportunities.
“Our partnership with Infarm is unique in Canada and offers our customers a world-leading urban farming solution. The products we will offer in-store are unique to customers in urban communities. We’re excited to test and learn with our customers along the way.”
Launching this spring, the first fresh produce harvests will include a range of herbs at two Safeway stores in Vancouver, 8475 Granville St., and 2733 West Broadway.
Empire will place farms in stores across seven cities in Canada, including Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg, growing millions of hyper-local plants for customers.
“Our partnership with Empire builds upon our vision to grow a resilient ecosystem that can help feed people living in cities around the world by 2050, while improving the environmental footprint of our food,” said Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm. “For example, through vertical farming we can introduce plants to markets that were previously unavailable because they were too delicate to be transported. We’re proud to partner with Empire to share the Infarm revolution with Canadians.”
Empire is a Canadian company headquartered in Stellarton, N.S., that has about $25.6 billion in annualized sales, and through its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 123,000 people.
InFarm combines highly efficient vertical farms with IoT technologies and machine learning. The company has deployed more than 500 farms in stores and distribution centres.