68,700 tomato plants and 4,800 eggplant seedlings have been raised in the new Lufa Farms greenhouse. Literally raised: the greenhouse is located on top of an existing and repurposed office building in Ville Saint-Laurent, a suburb of Montreal, Quebec. The bottom floor functions as a distribution centre for Lufa, from where they distribute their vegetables to their Lufavores, their clients. They can customize their baskets each week by adding vegetables, as well as local partner's products, such as bread, eggs, fruits, pasta, sauces, etc. to their basket, in order to help realising a more sustainable food system and healthy food habits among local consumers.
"Last week, we casually (er, hurriedly) brought 68,700 tomato plants and 4,800 eggplant seedlings up to the rooftop and planted out our 163,800 sq-ft Ville Saint-Laurent greenhouse for the first time", the team with Lufa Farms shares. The company already had three urban rooftop greenhouses, all in the Montreal area (Anjou, Ahuntsic, and Laval). "We’ve reset our other greenhouses, with new crops of peppers and cucumbers going in and gearing up for harvest in July", they explain. "In the meantime, our partners are coming through with loads of fresh veggies from both greenhouse and field."
The fourth site is now fully planted and will be ready for major harvests come July.
Radu, operations manager, with Henry, the site supervisor, on planting day last week.
The current acreage rounds up to 138,000 square feet of growing space, a number that is more than doubled with the latest addition. "This rooftop greenhouse will double our growing capacity and allow us to feed 2% of Montreal with fresh, local vegetables. It's an unbelievable step forward for hyper-local, sustainable urban farming," said Mohamed Hage, Co-Founder and CEO, when announcing the new greenhouse last year. "We’ve put ten years of learnings into this greenhouse, from scouting the perfect rooftop to getting the first peaks up despite the snow - and we couldn’t be more excited to see it come to life."
The greenhouse features double-paned glass and two sets of energy-saving screens for improved insulation, the team explained earlier. "As usual its integration with the building below will also provide thermal benefit to both structures. The greenhouse captures rainwater to be used in the closed-loop irrigation system, and we plan on offsetting green waste with an on-site composting system."
The tomato plants go in and get clipped to suspended twine for support.
Radu, operations manager, with head grower Javier on planting day last week.
There it is!