Quebec fights supply chain issues by building Canada’s largest vertical strawberry farm

This is The Largest Controlled-Environment Vertical Strawberry Farm Canada
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BROSSARD, QC, Nov. 19, 2021 – After launching its innovative concept a year and a half ago, Quebec company Winter Farm is inaugurating its first industrial unit in Vaudreuil. With a total area of 1,150 m2, the project carried out in two phases in partnership with Les Serres Vaudreuil becomes the largest controlled-environment vertical strawberry farm in Canada. Every year, between October and June, over 180,000 kilograms of strawberries will be grown, which is the equivalent of production yielded by more than 2 hectares of traditional greenhouse area.

“The pandemic has stressed the importance of buying local products, especially in the food sector. As it inaugurates its first controlled-environment vertical farm, Winter Farm is reaffirming that its technological solution has the potential to increase Quebec’s agricultural autonomy. This key project embodies our vision for developing a sustainable and local agriculture.”

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation

Fraise d’Hiver strawberry sold at IGA
Under its commercial agreement with Sobeys, Fraise d’Hiver strawberries will make its progressive market entry in fifteen IGA stores in the west end of Montréal and in the Montérégie during the winter of 2021-2022. Currently available from 2 IGA, Fraise d’Hiver strawberries are already a hit with consumers. Grown locally, in an eco-responsible manner and without chemical pesticides, our strawberries offer a real alternative to imports from California and Mexico.

“At IGA, supporting local production and cooperating with local entrepreneurs like Winter Farm is a priority for us and for our merchants. Winter Farm has successfully brought together innovation and boldness by creating a unique and responsible farming concept. We are proud to be the first distributors of Fraise d’hiver strawberries and to be able to bring them to our customers exclusively at IGA, thanks to this association.” – Francis Bérubé, Head of fruit and vegetable marketing for Sobeys.

“The Winter Farm solution is a 100% made in Quebec innovation and a powerful lever to stimulate local off-season production. In addition to increasing the production capacity of market gardeners, our units emit no GHGs and significantly reduce those emitted by greenhouses. This first industrial installation is an other step towards our food autonomy.”

Alain Brisebois, President and Chief Executive Officer of Winter Farm

In order to reach its goal of replacing 10% of strawberry imports to Canada and produce over 13 million kg by 2025, Winter Farm is integrating its units into the existing agriculture ecosystem and supporting the development of Quebec expertise in optimized interior growing: “For Winter Farm, the ambition is to create an agribusiness hub for off-season produce growing.

Our aim is not only to contribute to the development of our food autonomy, but also, to serve an export market across North America.”

Yves Daoust, Founder and Head of Winter Farm Operations.

As a partner of Winter Farm from the start, Investissement Québec salutes the ambition and innovative strength of the company and its leadership who are already positioned to deploy their technology on an industrial scale, in a responsible and sustainable manner.

“We are proud to support Winter Farm and its innovative winter agriculture solution that addresses agribusiness and environmental concerns. Favouring local production and fostering the shift towards a low-carbon economy are priorities for Investissement Québec,” says Guy LeBlanc, President and CEO of Investissement Québec.

“In fact, as part of our Compétivert initiative, which encourages companies to adopt clean technologies and eco-responsible practices to become more competitive while reducing their ecological footprint, we made Winter Farm a “green champion” in the hopes of inspiring other companies to follow suit,” Mr. LeBlanc added.

Winter Farm combines knowledge from vertical farming, engineering and artificial intelligence to make off-season production of fresh, chemical pesticide-free produce viable. 

What Is a Winter Farm?
A Winter Farm is a 100% controlled environment produce growing space. The farm reproduces sunlight, rain and wind using cutting-edge engineering systems. Thanks to perfect weather conditions, risks to crops are minimized, the quality of products is maximized, and no chemical pesticides are used.

By promoting vertical agriculture and integrating the units into the greenhouses, a Winter Farm maximizes the profitability of the off-season production.

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