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Lufa Farms opens third rooftop greenhouse

There were two important beginnings in Mo Hage’s world last summer: In July he and his wife, Lauren Rathmell, welcomed their daughter into the world. And in June, work started on construction of the third commercial rooftop greenhouse in the burgeoning urban farming company the couple co-founded, Lufa Farms.

Their daughter, Dani, is six months old. And last week Lufa Farms began to harvest produce from that greenhouse, set atop an industrial building in Anjou. The first week brought mega-sized radishes, watercress, Persian cress, arugula and spinach from among more than 40 varieties of greens started out there as seedlings in December; this week, tatsoi, red and green bok choy, Chinese cabbage, romaine and Boston lettuce were added to the mix. Next week there will be more.

The produce is sold to directly to consumers, to subscribers – Lufavores, they are called – who find it in the baskets they order online, along with produce from small family farms, almost all local, and other products including meat, cheese, baked goods, fish and prepared foods, all sourced by Lufa Farms. The year 2016 was a good one: The Lufa Farms subscriber base grew by 50 per cent to more than 9,000 families.

Hage and Rathmell, partners in life before they were business partners, had a vision: to create an ecologically — and economically — sustainable model for urban farming and to help to change the way people eat. It took the expertise of many and the investment of $2 million from family friends and others, but in 2011 they opened what was reputed to be the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse, atop an industrial building in Ahuntsic.

Read more at the Montreal Gazette

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