They put organic microgreens on the map, now it’s time for another type of green plant. Ian Adamson and Michael Curry built their company Greenbelt Microgreens from 40,000 sq.ft. up to the current 3.5 acres and, by their extensive knowledge of the plants and the cultivation, extended the shelf life and quality so much that microgreens are now a known product both in the industry as well as on the menu of various restaurants. Now it's time for the next step: Ian and Michael are getting into a new, organic green product. Indeed, cannabis it is.
It hasn't been an easy year for the microgreen growers in Canada. After various possible Listeria threats and following recalls in the microgreen industry, they have to deal with very strict governmental rules. The team with Greenbelt Microgreens chose their way: it's time for something new.
Combining the facts that the recently acquired farm offers a high level of automation, an organic certification and extensive facilities securing food safety issues and checking out the strict measurement guides, ascertaining that there is an acute shortage once the legalization of cannabis took effect on October 17 of 2018, the decision was made. In their state of the art Hamilton production site, cannabis plants are to be grown.
Even given the circumstances, the decision hasn't been an easy one to make. The farm was acquired only two years ago and has been retrofitted and modernised completely: LED lights, UV water purification and CLO2, packing lines - it's all there. A rain water retention pond was newly built to create 100% water recycling. Also the greenhouse is equipped with an acrylite roof: fully UV transparent and offering the equivalent to growing outdoors.
All the investments made were to enable them to grow a uniform and highly productive microgreens crop year-round under HACCP and GMP certifications. "However, all these utilities and improvements also offer a great opportunity to those willing to enter the cannabis market at a high level", Ian explains. "We are entering the cannabis market to grow a premium organic craft cannabis product."
He continues: "There's various options for the farm. The one avenue to be taken is growing plants to a bud stage. A harvest of approximately 15,000 kg/year is on the forecast, depending on stage of growth they are sold at. The second one is to create a nursery facility. Since the farm is equipped completely to propagate via tissue culture cuttings, supplying plants to other facilities would be a great market to participate in."
Beneficial to these plans is the extensive knowledge the team built up. Ian has been in the industry for over 20 years and learned all about propagation thanks to his activities in microgreens and leafy vegetables. Therefore there's the option to acquire 40% of the assets and participate unitedly in the new company. However, the premises are also offered as a whole: both the real estate and the greenhouse. In that case hiring the experienced team is one of the options. "We are now actively seeking that buyer for either an asset sale or a share sale. We are good with either option."
Ian and Michael have entrusted the sale of the property to a qualified realtor, Fred VanderVelde. Michael and Alice are visiting the MJBizCon this week to those looking for more information.
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