Investors used to brush off Amin Jadavji’s pitch to buy Elevate Farms’ vertical growing technology and produce stacks of leafy greens indoors with artificial light.
“They would say, ‘This is great, but it sounds like a science experiment,’” said Jadavji, CEO of Toronto-based Elevate. Now, indoor farms are positioning themselves as one of the solutions to pandemic-induced disruptions to the harvesting, shipping, and sale of food.
“It’s helped us change the narrative,” said Jadavji, whose company runs a vertical farm in Ontario, and is building others in New York and New Zealand.
Proponents, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, say urban farming increases food security at a time of rising inflation and limited global supplies. North American produce output is concentrated in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, including California, which is prone to wildfires and other severe weather.
Greenhouses can harness the sun’s rays and have lower power requirements. Well-established in Asia and Europe, greenhouses are expanding in North America, using greater automation.
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