CAN: As Ontario farmland disappears, vertical farm industry grows

According to data from Canada’s 2021 Census of Agriculture, Ontario is losing 319 acres of farmland daily. This number is likely to increase after a housing law passed earlier this month by the provincial government expands development into parts of Ontario’s protected Greenbelt.

A startup based in Welland, Ontario, with ambitions to expand across the country, says it has a solution that will produce food on less land. It’s a solution poised to be a burgeoning growth sector in agriculture as the impact of climate change and development reduces the amount of arable land: vertical farming.

In a two-story building in Welland, about 20 miles southwest of Niagara Falls, a vertical farming facility known as Vision Greens is growing tons of plants 365 days a year indoors in stacked formations in a controlled environment.

The produce—think floor-to-ceiling rows of lettuce, arugula, and basil—serves a market with a radius of less than 125 miles (200 kilometers), guaranteeing delivery within 24 hours of harvest. According to a report in CBC, the Vision Greens facility is equipped to grow 700,000 pounds of food a year. Lenny Louis, the company’s CEO, told CBC that the vertical farming facility is “using five percent of the land of traditional farming.”


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