Goodleaf Farms Secures USD 150 Million for Expansion
GoodLeaf Farms is Canada's first and largest commercial indoor vertical farm. It has just finished a successful financing round that will help it grow its technology-driven, innovative indoor vertical farms in Eastern and Western Canada.
The $150 million capital raise includes a new partnership with Power Sustainable Lios, a specialist agri-food investor that helps operators all along the food value chain speed up growth projects that promote a more sustainable and resilient food system.
With this money, GoodLeaf will open new farms in Calgary and the area around Montreal. These will be in addition to the fully automated 50,000-square-foot farm it already has in Guelph, Ontario.
The national expansion will create up to 140 new jobs (70 in each market), many of which will be skilled. This is on top of the more than 500 grocery stores and food service outlets that already sell GoodLeaf products in Ontario.
“Adding one of North America’s most sophisticated agri-food investors to our team alongside McCain, a global food giant, greatly strengthens GoodLeaf’s position as the leader in vertical farming in Canada,” says Barry Murchie, Chief Executive Officer of GoodLeaf Farms. “Together, we are driving sustainable and innovative agriculture technology that is revolutionising the way we grow food in Canada. "Farming indoors frees us from the constraints of Canadian seasons and allows us to harvest a superior product that tastes as it came straight from the garden all year."
“GoodLeaf is the leader in Canadian vertical farming, with best-in-class commercial operations, industry-leading food safety practices, and a strong food-first executive team,” says Jonathan Belair, Managing Partner of Power Sustainable Lios. "Together with its unique strategic partner, McCain Foods, GoodLeaf is in a great position to carry out a pan-Canadian strategy that will provide consumers across the country with fresh, locally grown, nutritious baby greens and microgreens all year long."
Up to 90% of the leafy greens eaten in Canada come from the southwestern United States. All year long, GoodLeaf provides people in Canada with garden-fresh microgreens and baby greens that are high in nutrients.
GoodLeaf’s high-tech, climate-controlled farms use an intricate system of hydroponics with traditional ebb-and-flood watering to feeding nutrient-rich water to the plants and specialised LED lights that are engineered to mimic the spring sun—ideal conditions for plants to maximise photosynthesis. This helps intensify land use by supporting the harvest of more than 40 crops a year of microgreens and 20 crops a year of baby greens.
GoodLeaf farms utilise less than 5% of the water required for open field cultivation and are free of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. These farms are also not at risk from extreme weather. No floods will destroy a crop, and they are not vulnerable to the drought conditions that are currently forcing over 500,000 acres in California to go fallow owing to a water shortage.
“McCain is at its core an innovative agricultural company and a leader in sustainability, which makes GoodLeaf a great fit with our values,” says Peter Dawe, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer from McCain Foods. “The technology used in GoodLeaf’s farms replicates springtime’s ideal growing conditions every single day, ensuring we have a local supply of fresh, tasty, and nutritious greens year-round. We have been a leading partner in supporting GoodLeaf’s growth journey and are excited to continue our support as it expands across the country.”
GoodLeaf's new farms in Calgary and Montreal will have a lot of automation and the most advanced technology for controlled-environment agriculture that is currently available. Together, these two farms will add 200,000 square feet of production space to GoodLeaf’s capacity, and each will be able to produce approximately two million pounds of locally grown, fresh leafy greens each year. They are also expandable, with the ability to quickly double their capacity as Canadians switch to a better source of leafy greens grown in their own country.
In late Q2 and early Q3 of 2023, both farms will begin producing microgreens and baby greens.
GoodLeaf has a wide range of baby greens and microgreens that is growing all the time. Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Longo's, Whole Foods, and many other independent retailers and food service operators in Ontario carry GoodLeaf's premium fresh Spring Mix, Micro Asian Blend, and Micro Spicy Mustard Medley.
When the Calgary and Montreal farms are finished, GoodLeaf will be able to serve customers all over Canada, from Atlantic Canada to British Columbia.
“The traditional sourcing of leafy greens in Canada from California and Arizona is a problem now and will continue to be a problem,” says Mr. Murchie. “It requires significant transportation miles, with each passing mile on the road, the plants lose nutrients, and there is an increased risk of food spoilage and waste. With our excellent partnerships in both the retail and food service sectors, together we are bringing Canadians a superior domestic alternative in leafy greens whose taste, freshness, and overall quality is unmatched. We are leveraging technology and commercial collaboration to secure Canada’s food supply, and we’re doing so using sustainable growing practices.”