Published: Mar, 29, 2021

While you still need snow tires on to travel the Coquihalla, spring is officially here! Traditionally planting season, high-tech innovation in food production means your going to be seeing fewer fields, more greenhouses, and tall industrial-looking buildings sprouting up on farm land and city fringes.



Vertical farming operations are on the rise and forecast to hit a global market value of $12.77 billion by 2026. Rich Alterman of The Food Institute reports that a vertical farm on slightly more than one acre can grow the same amount as 10 acres with traditional farming.

Inside these operations are stacks of growing platforms, sensors that detect things like temperature and nutrient levels, as well as cameras taking photos of plants as they grow, giving high-tech farmers more information about their crops than ever before. If your crop needs pollination, you can have your own indoor hive (like Oishii, that grow premium strawberries) or use a bubble-blowing robot. The environment is controlled, so there are no issues with pests or diseases, meaning that yields are consistent and year-round.

In addition, the smaller footprint and use of industrial buildings on the outskirts of cities, means a much shorter timeline from harvest to consumer. Bowery, the largest vertical farming company in the United States, is doing this, and supplies upwards of 1,000 grocery stores. Bowery says their farms are 100 times more productive than a traditional farm on the same amount of land.

In Canada, GoodLeaf opened its first vertical farm in Guelph in 2019, and has announced that it will open two more, one east of Ontario and one in either British Columbia or Alberta, growing greens. The province of Nova Scotia is encouraging their farmers to embrace new technologies with the announcement of $5 million in funding.

Now, if you want to talk really fresh, vertical farming company InFarm is supplying Copenhagen’s Irma supermarkets with living herbs and salad greens that grow in mini-farm cabinets for harvesting right in the store.

Much greater efficiency in controlling the environment of outdoor greenhouses is also on the horizon with a new type of solar energy system. Researchers, including an aerospace engineer, found that semi-transparent organic solar cell panels can generate power while still providing enough light for plants.

The link between rocket science and farming is also on the minds of space agencies looking for ways to feed astronauts on long missions. The Canadian Space Agency announced that it was taking part in the Deep Space Food Challenge and will award up to ten $30,000 prizes in Phase 1. The grand prize is $380,000.

Meanwhile, however you want to grow it, back here on earth our temperature-controlled vans are ready to take your tasty produce to market.




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