Growing up, up and away – Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is all about the practice of growing food in vertically stacked layers. And that is exactly how Trusted Freshness® produce is grown in their new 37,000 sq. ft. facility in Leduc, Alberta, the location of Canada’s newest vertical farming enterprise.

Trusted Freshness® offers a variety of locally grown produce including a variety of lettuces –Green Wave Lettuce, Bibb Lettuce, Baby Green Romaine; Black Tuscan Kale and Nutri Kale and several herbs including Genovese and Thai Basil. With all Trusted Freshness produce harvested at its juvenile stage, the harvested produce ensures peak nutritional content, colour and flavour.

The advantages of vertical farming operations are many:

  • Year-round crop production
  • No weather related crop failures
  • Significantly reduces use of fossil fuels (farm machinery and transport of crops)
  • Eliminates agricultural run offs – including pesticides and herbicides
  • Offers the possibility of sustainability for urban centres

With vertical farming taking place in a controlled environment, farmers are able to make the most of the space they have available. They can grow many times the number of plants in the same amount of space by adding vertically layers rather than just relying on horizontal space. This type of farming makes it possible to fit a multitude of rows of plants in the same space that it would take to grow a single row of plants.

Similarly with the use of artificial light sources that mimic direct sunlight, each crop can be provided with exactly the right amount of light it requires to yield the best crop. Other environmental factors such as humidity and room temperature are also tightly controlled. Trusted Freshness produce is grown without soil using hydroponics.

Having control over the environmental factors helps eliminate many of the risks associated with traditional farming. For example growing indoors, vertical farming operators do not have to worry about hailstorms or drought. Their plants are always in an ideal growing environment and provided with just the right nutrients enabling them to grow and mature.  The controlled environment helps ensure that every seed that is planted turns into a viable plant that can be taken to market, making this type of farming more profitable and effective than conventional farm methods.

By having this much control over environmental factors many of the risks associated with traditional farming are eliminated. Harmful pests are not present and therefore there is no need for the use of harmful pesticides.  Also, vertical farming does not have to deal with insects and rodents that destroy crops.

As noted earlier, one of the main benefits of vertical farming is that crops can be grown year-round. Using traditional farming methods farmers can only grown crops during the spring, summer and autumn depending on what part of the country they live in. This limits the amount of food they can produce. With vertical farming growing crops in an indoor controlled environment, where they can keep the temperature ideal for growing year-round, allows vertical farming operations to produce crops continuously.

There will always be a place for traditional farming of food. However, the introduction of vertical farming enables these types of farming operations to feed more people than regular farming can because they can grow 75 times more food per square metre than a traditional farm. Vertical farming also uses 90 per cent less water than outdoor farms.

The Trusted Freshness mandate is “eat local –eat fresh”. Jim Schroeder, Trusted Freshness CEO

The Trusted Freshness mandate is “eat local –eat fresh”. Jim Schroeder, Trusted Freshness CEO and chief marketing officer is thrilled with the response the marketplace has to its produce. “We are able to have our produce in stores within two to three days of harvesting, ensuring the consumer benefits from the short time between harvest and consumption,” says Schroeder, “It’s is all about ‘Growing Healthy Goodness’.”