Building Magazine


Lufa Farms launches second rooftop greenhouse

Lufa Farms has unveiled its second greenhouse atop a newly constructed office building in the Montreal metropolitan area.

The greenhouse, located in Laval, will provide fresh produce to more than 6,000 people year round – about two times the yield of Lufa Farms’ first greenhouse in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough of Montreal. The company’s greenhouse system is scalable and can be replicated on new rooftops in any city.

“This greenhouse puts high-yield, rooftop agriculture within the reach of any new building development, in any city, on spaces public or private, anyplace in the world,” said Mohamed Hage, founder and president of Lufa Farms. “After almost five years of focus on the main issues of urban rooftop agriculture, we have solved how to cost-effectively grow food, distribute it, integrate it with local farming efforts, and do it all in an environmentally conscious, sustainable way. This doesn’t just change how food is grown, it changes how cities eat.”

Construction of the 43,000 square foot greenhouse, visible from the 440 highway atop a new mixed-use commercial building, was the result of collaboration between Lufa Farms, Le Groupe Montoni Division Construction, Inc. of Laval, and the Dutch greenhouse designer and manufacturer KUBO. The structure uses an innovative venting system to control pests and temperature and to optimize vital sunlight. The greenhouse also has a recirculating irrigation system for water and surface condensation.

“Our building is a shining example of an entirely new model of commercial construction: clean, energy-efficient, and contributing to the well-being of the community,” said Dario Montoni, president and chief executive of Le Groupe Montoni. “We build millions of square feet of buildings every year. If we put a greenhouse on each and every one, cities would produce enough vegetables to feed themselves year-round within 10 years.”

Lufa Farms is using its own technology to remotely monitor the crops in Laval. The company’s plant science team oversees cultivation through a network operations center located at its headquarters approximately four miles away.  Using cloud-based data management and reporting, the team remotely monitors and manages the cultivation at both its existing greenhouse and the new greenhouse site. A proprietary software application helps the team quickly and accurately find, monitor, prevent, and control diseases and other problems as they arise.

“Laval represents the culmination of the past few years in terms of our technological development,” explained Lauren Rathmell, founding member and greenhouse director at Lufa Farms. “We now have a cloud-based method to efficiently and sustainably feed cities using limited resources. And by partnering with Montoni and KUBO, we’ve been able to develop a complete tech-driven food system from seed to plate.”

With the successful completion of its Laval site, Lufa Farms has demonstrated the strong commercial viability of its model.

“There’s a very large global opportunity that has opened up in comprehensive food production and distribution models for cities,” said Dave Furneaux, a Boston-based investor and chairman of the board for the company. “This team has proven that their breakthrough business model works in Montreal and that they have the technology and vision to continue to scale both locally and globally.”

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