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Rooftop farming gains high ground in Montreal

hage
Mohamed Hage, founder and president of Lufa Farms Inc., runs a greenhouse that is built on top of a commercial building in Montreal. Photo by Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press. See video story here.

Nothing’s more down to earth than farming, but a new urban farm in Montreal is inspiring designers to think of growing in the clouds.

By Wallace Immen
The Globe and Mail
Aug. 19 2013

Excerpt:

Lufa Farms’ glass enclosure produces 40 types of vegetables and herbs in a variety of growing media, moisture and lighting conditions. There are two macro-zones and several micro-zones. Tomatoes, for instance, grow best in the sunny south-facing part of the greenhouse while lettuce does better in the cooler, northern portion of the roof.

Crops are harvested each day by six employees who work in the greenhouse. The produce is boxed and taken to pick-up points for customers who have pre-ordered custom selections of vegetables. (A small basket suitable for one or two people is priced at $22, and a large one suited for three or more sells for $44.) Lufa Farms employs 30 people, including sales people and logistics staff.

So far, demand for the produce is growing faster than supply. Mr. Hage says the company hopes to open two more greenhouses, another in downtown Montreal and one in Laval, Que.

“This is an idea whose time has come,” Mr. Hage says. “Big cities like Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa are basically food deserts; most of the year you can’t find locally grown sustainable food and we have to rely on imports.”

Read the complete article here.