As Ontario farmland disappears, vertical farm industry grows


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According to data from Canada’s 2021 Census of Agriculture, Ontario is losing 319 acres of farmland daily. This number is likely to increase after a housing law passed earlier this month by the provincial government expands development into parts of Ontario’s protected Greenbelt.

A startup based in Welland, Ontario, with ambitions to expand across the country, says it has a solution that will produce food on less land. It’s a solution poised to be a burgeoning growth sector in agriculture as the impact of climate change and development reduces the amount of arable land: vertical farming.

In a two-story building in Welland, about 20 miles southwest of Niagara Falls, a vertical farming facility known as Vision Greens is growing tons of plants 365 days a year indoors in stacked formations in a controlled environment.

The produce—think floor-to-ceiling rows of lettuce, arugula, and basil—serves a market with a radius of less than 125 miles (200 kilometers), guaranteeing delivery within 24 hours of harvest. According to a report in CBC, the Vision Greens facility is equipped to grow 700,000 pounds of food a year. Lenny Louis, the company’s CEO, told CBC that the vertical farming facility is “using five percent of the land of traditional farming.”


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