Infarm and Sobeys Inc. have announced a new agreement to accelerate the availability and distribution of fresh produce to an additional four of Canada’s 10 provinces by 2023. The agreement builds on the success of a partnership launched in 2020 – the first of national scope between a Canadian retailer and a vertical farming company – to offer locally grown Infarm produce to Sobeys consumers Canada-wide.
As part of the deal, Infarm will construct new Infarm Growing Centres – growth, production and distribution hubs with high-capacity vertical farms – at sites in Calgary, Halifax and Winnipeg, with Hamilton, Ont., planned to host the largest Infarm Growing Centre in North America, with a growing capacity of 37,000 square feet (ft2).
In combination with existing Infarm Growing Centres in Vancouver and Victoria/Vancouver Island, the agreement allows the company to increase production volume in Canada more than sevenfold. The deal comes in response to the increasing demand by retailers and will supply more than 1,000 stores in the retailer’s network alone.
With 97 employees on the ground today, Infarm’s Canadian team will grow by more than 50 per cent to 160 by the end of the year, working from locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.
“We’re delighted with what has been an extremely positive and successful partnership with the Sobeys family of retailers,” said Erez Galonska, Infarm CEO. “This expansion deal represents one of the largest rollouts of any vertical farming company in North America to date as we aim to offer local, high-quality produce to people everywhere.”
“We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers and our store teams about the current Infarm product grown in our stores,” said Niluka Kottegoda, Sobeys vice-president of customer experience. “We are thrilled to expand into the Infarm Growing Centres, as they allow us to exponentially offer these great local products to a multitude of communities across Canada all year-round.”
Infarm Growing Centres integrate farming units that can each save up to 10-million litres of water per year compared to soil-based agriculture for similar crops, while producing the equivalent of up to 100,000 ft2 of land. In line with the company’s goal of utilizing 100 per cent renewable or green-certified energy, 90 per cent of electricity used throughout the Infarm network will be from green-certified sources by September 2021.
Over the next five years, Canadian consumers can expect a range of new Infarm produce added to the current selection of herbs, leafy greens and microgreens now available in the retailer’s grocery aisles, including tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, mushrooms, convenient cut salads and even potted plants. By 2025, Infarm plans to scale to 100 growing centres, with a growing capacity of 3 million ft2.
For further information, please visit https://www.infarm.com/