B.C.'s UP Vertical Farms to build largest indoor touchless vegetable production facility

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UP Vertical Farms, a new indoor farm located at Pitt Meadows, B.C., will launch Canada’s first touchless, high density, indoor vertical farm for growing salad greens.

Founded by Fresh Green Farms, the company plans to unveil the first phase of operations in the spring of 2022, with the goal of becoming the world’s largest and most sustainable vertical farm by 2023.

The team at UP Vertical Farms says they have spent several years researching and developing technology to grow crops at 350 times more yield, compared to conventional farming, while employing an advanced, high density growing solution with minimal impact on the environment.

“Vertical farming is the future of agriculture and we’re excited to take it to the next level to bring healthier, better tasting, and longer lasting greens to consumers everywhere by next year,” says Bahram Rashti, co-founder of UP Vertical Farms. “Our fully automated system will revolutionize the industry by allowing for much higher yields, quicker production, better quality control, and less potential for contamination in order to produce locally grown post organic super greens in the most sustainable way.”

The company will roll out the first phase of operations at its Pitt Meadows location starting in the spring of 2022 with projections to produce 0.9 million kilograms (about 2 million pounds) and 6.3 million bags of salad greens per year.

As a hands-free vertical farming operation, UP Vertical Farms will be fully automated from seeding through to harvest in a humidity-, temperature-, water-, light-, and nutrient-controlled environment. Greens will never be touched by humans and are grown in water, not soil like traditional field greens, and in a controlled indoor environment, eliminating the need for products to protect crops from disease or contamination, UP says.

The company claims that its high density vertical farming set up uses 99 per cent less land, 99 per cent less water, 99 per cent less fertilizer, and 95 per cent less plastic for packaging to produce higher yield, using zero pesticides for locally grown greens.

Additionally, crops will be grown year-round in a 13 to 21-day growing cycle using recycled carbon dioxide and proprietary lighting technology for custom brix (sugar) levels and flavour profiles, according to the company.

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