TORONTO — Infarm and Sobeys Inc. have announced a new agreement to accelerate the availability and distribution of fresh produce to an additional 4 of Canada’s 10 provinces by 2023. The agreement builds on the 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 Inc. consumers Canada-wide.
As part of the deal, Infarm will construct new Infarm Growing Centers – growth, production and distribution hubs with high-capacity vertical farms – at sites in Calgary, Halifax and Winnipeg, with Hamilton, Ontario, near Toronto planned to host the location for the largest Infarm Growing Center in North America with a growing capacity of 37,000 ft2.
In combination with existing Infarm Growing Centers 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, including Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Food for fresh Infarm produce, and will supply more than 1000 stores in the retailer’s network alone.
With 97 employees on the ground today, Infarm’s Canadian team will purportedly grow by more than 50% 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, CEO at Infarm. “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.”
Infarm’s growing centers integrate farming units that can each save up to 10,000,000 liters 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% renewable or green-certified energy, 90% of electricity used throughout the Infarm network will be from green-certified sources by September 2021.