GoodLeaf Farms and the University of Guelph have announced they are forging a partnership to further advancements in vertical farming.
A Memorandum of Understanding between Canada’s largest commercial vertical farm and one of Canada’s leading agricultural universities seeks to build stronger links between theoretical research and development in processes and technology, and practical application in the field.
“Some of the best and most innovative agricultural research in Canada happens at the University of Guelph,” says Barry Murchie, Chief Executive Officer of GoodLeaf. “Building on the vertical farm technology we have already developed and are using, it will be exciting to see where this partnership can take us.”
Vertical farming is an innovative growing process that naturally grows plants with hydroponics under specialized LEDs. The lights are customized to mimic waves from the light spectrum that plants need to maximize photosynthesis.
It is a cost-effective method of farming, uniquely suited for the Canadian climate and scalable.
GoodLeaf was founded in Halifax in 2011 and, using innovative technology and leveraging multi-level vertical farming, has created a controlled and efficient state-of-the-art indoor farm that is fully automated and equipped to grow microgreens and baby greens 365 days a year, without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides and with dramatically less water than is used in traditional farming.
The system combines innovations in LED lighting with leading-edge hydroponic techniques to produce sustainable, safe, pesticide-free, nutrient-dense leafy greens. GoodLeaf has ongoing R&D Programs in collaboration with the University of Guelph, Dalhousie University, and Acadia University.
Through this latest collaboration, both GoodLeaf and the University of Guelph are aiming to build on the existing science and engineering of vertical farming.
Some of the projects currently underway include research into:
- Enhancing yields, plant science and new product development.
- Substrates, growing compounds and microbiology.
- Human resources and training future experts in the field of vertical farming.
“This partnership embodies something that’s incredibly important at the University of Guelph — connecting our research with the world to improve life,” says Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research) at the University of Guelph. “As our stellar researchers find ways to advance the vertical farming industry, their innovations will be tested and used in real-time, which means real-world impact — a more sustainable food system for Canadians.”