Montreal has just become home to a sprawling new rooftop greenhouse with countless green, leafy rows of fresh vegetables covering the distance of three football fields.
Lufa Farms, a local company known for its sustainable produce baskets, launched its fourth greenhouse this summer in the city’s Saint-Laurent borough.
The latest adventure for the organization is huge; the canopy of different tomatoes and eggplants is larger than any of its other urban gardens and bigger than the three others combined.
“It takes a year and a half to build a rooftop like this,” said Jean-Michel Vanier, the company’s director of finance.
He said the challenge was to find a facility with adequate space for the garden.
“You have to set up the space and you’re good to go.”
Lufa Farms producers claim their project is the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world at 163,800 square feet and they say it helps the company produce nearly 25,000 pounds of fresh produce every week.
“With every greenhouse, we’ve improved our production,” said communications manager Caroline Bélanger, who explained that each one grows different vegetables. The facility in Ahuntsic, for example, even has experimental fruit growth underway with bananas and strawberries.
The newest urban garden is expected to double Lufa Farms’ fresh veggie produce as it sees a spike in orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the health crisis struck in March, the company says it has experienced double the demand from both new and older clients for its farm baskets.
Lufa Farms works to reduce the energy used to grow fresh produce and limit the carbon footprint of Quebec families by providing them with locally grown food. The company also uses gutters to collect rainwater to mix with citywide as part of their irrigation system.
“We’re able to feed people exactly where they live, so it minimizes the transportation of vegetables,” said Bélanger.
— With files from Global News’ Phil Carpenter