Can you imagine a city that grows most of its food on its very own rooftops, where tomotoes ripen on the vine year round - even in the dead of winter. That's the idea behind Lufa Farms, which operates 4 rooftop greenhouses in and around Montreal and delivers more than 25,000 fresh picked vegetabe baskets to its customers every week.
Founded in 2009 by Mohamed Hage and Lauren Rathmell, Lufa sprouted from the idea that urban farming could grow crops where people live, without using any new land, and deliver food without the carbon footprint of long distance transportation.
'When you buy a tomatoe in the winter, you're probably getting one that's been trucked in from California or Mexico,' says Lauren. 'We deliver ours right to you the day after they are picked.'
Hydroponic technology helps Lufa's greenhouses operate sustainably, recylcing about 90% of the water used by the plants. In lieu of pesticides, ladybugs and parasitic wasps devour aphids and other pests. Using residual heat from the building below, each farm requires half the energy of greenhouses on the ground. Meanwhile, the company's programmers keep operations nimble with greenhouse automation. Software manages delivery logistics while allowing customers to tailor their own baskets, choosing from 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables, plus other items, lke bread and cheese from local producers.
Lofa Farms in one of many similar urban-farming projects around the world, with commercial greeenhouses and gardens springing up in places like London, Paris and New York. It is predicted that city-grown crops could eventually make up 10% of the global food supply.
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