Montreal is a fast-paced urban center alive with a steady flow of students and business people alike. Sometimes you’ll see them slipping past one another, hungry and hunting. It’s likely they would never imagine being able to eat crisp vegetables grown within city limits.
“We’re providing an answer to an enormous variety of environmental issues by supplying hyper-local, fresh vegetables to urban residents. By growing without pesticides and distributing directly to customers the same day as harvest, we provide safe, nutritious, and much more flavorful vegetables, while also eliminating the 1500-mile transport chain most grocery store produce travels through,” said Lauren Rathmell, Greenhouse Director and Founding Member.
“We further minimize our environmental impact by recirculating water, capturing rainwater, and using about half the energy of a typical greenhouse. Finally, we help cities by replacing rooftop heat islands with a transpiring plant surface and we help reduce the energy needs of the building below us year-round.”
Lufa Farms will be expanding in the Montreal community by taking on new subscribers and opening more drop-points where people can pick up their baskets. Their second greenhouse will be opening in a few months, which will more than double the amount of vegetables they produce.
Over the next couple years, Lufa Farms plans to have greenhouse sites underway in at least one other major city in North America. In the more distant future, they hope to build multiple greenhouses in cities around the world.
“Finding suitable rooftops isn’t necessarily straightforward, so this is a challenge that lies ahead as we start expanding to new cities,” said Lauren. “We’re an incredibly innovative team overall, so we’ve been able to find solutions to many of the engineering, cultivation, and other challenges we’ve encountered so far. This leaves us poised to tackle expansion and introduce this concept worldwide.”
Their ultimate goal is to make cities self-sufficient in their food production. To provide for the population of Montreal for example, it would take about 25m square feet of rooftop greenhouses, a space equivalent to about 20 shopping centers.
“Our team is motivated to make an impact and push towards expansion, and we have the creativity and drive to make it happen,” said Lauren. “It’s been no easy task to get to where we are today, but we’re all so excited about the potential and ready to give it our all.”
Lufa Farms was founded in 2009 by Mohamed Hage and the founding team of Kurt Lynn, Yahya Badran, and Lauren Rathmell. Hailing from Lebanon, Mohamed drew inspiration from his heritage in naming the company. A lufa is a type of vegetable that grows abundantly in Lebanon and vines over homes and gardens. It produces a gourd-type fruit that can be dried and used as a loofah or sponge. The spirit of benevolence embodied in this plant that cools, shades, and bears fruit without needing much in return seemed to Mohamed an apt choice for the company’s name.
Lufa Farms is now composed of a team of about 30 people, including corporate, distribution, and greenhouse workers. Their head office is located in Montreal, where they also built the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse.
More information is available at Lufa Farm’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RooftopFarming?fref=ts
You may access their official webpage here: https://lufa.com/
You may call them at (514) 669-3559 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org