Eco-responsibility is about making the right decisions to be more productive, more innovative and greener. It means wanting to be a part of a global economy that is both responsible and sustainable, and at the same time, sharpens your competitive edge in your own sector. Québec companies are integrating clean technologies in order to contribute to a thriving, innovative, inclusive and open economy. One of these exceptional leaders is Winter Farm .
Some people envision the future by looking straight ahead. But the founder and chief technology officer of Winter Farm, Yves Daoust would prefer to look up. With its 100% controlled indoor vertical farms, his innovative company’s strategy is definitely paying off. Vertical farms allow local food to be produced in a controlled environment during any season and to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables year-round. In turn, this significantly reduces Québec's trade deficit in produce during the winter months.
By way of comparison, it’s possible to produce 10 to 12 strawberry plants per square meter in a traditional greenhouse, yielding an annual harvest of about 10 to 12 kilos of berries for the same area. However, thanks to vertical farming, which allows the production of 90 plants per square meter, the company’s facilities in Vaudreuil can produce up to 160 kilos of fruit per square meter.
The difference is impressive. Today, 1,150 square meters of strawberries, which represents 2.5 hectares of greenhouses, can be grown vertically in a warm environment. The company has also added the succulent winter mushroom to its line of produce. By focusing on vertical farming, Winter Farm maximizes growing space and at the same time increases the production capacity of market gardeners with whom it partners to develop its agro-industrial network.
Along with these telling numbers, Winter Farm also recovers its own energy to heat adjoining spaces, including greenhouses. In addition to maximizing space and yield per square meter, the company ensures that the energy spent is recovered and used in adjacent spaces, which results in lower capital costs. There is also a marked reduction in greenhouse gases emitted through greenhouse cultivation. For example, a market gardening partner of Winter Farm was able to reduce its propane bill by 90%!
This is a cost-effective solution for the market gardening industry, which can also take advantage of the hydroelectricity produced in Québec. The company has designed water-cooled LED lighting technology that is fully integrated with the climate control system in its growing facilities. This innovation recovers heat from the lighting and redistributes it to spaces, such as greenhouses. By controlling all the components of the growing environment, you can shrink your carbon footprint and waste eliminated in the ecosystem through irrigation, while benefiting from
year-round quality and productivity.
It’s all about making technology work for local market gardeners to achieve clean, eco-responsible and innovative production: this is the success story of Winter Farm!