Rooftop pioneers are expanding Lufa Farms, the world’s first commercial rooftop farm, has completed a $4.5 million financing drive to fund the expansion of its new rooftop farming operations in Quebec, laying the foundation for expansion into Ontario and the United States. The funds will finance the construction of two additional facilities in the greater Montreal area and will establish Lufa Farms as the predominant urban rooftop farm operator in the world. The funds will also be used to begin expansion drives into Boston, New York, Chicago and Toronto. “Our new facilities will clearly establish us as the strongest and most advanced fresh-food farm operator in the urban agriculture space by putting well over 200,000 square feet of rooftops under cultivation,” said Mohamed Hage, founder and CEO of Lufa Farms. “Now that we have completed this round, more than 5,000 families will be obtaining freshly harvested, high-quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and organic local produce from Lufa Farms on a weekly basis.” Montreal’s Cycle Capital Management led the investment round, which also included Lufa Farms’ founding team of Hage, Lauren Rathmell and Dave Furneaux. Of particular note is the participation in the funding drive by Andrew Ferrier and the Kubo Greenhouse Project of the Netherlands. Kubo will provide greenhouse technology exclusively to Lufa Farms in North America. Lufa Farms offers fresh goods and premium, locally grown produce directly to consumers who live and work near its sustainable urban farms. Lufa Farms is a Quebec-based, urbanfarming enterprise that harvests fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits in rooftop greenhouses. The company created the world’s first commercial-scale rooftop greenhouse farm in 2010 atop an office building in Montreal. For more on this story, visit our news archives at www.greenhousecanada.com. U. S. hort organizations eyeing new association OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals has begun the process of organizing a new association with the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA). OFA and ANLA announced in January 2012 the formation of a joint venture to support business education and government relations activities. The working group composed of leaders from both organizations determined it was time to formally explore creating a new trade association. Since June 2011, OFA’s executive committee has been meeting with ANLA’s leaders about the opportunity for and viability of a formal relationship between the two organizations. “We are listening to our members,” said OFA president Mike McCabe, owner of McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. “Results of a membership and organizational study performed at the end of last year indicated that members of both associations want the organizations to work closer to unify the industry. They want their industry association to be all encompassing – one that touches and links all pieces of the horticulture industry, which can be offered by a new organization.” To keep the industry up to date on the formation of the new organization, they have launched a website, www.OneVoiceOneIndustry.com. The timeline is to have a new organization established no sooner than July 2013 and no later than January 2014. “This is not a merger. This is taking the best of what both associations do to create a new organization that will advance the industry and better serve our members,” said Michael V. Geary, CAE, OFA’s chief executive officer. PEAT HARVESTING WELL UP OVER 2011 Canada’s peat harvest has shown significant improvement over last year’s poor year, according to the Canadian Sphagnum Peat moss association. CSPma members represent 95 per cent of North american peat moss production. In eastern Canada, the industry has achieved higher than expected volumes. In central Canada, the production is on or marginally above expectations. An earlier start, combined with favourable weather conditions, contributed to the results in both regions. However, in western Canada, harvest had been impacted by a slower start and more adverse weather. Volumes were slightly below expectations at that time. Overall, the results are a marked improvement in the harvest volume over last year, notes the CSPma. It is anticipated that further adjustments may be made dependent on the ability to harvest in the fall season. This will be particularly true for western Canada. • www.peatmoss.com GROWER SURVEY RETURNS Buoyed by reader response last year, Greenhouse Canada will be circulating the 2012 Grower Survey next month. It will again provide a snapshot of current activity in the greenhouse sector, with results to be published in the april 2013 edition. (For the 2011 survey results, check our website at archives at www.- greenhousecanada.com/content/view/3129.) As an incentive to those completing the survey, there will be a draw for an electronic tablet. Sign up for our biweekly e-newsletters to participate.
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