Urban farming to expand in Montreal



Lufa Farms Inc., creator of the world's first commercial-scale rooftop greenhouse, has announced a partnership that will result in several new rooftop farms in and around Montreal, beginning next year.

A cooperative agreement has been reached with green industrial-park specialist Le Groupe Montoni of Laval to develop LEED-certified industrial buildings capable of supporting commercial greenhouses.

Mohamed Hage, president and founder of Lufa Farms, said Lufa's next rooftop greenhouse in the Montreal area would be constructed on a Montoni building roof, and should begin operations in mid-2012. Lufa's first commercial greenhouse, which sits atop a roof in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, measures 31,000 square feet.

Greenhouses on Green Buildings

According to the agreement, Lufa Farms will build and operate rooftop greenhouses on environmentally responsible Montoni buildings.

The new greenhouses will be between 80,000 and 120,000 square feet in size - four-to-five times bigger than Luffa's original greenhouse. Development costs will be shared and Lufa Farms will lease the Montoni roofs.

Le Group Montoni is a company that builds more than 1.5 million square feet of space every year.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is an international building certification program that concentrates on improving performance across five key areas: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development and water savings.

For Le Groupe Montoni, working with Lufa Farms is consistent with its commitment to LEED-innovative industrial projects.

'Enabled by Lufa Farms greenhouses, our buildings will be able to achieve new levels of energy efficiency. We see this becoming a model for an entirely new type of industrial parks that are clean, energy-efficient, and an important part of the greater community,' said Dario Montoni, president and chief executive of Le Groupe Montoni.

The company recently completed one of the nation's first LEED-certified industrial parks in Ville St-Laurent

More Greenhouse Space Means More Local Produce

Alan DeSousa, mayor of Ville St-Laurent and vice-chair of Montreal's Executive Committee responsible for sustainable environment, has been advocating more sustainable approaches to development for some years.

'Projects like those envisioned by Le Groupe Montoni and Lufa Farms can be an important step to a more energy-effective and food-independent Montreal,' DeSousa said.

In Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Lufa Farms grows a large selection of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, greens, herbs and other vegetables and sells them to direct to customers around Montreal through a distribution network of 'drop points.'

More than 700 households currently subscribe to Lufa Farms vegetable baskets. The new, larger greenhouses to be built with Montoni are expected to serve as many 5,000 households each.

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