UP Vertical Farms has launched its inaugural vertical farming facility in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia (Canada). The start-up is owned by Fresh Green Farms, an agriculture technology company founded by brothers Bahram and Shahram Rashti. Partnering on the project is global fresh produce distributor Oppy, which will oversee sales and marketing.
UP Vertical Farms is fully automated from seeding through to harvest. Using recycled CO² and proprietary lighting technology, leaves are grown to custom brix levels and flavour profiles while lasting 22+ days refrigerated. The greens are grown without soil and never touched by human hands, which means they are ready to eat right out of the packet with no need for rinsing – UP Vertical Farms is Canada’s first hands-free vertical farming operation.
By combining their experience in biology, information technology and business, brothers Bahram and Shahram Rashti have founded Canada’s newest innovation in vertical farming, a fully automated solution they designed from top to bottom that includes customized LED lights, temperature, humidity, water and nutrient-controlled systems for optimal growing conditions
“We are thrilled to go live after many years of research, development and planning,” said Bahram Rashti, co-founder of UP Vertical Farms. “With climate change affecting the fresh produce supply in a multitude of ways, we’re honoured to do our part to help Canada navigate its food security issues – as with recent shortages experienced in the traditional leafy greens sector, for example. These limitations in supply will be a continuous issue, one that we had foreseen, and for which we developed a commercial scale solution to address. Our facility will further limit Canada’s dependence on imported greens in the provinces we supply and we anticipate expanding our footprint quickly.”
Customised packaging and flavours
Forecasting annual production of just under 2 million pounds (900,000kg) of salad greens, UP Vertical Farms has the unique ability to fully customise packs specific to the individual needs of retailers and restaurants.
Because crops are grown in an automated 13 to 21-day period, blends can be tailored and grown instantaneously to keep pace with ongoing trends, which adds to the quality and consistency only UP can deliver to its partners.
“Entering the vertical farming space with Bahram and Shahram Rashti has been an upmost pleasure,” said Aaron Quon, Oppy’s Executive Director of Berries and Canadian Category Development “We’re looking forward to officially bringing their long-time vision to life, and providing our retail customers with the most advanced, sustainable technology in leafy greens that they have ever seen.”