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  • McCain Foods Upping the Stakes in Vertical Farming with TruLeaf, GoodLeaf

McCain Foods Upping the Stakes in Vertical Farming with TruLeaf, GoodLeaf

Thursday, February 25, 2021

McCain Foods Limited has made a substantial investment in TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture and its wholly owned subsidiary GoodLeaf Farms, Canada's largest commercial vertical farming operation, to help drive the company's growth and expansion plans.

With a focus on driving innovation in Canada's agri-food sector, McCain has invested in excess of $65 million in GoodLeaf, making it the single largest shareholder in the company. The investment will help GoodLeaf establish a national network of sustainable vertical farms that will bring fresh, nutritious and delicious locally grown food to more Canadian consumers.

"At its heart, McCain is an innovative agricultural company," says Peter Dawe, McCain's chief growth and strategy officer. "This is why we're excited to support the growth and scale up of this Canadian start-up that lives at the intersection of food, agriculture and technology. GoodLeaf's vertical farm technology creates spring and summer growing conditions in Canada year-round, growing local, fresh, healthy and tasty leafy greens instead of being trucked long distances into Canada. We are thrilled to contribute to bringing GoodLeaf's delicious produce to Canadians across the country."  

GoodLeaf's first commercial farm is a fully automated 45,000-square-foot facility in Guelph, Ontario. Using a proprietary system of specialized LED lights and hydroponics, GoodLeaf grows five microgreens — Spicy Mustard Medley, Asian Blend, Micro Arugula, Pea Shoots and Micro Radish — and three baby greens — Ontario Baby Arugula, Ontario Baby Kale and Ontario Spring Mix — for the domestic market 365 days a year.

The indoor farm is not impacted by extreme weather events and is not exposed to pests — meaning the produce is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. The result is a safer, more nutrient dense and sustainably grown food source, providing a local alternative in a produce aisle highly dominated by imports from the southern United States or Mexico.

McCain's investment in GoodLeaf supports the continued growth and expansion of the company. Over the course of the next year, GoodLeaf is planning two more indoor vertical farms — one to serve the grocery and food service networks in Eastern Canada, and one for Western Canada.

Exact locations will be announced shortly.

"There are so many reasons why a partnership with McCain makes sense for GoodLeaf," says Barry Murchie, chief executive officer of GoodLeaf. "We share a keen interest in providing delicious food for Canadians while making farming more sustainable. Our vertical farm technology is a true game changer for Canadian food."

GoodLeaf's vertical farm is environmentally friendly, using 95 per cent less water than traditional farming practices with a significantly reduced carbon footprint due to shorter transportation routes between the farm and the consumer. Its scalable indoor vertical farms are incredibly versatile, and are one of the few options providing fresh, local produce in Canada all 12 months of the year.

"Investing in the growth of GoodLeaf as a made-in-Canada agriculture solution is directly aligned with McCain's global sustainability plan," says Mr. Dawe. "As a global leader in agri-food, McCain is committed to growing food smarter and in a way that's better for our planet. That's exactly what GoodLeaf is doing."  

For more information, please visit mccain.ca.  For more information on GoodLeaf, please visit goodleaffarms.com.

About McCain Foods (Canada)
McCain Foods (Canada) is the Canadian division of McCain Foods Limited, an international leader in the frozen food industry. McCain Foods is the world's largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialties, and also produces other quality products such as appetizers, vegetables and desserts that can be found in restaurants and retail stores in more than 160 countries around the world. In Canada, the company has eight production facilities with approximately 2,400 employees and, in addition to its famous French fries and potato specialties, makes frozen desserts, snacks and appetizers.

About GoodLeaf
With a passion for delicious, nutrient-rich greens, GoodLeaf Farms was founded in Nova Scotia in 2015. Using an innovative technology and leveraging multi-level vertical farming, GoodLeaf has created a controlled and efficient indoor farm that can grow fresh produce anywhere in the world, 365 day of the year. The system combines innovations in LED lighting with leading edge hydroponic techniques to produce sustainable, safe, pesticide-free, nutrient-dense leafy greens. GoodLeaf has ongoing R&D Programs in collaboration with the University of Guelph, Dalhousie University and Acadia University.

For more info information, please contact:

Michelle Hann
Senior Consultant
Digital and Communications
Enterprise Canada

February 25, 2021