Recently, Vegpro International announced a $ 55M investment for the construction of its first greenhouse complex, as well as packaging lines within the complex, in Sherrington, Montérégie.
The company, which produces the Fresh Attitude lettuce brand sold in more than 2,500 points of sale in Canada, plans to open the first greenhouse in winter 2022. Covering an area of four hectares, this greenhouse complex will allow the company to produce lettuce in Quebec throughout the year, and thus stay close to Quebec consumers, even during the coldest months. This project will produce more than 100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) of lettuce per week.
“Thanks to this investment, Vegpro will reduce its environmental footprint on various fronts: less transportation of lettuce from our winter production site in Florida for products destined for Eastern Canada, reduced use of water and fossil fuel, as well as the elimination of pesticides, said Gerry Van Winden, President and CEO of Vegpro International. We are doing everything we can to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment and the construction of a greenhouse complex is another gesture that demonstrates our desire to be an eco-friendly company.”
Sustainable agriculture and carbon neutrality
The production system recommended for this project will be compatible with a sustainable agriculture approach. Among its main attributes, it provides for the elimination of pesticides and limited use of water and to act as a growth medium, in addition to their recycling. Water consumption will thus be reduced by 90% compared to production in the field. Minimal use of fossil fuels is also planned, in particular through the use of LED lights and geothermal energy. The system optimizes the use of water, light, space and nutrients, making it a modern, viable and sustainable farming method.
Greenhouse production in Quebec is a challenge in itself, as energy consumption is high during the process. The new greenhouse complex will allow significant reductions in GHG emissions thanks to:
- the use of mobile slab technology
- the LED lighting system
- the installation of high performance heat pumps using groundwater for the heating and cooling of the greenhouse.
Part of the heating needs that cannot be met by heat pumps will be by recovering residual heat from the production of CO2 for carbon enrichment of crops. Ultimately, the greenhouse will consume a negligible amount of natural gas. Therefore, Vegpro believes that the carbon footprint will be neutral.