|Mohamed Hage (Founder, CEO)|
Kurt Lynn (Founding Member, Vice President)
Lauren Rathmell (Founding Member, Greenhouse Director)
Yahya Badran (Founding Member, Director of Engineering)
|Products||Subscription-based food ecommerce|
Number of employees
Lufa Farms is an agricultural and technology company located in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville neighborhood of Montreal, Quebec. The company, founded in 2009, has installed commercial greenhouses on the roofs of several warehouses in greater Montreal, beginning with a 31,000 sg ft greenhouse over their headquarters in 2011.
Lufa Farms specializes in new agricultural technologies in urban zones. In 2009 the company was founded by five people with a strong business and marketing background and some knowledge of greenhouse and farm production. After a two year trial with McGill University researchers, they built their first large (31,000 sq ft) rooftop greenhouse in early 2011 atop a Montreal warehouse designated as their headquarters.
Lufa Farms stated that from their first greenhouse they produced vegetables year-round for more than 3,000 people in the greater Montreal area, delivering in 2013 more than 2,000 baskets per week, or about 700 pounds of produce per day. They advertise that they produce forty varieties of vegetables grown hydroponically without synthetic pesticides, capturing rainwater, and recirculating irrigation water. Their intensive year-round production does rely on inputs such as hydroponic nutrients, LED lighting, and natural gas for supplemental winter heat.
In September 2013 Lufa opened a second greenhouse of 43,000 square feet in Laval. This facility was built in conjunction with the Dutch greenhouse manufacturer KUBO. They opened a third facility, 63,000 square feet, in Anjou, another Montreal suburb, in 2017. The three greenhouses cost about $9.5 million to build. While Lufa has expressed interest in exporting their model across Canada and into the United States, as of 2017 the production business had not expanded beyond greater Montreal.
Lufa uses a direct-to-consumer ("subscription") model with online ordering, and identifies dozens of drop-off sites rather than maintaining a central market. While they do grow herbs and experimental produce to achieve the 40 different varieties thy advertise, the majority of their production is limited to five crops -- mixed greens, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers. To offer a broader selection they have agreements with other farmers, mostly organic and local but not greenhouse based, as well as with a few growers in Florida who grow tropical produce (bananas, avocado, oranges). Their aggressive marketing and self-promotion has put them at odds with some of the small farms and conventional groceries they both utilize and compete against. The company has also lost some customers because of both significantly higher prices and more limited access to produce.
Honors and awards
- C2-MTL, Creative answers to commercial questions contest.
- C2-MTL, Emerging Entrepreneurs Contest.
- Urban Times, One of 15 Startups That Improve our World.
- Controlled-environment agriculture
- Urban agriculture
- Roof garden
- Building-integrated agriculture
- Teresa Novellino (October 15, 2012). "Lufa Farms practices agriculture for geeks". Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- David Suzuki. The Nature of Things, CBC, ed. "Suzuki Diaries: Future City - Lufa Farms". Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Glen Rifkin (May 18, 2011). The New York Times, ed. "Cash Crops Under Glass and Up on the Roof". Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- Alexandre Shields (July 20, 2013). Le Devoir, ed. "Des tomates plein le toit - Ajouter de la culture dans la ville" [Full roof tomatoes - Adding culture in the city] (in French). Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Lauren Mandel (November 15, 2012). "The Full Monty". Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- Maxime Coutié (June 20, 2012). "La générosité de la serre Lufa" [The generosity of the greenhouse Lufa] (in French), C'est bien meilleur le matin, Radio-Canada, June 20, 2012.
- James Rathmell (May 14, 2013). "Lufa Farms' plan to change how cities eat". Archived from the original on August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- asormani (October 10, 2012). "Lufa Farms secures expansion financing". Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- Allaby, Monica (April 2018). "Growing Pains: The Relationships Between Commercial Urban Agriculture and Peri-Urban Organic Farms in Montreal, Quebec" (PDF). Thesis towards a B.A. in Geography Honours Degree. Department of Geography McGill University Montréal (Québec) Canada. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- Sarah Elton, The farm on top of the city, Maclean's, October 18, 2012.
- "Sustainable bananas, avocados, and citrus in Montreal!". montreal.lufa.com. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- C2-MTL, Bird? Plane? Lufa Farms!, May 22, 2013. Archived August 2, 2013, at Archive.today
- Urban Times, STARTUP LAB – Ep. 3: Lufa Farms Archived 2013-07-19 at the Wayback Machine, November 12, 2011.