August 5, 2020, OTTAWA—Fieldless Farms, a local Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) start-up, announced today that its cut lettuce mixes have hit shelves in Farm Boy stores. This is an important step for the company, which aims to bring year-round local produce to Canadians and reduce the country’s dependency on foreign imports.
“Canada imports $48 billion worth of food each year. We rely on other nations to feed us, and it’s risky—consider the supply chain impacts of Covid-19 an early warning,” said Fieldless Farms CEO Jon Lomow. “Thankfully, it presents a massive economic opportunity for the country. New technologies are unlocking possibilities for safer, more secure and sustainable food to be produced in Canada, 365 days a year. Forward-thinking, discerning and trusted retailers like Farm Boy will be crucial early partners in making that happen.”
The company’s first farm in Cornwall, Ontario—which grows leafy greens using highly controlled environments, renewable energy, and without herbicides or pesticides—reached full commissioning and CanadaGAP certification earlier this month. The Farm Boy deal comes just one year after Fieldless quietly closed a $3 million first round of funding from local investors and Farm Credit Canada (FCC).
“Companies like Fieldless Farms are an important piece of the puzzle for improving Canadian food security,” said Craig Hedden, relationship manager, at FCC. “FCC is proud to support this young and innovative company, which values inputs from Canadian agriculture and offers consumers healthy, quality products. The current impacts of COVID-19 remind us of the crucial role played by our agricultural producers and our food processors, who feed Canadians and the world every day.”
Canada currently imports well over 90% of its lettuce from the southern US—$500 million annually—specifically grown to withstand the journey over thousands of kilometres to centralized packing facilities and eventually to store shelves. In fact, Canada has the largest lettuce trade deficit in the world. And recalls, often due to lax oversight, are on the rise too. We now expect at least one leafy green recall every year due to food borne pathogens. Fieldless Farms plans to increase leafy green capacity significantly to address this market with safe and affordable products, but the company also plans to add other crops over time.
“We’ve tailored our approach to meet the needs of large retailers and to displace foreign supply, so it’s great to see a retailer like Farm Boy get excited about what we’re doing,” said Lomow. “Grocers are looking for secure, short and affordable supply chains they can trust. But, at the end of the day, it’s about the quality and freshness of the product for consumers, and ours is hard to beat.”
Farm Boy will carry the company’s no-need-to-wash, ready-to-eat, “Northern Crunch” and “Ontario Sweets” lettuce mixes starting with 16 stores in Ottawa, Kingston and Cornwall.
ABOUT FIELDLESS FARMS
Fieldless Farms is a Canadian controlled environment agriculture company based in Ottawa, ON. We help communities reclaim their food chains with safe, reliable, delicious produce, all year long. The company currently owns and operates an indoor farm in Cornwall, ON. Instagram: @fieldlessfarms / Web: fieldless.com
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Jon Lomow, CEO
Fieldless Farms Inc.