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Business is looking up for vertical farm in northern Ont.

A family in Sundridge, about 50 minutes south of North Bay, is having great success with indoor vertical farming -- also known as controlled environmental agriculture.

All different types of greens are growing at Marquee Farm on double-sided towers, one on top of the other in pod like cells -- also known as vertical farming.

“It’s a new way to farm, and it’s really become possible because of the advancements in the LED lights,” said Romano Marchi from Marquee Farm.

“We have towers, our vegetables grow in towers. Our towers have 12 lettuces on top of each other, but two-sided so that’s 24 heads of lettuce in a two-foot square footprint. The plants are getting the exact light and nutrients they need to grow to their optimal level.”

Marchi said having the vegetables grow inside has its pros and cons, but they are grown with no pesticides.

“They grow way faster,” he said.

“We can turn over 12 or 13 times. That’s 24 plants, 12 or 13 times a year compared to a field that would be three times a year. What you see in here would take acres and acres in a traditional field.

The family-run business has seen great success in its three years in business and has made its way in to grocery stores and restaurants.

“We’re in the Sundridge Foodland and many different retailers all the way from Muskoka to North Bay, and Parry sound in the West,” Marchi said.

“The convincer is just taste it, you will taste the difference. Now, people are approaching us all the time from stores and restaurants and now that it’s resort season we have resorts calling us so we will be on their menus for the summer season.”

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having local fresh produce,” said Robin Gibson of Marquee Farm.

“Everyone deserves to get fresh produce, close to home. It supports the local economy, as well as sustainability.”

The family said the plan is to only continue to grow the business, saying that they are currently in expansion mode, hoping to attract more grocery stores and restaurants in the near future. Top Stories

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