In our April issue, Metropolis Farms’ Jack Griffin walked us through his second-floor urban vertical farm, which was unique in part because it wasn’t on the ground floor. This month, we’re taking it a step further (or higher, shall we say) with our cover story.

Lufa Farms is a Montreal-based greenhouse produce grower for which the sky is the limit, as they’ve built their greenhouses on rooftops. Their efforts have been so well received that even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the operation recently (check out photos from the visit on Lufa’s flickr page: bit.ly/2qkn12u), and Mohamed Hage, one of the founders, gave a TEDx Talk about Lufa and its views on sustainability and food production (watch it here: bit.ly/1dSypWi).

And as of 2013, Lufa has been cultivating a strong connection with the local population, creating a successful CSA program that incorporates both their greenhouse produce as well as other local businesses’ prepared foods. One of the points that I found interesting about their CSA is that the produce for the 10,000 customized baskets is both harvested and picked up within a few hours. “Lufavores,” as the CSA members are called, commit to picking up the basket on the same day as delivery “to ensure food safety and maximum freshness,” according to Lufa Farms’ website. Harvesters are picking that day’s orders very late at night or early in the morning — sometimes while wearing headlamps because the sun isn’t up yet! You can see a photo of it at bit.ly/2qTrkVk

Lufa Farm’s CSA program also stands out with its comprehensive online ordering system, what they call the Marketplace. It’s easy to see what’s available and order it with a simple click, up until midnight on the day before delivery. Lufa Farms is a great example of the potential of collaborating with other local businesses for maximum success, and making the most of what most people wouldn’t think of as an ideal growing space. Read the full story, including details on the challenges and benefits of rooftop growing, starting on page 6.

kvarga@gie.net | (216) 393-0290

Twitter: @Karen_GIE