Empire introducing in-store farms at select locations
National partnership with Infarm to deliver fresh farmed and harvested in-store produce at participating Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Foods banners
Canadian Grocer staff
Select Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Foods locations across Canada will soon offer even fresher produce options.
Parent company Empire is partnering with Infarm--a Berlin-based indoor vertical farming system--to grow and harvest a range of fresh produce without the use of chemical pesticides.
Farms will be placed in stores across seven cities--Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg--starting this spring with two Safeway stores in Vancouver. The first harvest will include a range of herbs.
"Our partnership with Infarm is unique in Canada and offers our customers a world-leading urban farming solution," said Niluka Kottegoda, vice-president customer experience at Sobeys, in a press release issued Monday morning to announce the partnership. "The products we will offer in store are unique to customers in urban communities. We're excited to test and learn with our customers along the way."
The vertical farms use 95% less water, 90% less transportation and 75% less fertilizer than industrial agriculture, according to Empire. "Each in-store farm has a controlled energy-friendly environment designed to bring out the natural flavour and properties of each plant," the company said.