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09/12/2011

Supermarket rooftop farming coming soon?

New York firm Bright Farms has signed on with 10 U.S. supermarket chains to build and operate rooftop hydroponic greenhouses that will supply the chains with their own fruit and vegetables.

New York firm Bright Farms has signed on with 10 U.S. supermarket chains to build and operate rooftop hydroponic greenhouses that will supply the chains with their own fruit and vegetables.

An article in the Toronto Star said in exchange for a 10-year contract with the supermarket agreeing to buy the produce grown on their rooftop, Bright Farms invests the $1.5 million to $2 million to build the greenhouse, and operates it.

Some 500,000 pounds of produce would be sold to the supermarket per year.

The first of the greenhouses in the U.S. are slated to open in 2012; Bright Farms has been looking at opportunities in Canada in the last month. The company declined to say which Canadian chains it's in discussions with.

The hydroponic greenhouses are said to cultivate produce that is fresher and grown for quality, taste and nutrition and not shelf life.

In addition, costs are kept in check while reducing carbon emissions.

For a head of lettuce in New York, up to 50 per cent of its value goes to the cost of transporting it, according to the company.

The greenhouses are expected to generate $1 to $1.5 million in revenue per year.

Environmentally, the greenhouses would eliminate around 740 tons of Co2 emissions per year, and save five million gallons of water a year.