Lufa Farms brings geek factor to urban agriculture

Lufa Farms has its eye on the U.S. market.
Lufa Farms

Lufa Farms has its eye on the U.S. market. 

At Lufa Farms headquarters in Montreal, it's not unusual for a live ladybug to appear on someone's computer screen. Or for a message to appear that says "it's raining," in full defiance to the sunny day outside.

That's because the urban farming startup's offices are just below its prime business: running the world’s first commercial rooftop farm, built in 2010. The ladybugs, which the company purchases as a natural way to keep away insect pests, are gingerly escorted back to the greenhouse, and employees realize the rain means the plants are being watered and they don’t need their umbrellas.

"This type of agriculture, this is agriculture for geeks," Lufa Farms cofounder Kurt Lynn told the Upstart Business Journal in a recent interview. "We have computer control systems that control our feeding and our environment and monitor our rainfall. We have a computer say its raining and systems that redirect the rainwater into reservoirs in the basement."

They even have their own app.

In the not-so-distant future, it looks like that same scenario could play out for Lufa in offices in cities such as Boston or New York. On October 9, Lufa Farms announced that it received $4.5 million in funding that is being set aside to lay the foundation for its expansion into Ontario and the United States. Having already established an urban farm on a rooftop in Montreal — with two more planned in Quebec — the company thinks the U.S. market will prove easier to farm, at least once it finds the real estate.

Read more in the Upstart Business Journal.

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