Quebec-based Ferme d’hiver is reinventing agriculture by bringing vertical production to scale. Using artificial intelligence and advanced engineering, the company’s original solution recreates optimal climatic conditions for market gardening in a fully controlled indoor ecosystem. This innovation paves the way for industrial and large-scale agriculture, while alleviating concerns related to climate, the agribusiness industry and the economy.
Also known as precision farming, Ferme d’hiver’s technology controls water, light, air, and temperature to take full advantage of agriculture while respecting the principles of biological control. The technique can be used indoors to complement greenhouse and field farming operations. The building, with a height of up to 8 meters, allows for 3D production and higher crop density per square meter – up to 15 times that of a greenhouse, and 45 times that of field production.
About Ferme d’hiver
Ferme d’hiver was founded in 2018. Through technological innovations, the company enables a sustainable production of high nutritional value off-season fresh produce. The production is pesticide-free, limits emissions to the environment and is not affected by climatic conditions, which are increasingly unpredictable. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to feed the needs of a growing population with fresh, 100% natural, locally produced food while preserving the health of the planet.
A winter strawberry, with a taste of summer
The current premises, located in Brossard, on the south shore of Montreal, mostly consist of the research and development laboratory for the complete solution. Through partnerships with market gardeners, the company’s 5-year objective is to replace 10% of fresh produce imports and strengthen winter agriculture in Quebec.
“We decided to test our technology on strawberries first because everyone loves Quebec strawberries in the summer. But the seasonality of these berries forces consumers to rely on imported strawberries that can never be as fresh as fruit grown locally. In addition, the use of pesticides and food transportation have a major impact not only on the quality, but also increases the ecological footprint,” explains Yves Daoust, president and founder of Ferme d’hiver. “We offer a complementary solution to market gardeners who can grow fresh produce during the off-season, at a price consumers can afford. Strawberry crops are one of the most complex to control. With this first proof of concept, Ferme d’hiver has demonstrated its full potential, and allowed us to imagine the production of a multitude of other fruits and vegetables.”
Support from Investissement Québec
Ferme d’hiver has been counting on significant support from partners and investors, including the Investissement Québec, the Québec government’s main economic development lever.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made the citizens of Quebec realize that it is essential to increase our agricultural autonomy and, above all, to support our local producers. This initiative is therefore perfectly in line with our government’s desire to encourage innovative companies that develop solutions that meet Quebecers’ needs and have strong export potential,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Lanaudière region.
“This initiative brought by Ferme d’hiver will promote Quebec’s food self-sufficiency in addition to providing healthy products grown without antibiotics, hormones or pesticides. The company’s agricultural model, which is currently being tested on strawberries, will be used to produce many varieties of fruits and vegetables locally throughout the year. In addition, the facilities designed by Ferme d’hiver will be erected close to delivery markets to reduce the environmental footprint associated with food transportation,” said André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec region.
SOURCE Ferme d’hiver