National partnership to deliver fresh farmed and harvested in-store produce
Empire’s family of brands is partnering with Infarm, one of the world’s most advanced and fastest-growing in-store farming platforms, to grow and harvest a range of fresh produce in select Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Foods stores across Canada. Each vertical farming unit is a stand-alone ecosystem, enabled by machine learning and AI technology, that creates the optimum environment required for plants to flourish.
“Our goal at Empire is to be the fastest-growing and most innovative retailer in Canada. As we strive to achieve that goal, we continuously seek out first-to-market opportunities,” said Niluka Kottegoda, Vice President Customer Experience, Sobeys Inc. “Our partnership with Infarm is unique in Canada and offers our customers a world-leading urban farming solution. 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.”
Launching this Spring, the first fresh produce harvests will include a range of herbs at two Safeway stores in Vancouver, 8475 Granville Street and 2733 West Broadway. Empire will place farms in stores across seven cities in Canada, (Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg) growing millions of hyper local plants for our customers.
“Our partnership with Empire builds upon our vision to grow a resilient ecosystem that can help feed people living in cities around the world by 2050, while improving the environmental footprint of our food,” said Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm. “For example, through vertical farming we can introduce plants to markets that were previously unavailable because they were too delicate to be transported. We’re proud to partner with Empire to share the Infarm revolution with Canadians.”
The in-store farms produce fresh, nutritious and flavourful produce all year round without the use of chemical pesticides. The vertical farms use 95 per cent less water, 90 per cent less transportation and 75 per cent less fertilizer than industrial agriculture.
How it works
- Infarm has developed the world’s most advanced, sustainable, easily scalable and rapidly deployable modular farms.
- Each in-store farm has a controlled energy-friendly environment designed to bring out the natural flavour and properties of each plant.
- The plants are all grown in-store, dramatically reducing carbon emissions that result from transportation.
- The individual farms are connected and remotely controlled from a central farming platform that gathers up-to-the minute information about the growth of each plant and learns, adjusts and improves the growing conditions.
Empire Company Limited is a Canadian company headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Empire’s key businesses are food retailing, through wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., and related real estate. With approximately $25.6B in annualized sales and $13.8B in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 123,000 people.
Founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and the brothers Erez and Guy Galonska, Infarm combines highly efficient vertical farms with IoT technologies and Machine Learning, to offer an alternative food system that is resilient, transparent, and affordable. The company distributes its smart modular farms throughout the urban environment to grow fresh produce for the city’s inhabitants. With cutting edge R&D, patented technologies, and a leading multi-disciplinary team, Infarm was founded on a visionary mission: helping cities become self-sufficient in their food production while significantly improving the safety, quality, and environmental footprint of our food. Infarm currently operates across Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, the United States and Switzerland where it has deployed more than 500 farms in stores and distribution centres.