Oppy Partner UP Vertical Farms™ Plots Strategic Expansion, Plans for Fall Product Launch; Bahram Rashti Comments
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA - Late last year, Oppy revealed a remarkable new partnership with UP Vertical Farms™, its first foray into the vertical farming space. Since then, the growth of the operation has been nothing short of incredible. With products planned for launch in the fall of 2022, I reached out to UP Vertical Farms Co-Founder Bahram Rashti to find out all I could.
“We’ll be entering the market with multiple varieties and blends of baby leafy greens under the UP Vertical Farms brand,” he told me. “We are working with major retailers to develop custom and proprietary blends for each of their establishments. We have also started discussions with the foodservice industry in parallel to supply their needs for the consumers, and we have enough production capacity to cover all of Western Canada.”
There are many factors that contribute to the growth of UP Vertical Farms, but perhaps the most salient is its high-density vertical farming ecosystem, which allows the company to produce a tremendous amount of yield per square foot of land using very little water and other inputs.
“Water scarcity will eventually drive the cost of food production higher and higher as time goes by,” Bahram emphasized. “Since we use 99 percent less water, we have the ability to help minimize food price inflation, which has been on the rise in recent years. This in turn provides stability to retailers and their consumers. Additionally, we serve as a constant, reliable local source of produce as we are not affected by climate change effects by growing indoors.”
The quality of the product, both fundamentally and aesthetically, is also noteworthy. The growing methods lead to less bruising on the leafy greens, which in turn allows for longer shelf lives.
“This reduces shrink for retailers as they have a longer ability to sell the products, and customers have a longer time to consume them. Inevitably, less food is wasted and in turn less money is wasted by the customers to replace a product they ran out of time to eat,” Bahram remarked.
As climate change and sustainability remain top concerns for both the industry and the general population, UP Vertical Farms is successfully addressing these challenges with its work.
“Our proprietary growing methods using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) requires 99 percent less freshwater use, 99 percent less nutrients, and 99 percent less agricultural land which can be preserved for future generations. Additionally, we do not use any pesticides or herbicides and have almost no crop loss, which is very beneficial to the environment,” Bahram noted. “We also do not emit greenhouse gases and recycle the CO2 that we use. As a result, we have created a very sustainable ecosystem for food production, and this has made us very attractive as a produce source for both the retail industry and the foodservice industry alike.”
With strategic growth already on the horizon, I asked Bahram what the next year or so will look like for UP Vertical Farms.
“We are currently developing plans for expansions eastward. We are planning with Oppy to build a facility near each of their distribution centers. Our strategic alliance with Oppy allows for us to seamlessly enter the produce market as they have a vast and well-established distribution network across North America,” he expressed.
Although the company is distributing to Canada only so far, I imagine we’ll soon be seeing these products in the United States—and beyond.