Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – Imagine growing more than two thousand pounds of barley within one thousand square feet of space.
Here’s the thing: it’s already being done, and for farmers, it can mean massive savings in livestock feed.
NuLeaf Farms, based out of Calgary, has carved out a large slice of the vertical farming pie. It incorporates controlled-environment agriculture solutions for farmers using soilless farming techniques like hydroponics and aeroponics.
NuLeaf boasts a catalogue of over 168 crops that can be grown, from edible and medicinal herbs to conventional leafy greens and everything in between, like lavender and strawberries.
Aside from growing perishable crops, NuLeaf is harnessing this technology to help farmers reduce feed costs.
Ryan Wright, co-founder and CEO of NuLeaf Farms, says they’ve been focused primarily on hydroponic barley systems that allow farmers to grow large amounts of barley in a confined space year-round, usually by converting abandoned assets like hog barns.
“This comes with a couple of benefits. One, it reduces the methane from cattle. Two, it increases feed-to-gain ratios for cattle. And third, better ratios for nutrient uptake of other food you feed to cows,” says Wright.
Wright says farmers are beginning to embrace the technology, seeing the value to their operations and bottom lines by reducing costs and improving sustainability. NuLeaf also allows hydroponic converts to get the services and support they need remotely once the tech is installed.
“Instead of having engineers and plant scientists on site, we have ways that we can basically integrate our technology into the farmer’s location, and we can watch everything going on in real-time. We have our own in-house team that can fix and resolve any issues and provide support as needed.”
Wright believes this technology will help youth engage in agriculture and develop the next generation of farmers. Not only is indoor farming economically sound, Wright says it also lowers the cost barriers that have prevented young farmers from entering the industry.
Along with helping farmers, NuLeaf is also using its tech to create turnkey food security solutions for communities. You can learn more about NuLeaf by visiting the website.