Canadian vertical-farming business Goodleaf Farms has raised CAD150m (US$110.2m) in a funding round led by local frozen potato major McCain Foods, an existing investor.

Goodleaf said the money raised will fuel the expansion of its indoor vertical farms into eastern and western Canada.

It is planning to establish a national footprint with new farms in Calgary and in the Montreal area alongside its existing 50,000 sq ft fully-automated farm in Guelph, Ontario.

Goodleaf said the expansion will create up to 140 new jobs.

Apart from McCain’s involvement, the newly-announced capital raise includes a contribution from Power Sustainable Lios – a specialist agri-food investor that says it backs initiatives that foster a more sustainable and resilient food system.

GoodLeaf CEO Barry Murchie said: “Adding one of North America’s most sophisticated agri-food investors to our team alongside McCain, a global food giant, greatly strengthens GoodLeaf’s position as the leader in vertical farming in Canada.

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“Together, we are driving sustainable and innovative agriculture technology that is revolutionising the way we grow food in Canada. Farming indoors frees us from the limitations of Canadian seasons and supports the harvesting of a superior product all year long that tastes garden fresh.”

McCain first invested in GoodLeaf parent TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture in 2018. It backed the business again in 2021.

Peter Dawe, the chief growth and strategy officer at McCain, said: “The technology used in GoodLeaf’s farms replicate springtime’s ideal growing conditions every single day, ensuring we have a local supply of fresh, tasty and nutritious greens year-round. We have been a leading partner in supporting GoodLeaf’s growth journey and are excited to continue to our support as it expands across the country.”

Last week, Berlin-based Infarm, the vertical-farming business which has raised more than US$500m from investors, announced it was consolidating operations and cutting hundreds of jobs due to “challenging” business conditions.

Controlled-environment agriculture is a capital-intensive industry, often requiring artificial lighting for 24-hour production and huge technology inputs. Vertically-farmed produce has also yet to become competitive with traditional field-grown crops, and the majority of operators are unprofitable.

Jonathan Belair, managing partner of Power Sustainable Lios, said: “GoodLeaf is the leader in Canadian vertical farming, with best-in-class commercial operations, industry-leading food safety practices, and a strong food-first executive team.

“In tandem with its unique strategic partner, McCain Foods, GoodLeaf is ideally positioned to execute a pan-Canadian strategy, providing reliable and locally grown, nutritious, leafy baby greens and microgreens to consumers across the country, year-round.”

GoodLeaf said its new farms will add 200,000 sq ft of production space to its capacity and each will be able to produce approximately two million pounds of leafy greens each year. They are also expandable, with the capability to double their capacity.

Both farms will begin producing microgreens and baby greens in late Q2 and early Q3 of 2023.

Read Just Food‘s interview with Power Sustainable managing partner Jonathan Belair