Leading Health and Life Sciences in Nova Scotia

ENTREVESTOR: One To Watch in ‘19: McCain Foods

See the full article here We reported a few weeks ago that McCain has now taken over the management of Halifax-based TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture. Last spring, McCain made its second investment in Fredericton-based Resson as part of a $14 million equity funding round. McCain Foods also works with Fiddlehead Technology of Moncton and Eigen Innovations of Fredericton. East Coast Startups Tapping Into Accelerators Beyond our Borders.  TruLeaf specializes in vertical farming, and will soon open its $16 million plant in Guelph, Ont., which will use data analytics and artificial intelligence to maximize its vegetables’ output and nutritional value. TruLeaf aims to become the North American leader in vertical farming – an ambition that will require so much capital and management expertise that it couldn’t be achieved without the help of a company like McCain Foods.]]>

ENTREVESTOR: Curwin Steps Down as TruLeaf CEO

Read full article here Gregg Curwin has stepped down as CEO of AgTech company TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture, paving the way for McCain Foods to steward the company through a phase of expected “exponential” growth. In an interview last week, Curwin said it was his decision to step down and he did so with the full support of the TruLeaf board and major investors. All decided the company’s ambition and the complexity of its machine learning-driven vertical farms required a larger management team and access to more capital. Curwin left the post late last month. Halifax-based TruLeaf aims to be the North American leader in vertical farming, which combines hydroponic technology, LED lighting and reclaimed rainwater with machine learning to produce vegetables year-round indoors. Vertical farming is nearly 30 times more efficient than traditional agriculture, uses as much as 95 percent less water, and takes up less land.  ]]>

WEBWIRE: McCain Foods makes significant strategic investment in vertical farming

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TORONTO – WEBWIRE – Monday, April 16, 2018
McCain Foods Limited has completed a strategic investment in TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture, a highly innovative Canadian agricultural technology company. TruLeaf has developed proprietary indoor vertical farming technology to grow fresh and nutritious leafy greens of high quality and flavour, in an environmentally sustainable way, 365 days per year. Since its inception in 2011, the Company has assembled a strong team of leading experts to develop and advance these proprietary growing systems, that can be located anywhere, from the heart of an urban centre to remote communities with harsh climates. TruLeaf currently sells its produce in Atlantic Canada under the GoodLeaf brand, in retail and food service channels. McCain Foods is actively engaging with entrepreneurs in developing and commercializing agri-food technologies; the strategic investment in TruLeaf is in direct support of McCain Foods’ innovation strategy. Commenting on the partnership, Max Koeune, President and CEO of McCain Foods Limited said, “McCain has a 60 year track record of advancing agricultural practices to the benefit of crop quality and environmental standards. Over this time, we have worked closely with many research institutions, technology partners and of course, our global network of growers. We remain committed to this approach and as such are always looking to partner with innovative businesses like TruLeaf to continue to set new standards for environmental care and efficient crop production, through advancing agricultural technology”. Gregg Curwin, TruLeaf Founder and CEO said, “We are extremely pleased to be entering this next phase of development and growth with such a strong leading global food company as McCain Foods. We believe this partnership will accelerate TruLeaf’s farm build-out, providing high quality, local, fresh produce to more Canadians while also expanding our reach to other countries around the world.” About McCain Foods Limited:  McCain Foods Limited is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products and a global leader in appetizers and snacks. It employs approximately 20,000 people, operates 53 production facilities on six continents and generates annual sales in excess of CDN $9 billion. About TruLeaf: TruLeaf is a revolutionary data-driven company that improves food production predictability through precision agriculture without the use of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. The company’s system leverages vertical farming technology to create efficient, controlled indoor farms to meet the needs of retailers, food service and consumers. Significantly disrupting the conventional leafy green supply chain in North America, TruLeaf sells its produce under the GoodLeaf brand, through a fully owned subsidiary, GoodLeaf Community Farms Limited, established to grow and market packaged produce in North America and beyond.]]>

ENTREVESTOR: TruLeaf To Use Data, AI in Farming

See original Entrevestor article here By Peter Moreira With its indoor farm in Guelph, Ont., nearing completion, TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture is plotting its next phase of growth with more farms, a licensing model for its technology and a new round of funding. Gregg Curwin, founder and CEO of the Halifax vertical farming company, also says the company is focused ever more on machine learning and data analytics to help it produce the most nutritious local food possible. Halifax-based TruLeaf aims to be a leader in sustainable agriculture through the use of vertical farming — which combines proven hydroponic technology with advancements in LED lighting and reclaimed rainwater to allow year-round production of plants indoors. Vertical farming is nearly 30 times more efficient than traditional agriculture, uses as much as 95 per cent less water, and takes up less land. Curwin told a panel discussion at the Big Data Congress last week that the company is now focusing on applying advanced technology to the process of growing plants indoors. The Guelph plant — which is due to be completed in June, will be fully automated and TruLeaf is looking into using data to improve the process of growing nutritious food. “The light bulb that’s going off for us is all about machine learning and data,” said Curwin. Curwin said that in the controlled environment of its growing facilities, the company can monitor data produced over time from the creation of the seed to shipping grown food to the supermarket. Outdoors, a farmer can get 40 points of data in his or her career; TruLeaf can get 10,000 data points in 10 days at its indoor farms. One example of TruLeaf’s experimentation is the work it has been doing with LED lighting. The company is experimenting with how different plants grow under different light spectrums, and what lighting is best at specific phases of the growing process. It is even examining whether special lighting in a supermarket shelf can prolong the freshness of produce. Curwin added that the company is investigating whether there is a direct link between adding certain greens to your diet and improving cognitive health. It is interested in producing in Nova Scotia a vegetable prominent in West Africa, where dementia rates are really low. “Can we make a defensible claim about the prevention of cognitive diseases?” he asked. “Making accurate claims is a significant goal of ours.” The last 18 months have been busy ones for TruLeaf. It closed an $8.5-million financing round last December and has been working with Loblaw Companies, the parent company of Atlantic Superstores, on the development of its farms. Appearing under the company’s GoodLeaf Farms brand, products grown in the company’s farm in Bible Hill are now available in a dozen Superstores spanning the three Maritime provinces. According to the TruLeaf website, the products include broccoli shoots, kale shoots, daikon radish shoots, pea shoots, baby arugula and baby kale. The company now has 38 employees in Nova Scotia. “We’re eliminating low-level jobs and most of the jobs we are creating now are . . . in computer science, engineering and plant science,” said Curwin.]]>

Truro's GoodLeaf Farms launches vertically farmed microgreens at select Atlantic Superstore locations

New indoor vertical farming technology from Nova Scotia promises fresher, local produce year-round, going from seed to plate in just over a week. Truro NS/Toronto ON (July 31, 2017) – GoodLeaf Farms (GoodLeaf) of Truro, Nova Scotia is pleased to announce its locally-grown microgreen products will be available year-round in select Atlantic Superstores stores across the Maritimes – even during the harshest winter months. Using technology created by its parent company TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture Ltd., GoodLeaf is pioneering a new, indoor, vertical farming system that uses LED lights and reclaimed rainwater to grow ultra-fresh produce in as little as one week, without the use of pesticides. Built with the highest degree of sustainability in mind, the process uses up to 90% less water than traditional farming methods and can be harvested, packaged and available for sale on store shelves within a day. “We know our customers are looking for exceptional produce, grown locally wherever possible, which is why we are such huge supporters of local and regional suppliers,” said Mark Boudreau, Director, Corporate Affairs, Loblaw Companies Ltd. “Having fresh local vegetables year round in the Maritimes would have been impossible a decade ago. We’re excited about today’s launch, and proud of our role working with TruLeaf over the past few years to bring this innovative farming technology to our Atlantic Superstore customers.” GoodLeaf Farms has been embraced by local wholesalers and restaurants who were drawn to the incomparable quality, consistency and freshness of GoodLeaf products. Today’s announcement at Atlantic Superstore, however, marks the first consumer launch with Loblaw in the Maritimes. “We are thrilled to be bringing a new era of freshness to Atlantic Canadian consumers,” said Gregg Curwin, President & CEO, GoodLeaf Farms. “We grow our produce in tightly-controlled environments to the very highest standards in the industry. It’s a difference you can truly taste – our products are bursting with flavour and nutrition. And by dramatically reducing the time and energy needed to grow produce, it really is a new way to eat responsibly.” About GoodLeaf GoodLeaf Farms is the exclusive Canadian licensee of the TruLeaf Smart Plant System® – a revolutionary indoor farming system that enables it to grow fresh produce year-round, even in the harshest winter months. As a pioneer in indoor, vertical farming, GoodLeaf has become a favourite among restaurants and wholesalers who have grown to depend on GoodLeaf for fast, fresh and local produce that meets the highest standards for quality and taste. For more information on GoodLeaf Farms, please visit www.goodleaffarms.com. For more information, please contact: GoodLeaf Farms Greg Veinott, Manager of Research and Commercialisation Ph: 902-843-5160 Email: [email protected] Loblaw Companies Ltd. Mark Boudreau Ph: (902) 802-8687 Email: [email protected]]]>

TruLeaf Closes $8.5-million Round of Financing

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TruLeaf Closes $8.5-million Round of Financing Former executive of Scotiabank joins TruLeaf board of directors

  TORONTO, ON/BIBLE HILL, NS, December 7, 2016 – TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture Ltd. (TruLeaf), the indoor, multi-level farming company from Bible Hill, Nova Scotia has closed an $8.5-million equity-finance round. This funding will enable the company to continue its mission of becoming a global leader in vertical farming technology. TruLeaf develops sustainable farming systems that can be built anywhere that enable fresh, nutrient-dense, pesticide-free produce to be grown locally all year round.   Mike Durland, Former CEO and Group Head of Scotiabank’s Global Banking and Markets division led this funding round along with a small group of strategic investors from Toronto. In addition, Mr. Durland and Neil Murdoch, Former CEO Connor, Clark & Lunn Capital Markets, will become members of TruLeaf’s Board of Directors.   “This new round of financing and the additions to our board will help us to expand the breadth of our product offerings and increase the number of markets that we serve,” said Gregg Curwin, President & CEO, TruLeaf. “Mike and Neil bring a high level of business acumen and strategic expertise that will help us scale our business.”   TruLeaf is positioned to meet the growing appetite for local food in Canada that has arisen in the last 10 years, by scaling its GoodLeaf Farms consumer brand. A 2013 BMO Food Survey found that Canadians buy locally grown vegetables above all other products. Ninety-seven per cent of those surveyed said they bought local because the food is fresh and tastes better.   TruLeaf is seeking to become a leader in sustainable agriculture through the use of vertical farming. Vertical farming combines proven hydroponic technology with advancements in LED lighting and environmental control to allow year-round propagation and production of plants indoors, inside stackable levels. Vertical farming is nearly ten times more efficient than traditional agriculture and is more productive, takes up less land and uses dramatically less water.   “There are a number of important macro forces which position TruLeaf for success in the coming years,” said Mr. Durland. “Food scarcity, water challenges, the increasing demand for pesticide-free foods, and the environmental impact of large-scale farming, all mean that new ways of growing and distributing foods will be key for feeding the world. We want TruLeaf to be a company that achieves a triple-bottom line by creating sustainable – and ultimately carbon neutral – food production, delivering nutrient-rich plants to communities that may not otherwise have access to them, and achieving a strong return for investors and stakeholders. We want to grow the best products for consumers in Canada.”   A native Nova Scotian and Saint Mary’s University graduate, Mr. Durland recently retired from his executive post at Scotiabank to focus his efforts on fostering growth and investment in innovative companies across the country. Recently, he provided important funding for Saint Mary’s University’s Masters of Technology, Entrepreneurship & Innovation program, which supports an innovation competition held in Halifax each year. Mr. Durland’s interest and passion for TruLeaf was spawned out of his desire to invest in the local Nova Scotia economy.   Founded in 2011, and located in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, TruLeaf has developed an indoor farming system that grows fresh plants for food and medicines anywhere in the world, regardless of environment, 365 days a year. The system integrates growing technologies in a controlled environment to grow high quality, predictable yield, and clean plants with innovative and efficient technologies.   Media Contact: Holly Thornton Account Manager, PUBLIC Inc. [email protected] P: 647 642 6846]]>