Avril Laval: microgreens grown on site, year-round
Avril Laval is the first retailer to use CultiGo, a revolutionary and environmentally friendly vertical farming platform that can grow a variety of organic microgreens on-site all year round.
100% Quebec technology
The CultiGo automated vertical farming platform was developed by Inno-3B. Now established in Saint-Pacôme for four years, this company – composed of engineers, agronomists, programmers and qualified managers – specializes in the production of systems and equipment for horticultural production in closed environments. President Martin Brault explains that the idea behind the CultiGo technology comes from the Plan Nord project, where Inno-3B was asked to think about food supply systems for northern villages that have all their fresh food shipped by plane, which is not very eco-friendly!
After several years of testing and optimization, CultiGo was born, a platform inspired by vertical storage equipment and consisting of towers up to 30 feet tall. These are composed of multiple superimposed trays that allow the production of greens, microgreens and small fruits. The microgreens production, monitored remotely in real time by the Inno-3B team, takes place over a period of one to three weeks depending on the varieties grown. The seeds are first sown on potting soil and spend a few days in the dark to start germinating. Once the young shoots are well established, they are exposed to LED light and continue to grow until harvest time.
The benefits of this farming method
Firstly, the CultiGo platform is eco-friendly in many ways. It completely eliminates the use of pesticides since pathogens – fungi, insects, etc. – are absent from the area. It can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions since it uses renewable energy and it shortens transportation time (since it is grown on site). It is a precise and efficient technology, with minimal need for fertilizer compared to traditional farming.
Furthermore, the production system of the CultiGo platform is entirely programmed according to the cultivated microgreens species, which allows for the production of high quality micro greens with exceptional taste. Also, growing microgreens directly in store allows incomparable freshness!
A total of ten individual varieties and five microgreens mixes certified organic by Ecocert Canada are available in Avril Laval’s branch, and will eventually distributed in Avril’s seven other branches across Quebec.