In April of 2022, we announced Canobi would be working with AgriTech North in the pursuit of their goal to solve food insecurity in Canada’s rural North. AgriTech North’s social mission is to “reduce fresh produce costs in Far North Indigenous communities by 25% and increase availability in communities year-round.” This aligns perfectly with Canobi’s aim of growing food locally to help build communities, strengthen economic ties, and reduce vulnerabilities in food supply chains.
AgriTech North, headed by CEO Benjamin Feagin Jr., opened its first growing facility in Dryden, Ontario, in the spring of 2022. This was the first indoor farming operation to grow fresh produce at a wholesale scale, year-round in Northern Ontario. The aim is to produce up to 450 kilograms of leafy greens, culinary herbs, and small fruiting crops every week. The need for such farms is dire, as an increasing number of rural and remote communities in Canada’s North struggle with food security. As AgriTech North continues to validate the technology and viability of indoor growing at scale, they can expand into multiple facilities.
Canobi is pleased to be assisting in proving indoor, vertical growing is both feasible and economical. Our sensors, monitoring, automation, and nutrient dosing systems help AgriTech North make the most of all their inputs. By using 90% less water than conventional agriculture, 60% fewer nutrients than organic farms, as well as eliminating the need for pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, Canobi is helping AgriTech North live up to their slogan, ‘Better than Organic’.
AgriTech North has gained attention from a variety of sources. Greg Rickford, local MPP and chair of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) visited the Dryden facility before it opened. In an interview with TBT News, the local MPP said:
AgriTech and our support for them is focused squarely on providing certainty around food supply, food security, and working in full partnership with the Indigenous communities up North. That makes perfect sense, given our vast region, and we think this [facility] is just the beginning.Greg Rickford, local MPP
Since opening, AgriTech North has continued to impress. In 2022, they won Innovative Project of the Year at the 13th Annual RBC Innovation Awards and the Bioenterprise Innovation Award in the Northern Ontario Innovation Challenge. Recently, they were given the Excellence in Agriculture Award in the Northern Business category at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 2023.
Canobi is proud to be working with AgriTech North, a company whose values align so closely with our own. The growing operations AgriTech North runs now and will open in the future embody Canobi’s vision for the future. We believe that similar local indoor farms are the key to solving food insecurity, not only in Canada’s North, but around the world.