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Couchesne Larose collaborates on vertical farming initiative

PRESS RELEASE: Saint Pacôme, Quebec, October 29, 2021—Ocean Vert, a Quebec joint venture formed by Courchesne Larose BB #:115999 and INNO 3B, is proud to announce that it has received $6.8 million in financial assistance from the provincial government to accelerate the development of its vertical farm project. Based on a 100% Quebec green technology, this innovative project will contribute to increasing Quebec’s food autonomy by producing and distributing, on a large scale, local and responsible fruits and vegetables year round in both urban and rural markets.

The financial support includes a $4.7 million loan from the Ministry of Economy and Innovation through Investissement Québec, a $600,000 financial contribution from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and a $1.5 million loan guarantee from La Financière agricole du Québec. The announcement was made today in Saint Pacôme in the presence of Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Côte du Sud MNA Marie Eve Proulx. The financial support will be used to implement two vertical farms for the cultivation of leafy vegetables, a project valued at more than $19 million.

“We are proud to be contributing to Quebec’s food autonomy,” said Francis Routhier, president of Ocean Vert. “The development of green farms in Quebec is a real social project that we feel strongly about and that meets the expectations of consumers who are placing more and more importance on local products, traceability, freshness and the price of the food they buy. We welcome the financial support and applaud the government’s vision to increase the development of green technologies in agriculture and stimulate the regional economy.”

“After more than 100 years, innovation and sustainable development are still at the heart of our values and decisions,” said Denis Pageau, Executi ve Vice President, Special Projects, of Courchesne Larose, which is certified ECORESPONSIBLE, Level 2 Performance by Ecocert Canada.

“The vertical farm project is part of our desire to improve access to fruits and vegetables while respecting nature. It is in addition to innovative initiatives such as LOOP, a circular economy project that allows us to reduce waste and give value back to rejected fruits and vegetables by transforming them into awesome products. The patented technology we have developed responds to current environmental issues,” said Martin Brault, President of INNO 3B. “On a collective level, we are very proud that our technology will allow us to leverage our two greatest resources in Quebec, namely clean energy and water, and make it a sustainable solution to climate issues.”

A technology that stands out
Ocean Vert’s vertical farms use a unique technology in the field of agriculture developed by INNO 3B. Its modular system offers numerous vertical and horizontal expansion possibilities for maximum space optimization. Automated crop handling substantially reduces equipment and labour requirements. A water cooled LED lighting system provides crop s with light to facilitate photosynthesis and reduces the space between shelves by up to three times compared to conventional methods.

For the first production centre located in Saint Pacôme, the technology will allow a significant reduction of CO2 emissions of about 60T per year and water consumption savings of up to 95% compared to field cultivation.

Unmatched quality

The INNO 3B technology used by Ocean Vert allows the production of fruits and vegetables of consistent and predictable quality thanks to the controlled environment. The products can go from farm to shelf in a matter of days or even hours. They also have a longer shelf life once packaged and are grown without pesticides.

Products on the shelf in the coming months

Ocean Vert products will be marketed under the MIDI brand in Quebec. The first products available will be leafy greens: a spring mix baby spinach and baby arugula. The products will gradually be added to the shelves over the next few months. The production should reach 650 tons of leafy vegetables annually within a few years.

About Ocean Vert

Founded in 2021, Ocean Vert is one of the first vertical farming companies in Quebec. It combines the respective and complementary strengths of Courchesne Larose and INNO 3B, two Quebec companies focused on innovation and sustainable development. This strategic partnership leverages Courchesne Larose’s vast expertise in fruit and vegetable distribution and INNO 3B’s knowledge of plant production in closed and controlled environments. Eventually, the company hopes to establish other production sites outside the boundaries of Quebec.

About Courchesne Larose
A major player in the international fruit and vegetable industry for over 100 years, Courchesne Larose Ltd. is a member of the Courchesne Larose Group, which employs over 2,500 people. Its primary mission is to provide its suppliers with the largest and best distribution network of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada, allowing its customers to benefit from diversified and quality products year round. Its suppliers come from all over the world and its customers are located throughout Canada and on the American East Coast. Nearly 25% of the volume marketed by the company comes from Quebec producers.

About INNO 3B
INNO 3B is a young technology company specialized in the development of vertical farming technology. INNO 3B designs vertical farming solutions that directly address environmental issues such as food security, GHG reduction, as well as the economic constraints typical of vertical farms by addressing space and labor issues and scaling up.