Mohamed Hage: The World’s First Rooftop Farm!
Go up on the roof of this industrial building in the northeast of Montreal at 3:00 in the morning, and you’ll find farm labourers picking crops — heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, basil, bok choy, lettuce, and more than a dozen micro-greens. This is Lufa Farms, the brain-child of a young Lebanese-Canadian named Mohamed Hage. Lufa ships about 2,500 baskets of produce weekly, feeding about 5,000 residents of the city. In addition to Lufa’s own chemical-free produce, the farm also offers a variety of other local food such as fresh bread, cheese and eggs from 40 other farms and food artisans in the region.
Mohamed Hage, a self-described “technology geek,” is reinventing food production. His inspiration came from his childhood village in Lebanon, where everyone farmed without pesticides – including his grandmother, who put nine of her kids through university by farming organically. Today, Hage says that farming in his village has been transformed into an industry, where monocultures have replaced mixed farming, and pesticides have replaced traditional techniques of pest management. Lebanese farmers now use imported labour, sell their produce to food terminals and struggle to make a living.
Convinced that the old system was better, Hage has re-invented traditional agriculture for an urban, technological society. His first rooftop greenhouse, totalling 32,000 square feet, was constructed in 2011 near Montreal’s Marché Centrale. His farms – there are two now in Montreal, with a third planned for Boston — require no new land, use re-circulated rainwater and consume much less energy than standard modern farms.Their microclimates can be managed from a remote location using sophisticated computer technology that adjusts temperature, humidity and water needs for each group of plants.
Join us as this brilliant young entrepreneur explains how he and his colleagues did it, and how they intend to expand this new system of food production all over the world. Our in-depth 63-minute interview with Mo Hage is up on The Green Interview site now.