Our team of young urban farmers are passionate about vertical farming and global food security. We are devoted to transforming agriculture into a sustainable, responsible and local industry.
In August 2016, Stephen Moss received a phone call from Georges Aczam. George wanted to discuss a new concept called Vertical Farming. Stephen was intrigued. The idea quickly took root.
For the next fourteen months, Georges and Stephen researched vertical farming, including a trip to New York to have lunch with the "father" of vertical farming, Professor Dickson Despommier.
By the end of October 2017, they were ready to move forward.
In November 2017, Georges and Stephen set up their "Proof of Concept" farm in the basement of a Montreal duplex. The goal was to build a working model of a vertical farm capable of producing 24 heads of leaf lettuce per day, in the smallest growing space possible. That space turned out to be 96 square feet. The result exceeded their expectations. From this basement farm, George and Stephen began supplying PA Supermarket with leaf lettuce.
Within a few weeks, PA placed a standing order with George and Stephen for all the lettuce they could produce. This lettuce sold out within hours of delivery, and when it wasn't available, PA's customers started asking for it.
George and Stephen knew that it was time to "grow" this farm.
In November 2018, George and Stephen moved into an 8400 square foot warehouse and began building the first AquaVerti vertical farm. There was no vertical farm roadmap to follow, they had to create their own. They designed all the elements themselves from the ground up.
As the farm took shape, the organizational systems were developed: the ebb and flow of planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, and growing adult plants in uniquely designed grow beds. The learning curve was essentially vertical.
The crucial element of any business are the employees. George and Stephen began the process of creating their team. Brilliant. Talented. Motivated. They chose carefully, finding the perfect position for each individual. Promoting from within. Gerald. Chris. George. Amitoz. Sophie. Nic. The team continues to grow.
Water systems, air systems, robotics: everything began to take shape. The AquaVerti operating system, the critical core of the AquaVerti vertical farm, was implemented, then developed, then developed again until every element of the farm was linked to this beating heart. It is now possible to project and refine individual processes to increase efficiency.
Aquverti's R&D department was created. The product list was expanded. And most importantly, the quality of the products continued to exceed expectations.
Georges and Stephen are committed to making AquaVerti Farms part of the solution to climate change.
As of September 2020, AquaVerti has eliminated 99.99% of its greenhouse gas emissions, making it the lowest GHG emitting farm in North America. AquaVerti crops are grown without fungicides, herbicides or pesticides. The farm uses 94% less water than traditional farms. Their packaging is made from recycled water bottles.
The AquaVerti operating system has been refined to include full traceability. In December 2020, Aquaverti developed its first in-house proprietary robot, "The Rover." In 2020, AquaVerti reached full production capacity.
AquaVerti Farms is now ready to take the next step.
Georges and Stephen invited the management of IGA and Metro to see their farm and taste the products. The response from these giants was overwhelmingly positive.
Overnight, AquaVerti rose to the top of the Quebec fruit and vegetable market. Production was accelerated, new staff trained, delivery logistics organized. In April, AquaVerti began delivering to Metro warehouses, making AquaVerti products available throughout the province of Quebec.
By August 2021, AquaVerti had harvested over one million plants.
But a new problem soon arose. The farm was at its production limit. AquaVerti Farms was running out of space. Once again it was time to expand the farm.
In September 2021, AquaVerti secured funding to expand its facility. Construction began in November and was substantially complete by the summer of 2022. The farm grew from 8,400 square feet to 30,000 square feet, more than tripling its production.
In 2022, Aquaverti celebrated its 100th delivery to Metro. The farm also began serving Provigo in the Montreal area and Sobeys/IGA throughout the province of Quebec.
In 2022, the first of our automation equipment arrived at the farm, including our second proprietary robot developed in-house, "The Pusher".
In the spring of 2022, Aquaverti added Boston lettuce to its growing inventory of products.
In April 2022, Aquaverti was pleased to host its first school visit, in hopes of inspiring future generations of Montrealers to choose locally grown produce, and to have the peace of mind of knowing where and how their produce is grown.
In July 2022 AquaVerti Farms products became available in over 200 stores across Quebec and northern New Brunswick.
2022 ended with Aquaverti Farms again at maximum capacity. And still our clients keep asking for more products.
Another expansion is on the horizon.
The future of agriculture is indeed growing in Montreal.
All of this was achieved in less than 6,000 square feet of production space, in just 6 months of production. This saved over 30,000,000 liters of water.
In November 2021, AquaVerti began expanding the renovation to triple the size of their farm, allowing for both greater volume and product variety. This expansion is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.
It will triple their production capacity. A step towards increasing local and sustainable food security.
Our goal is to eradicate the trade-offs between quality and quantity, sustainability and mass production, and healthy and delicious food.
George left the world of finance for high-tech agriculture, saying, "I want to make a positive impact on the planet". George enjoys working with motivated people and strongly believes in buying local and increasing our food security.
Stephen's passion has always been growing plants. He is a published author, problem solver and AquaVerti's plant whisperer.
George began farming at a young age, spending summers in the fields alongside his grandfather. A strong believer in sustainable vertical farming, George oversees Aquaverti at both the macro and micro levels. Whether it's planting, grow-out or cold storage inventory, George is the person we rely on.
Chris integrates data, technology and logic into each of AquaVerti's many processes. He reads data like the rest of us read a mystery novel: looking for the solution. He is the ultimate team player, helping his operational teams in every way possible. Most importantly, Chris is a father, dedicated to a green world and a better future for his son.
Amitoz focuses on optimization and efficiency, two necessary ingredients in the harvesting/packaging department. He manages this critical area of the farm like a maestro conducts an orchestra, making sure no one misses a beat, setting the bar high for the rest of us!
With a background in pastry and culinary arts, Sophie brings an inventive and artistic component to everything she does. Whether it's product branding, trade shows or social media, Sophie is always breaking barriers and thinking outside the box. She is a true gem of the Aquaverti team!
Nic hunts for fossils, breeds carnivorous plants and travels to unusual inhabitants. He is our master producer, R&D manager and in-house jack-of-all-trades. Nic is definitely our go-to guy for anything that goes bump in the night.
Fares is Aquaverti's link to our customers. He knows them all, the store managers, the department managers, the head office staff. He also knows our products, having worked his way through most of the farm's departments before moving on to sales. It is this combination of skills that makes him such a success.
Raffi heads up Aquaverti's planting and nutrient departments, and in both departments, he makes the difficult simple. He is also an accomplished artist, working both digitally and on canvas. A true Renaissance man with a variety of passions.
Karim is the quiet force on which every business depends, giving every task his full concentration and effort. He is a firm and dedicated hand that is much appreciated.
Sarkis has experience in all things mechanical. We just point out a problem, and Sarkis responds with the solution. He is a necessary ingredient in a high-tech farm!
Gerald is Aquaverti's first employee, and we don't know what we'll do without him! He is our procurement officer and manages the transplant department, a crucial step in the growth process. Gerald is also a font of unusual information: music, movies, rare anecdotes, the list is endless. But most of all, Gerald is a great guy.
François joined Aquaverti after successfully working on the expansion of a Quebec-based multinational. He is our numbers guy, able to dive deep into the demands of growth and profitability. However, his interests go beyond numbers. François enjoys reading, playing guitar and listening to classic rock.
We are passionate about providing fresh, locally grown produce to our community. Our mission is to grow healthy, affordable produce that is accessible to all. Follow us on Instagram to keep up with our latest projects!