Lufa Farms – Food Case Study


Lufa Farms, Quebec Canada

Year: 2010                                                                        Area: 0.73 acre

Type of System: Hydroponics                                     Production: 70 metric tons of food every year

Climate: Regulated                                                        Crops: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, herbs,                                                                                                                   lettuces, bok choy, kolrabi, chards

Growing Season: All round the Year                          Scale: City of Montreal

Cost of Implementation: $1.2 to 2 million 





Background of Case Study:

Lufa Farms has two roof top greenhouses located in Canada, Ahunstic and Laval. Ahunstic is the “World’s First Rooftop Greenhouse” with an area of 32000 sq ft located over two stories of commercial building. The food grown with hydroponic system in the greenhouses is distributed to the city dwellers of Montreal at various locations which can be then picked up by the customers at a delivery stop closest to them. This method of marketing helps eliminate the need of transportation and provides freshly grown food within 12 hours of harvest to the city dwellers.

System Description and Dimensions:

Lufa Farms uses a Hydroponic System for urban agriculture in a pressurized and regulated environment which helps harvesting produce all year round irrespective of climatic conditions.

This is the kind of hydroponic system most people think of when they think about hydroponics. N.F.T. systems have a constant flow of nutrient solution so no timer required for the submersible pump. The nutrient solution is pumped into the growing tray (usually a tube) and flows over the roots of the plants, and then drains back into the reservoir.

There is usually no growing medium used other than air, which saves the expense of replacing the growing medium after every crop. Normally the plant is supported in a small plastic basket with the roots dangling into the nutrient solution.

N.F.T. systems are very susceptible to power outages and pump failures. The roots dry out very rapidly when the flow of nutrient solution is interrupted.


Nutrient Film Technique
A in a simple NFT hydroponic system the nutrient is stored in a tank and then pumped along narrow tube by a submerged flow pump.

B the system is sized to deliver typically 2-3 litres per minute of nutrient 24 hours per day into the growing channel.

C this creates a thin film of nutrient along the bottom of the angled grow channel which can then be absorbed by the plant roots.

D excess nutrient is then collected and returned to the nutrient tank

Stake Holders: 

Possible Implications:
Urban roof farming will help address the issue of food desert which is prominent across the US.The case study shows a good use of how urban rooftop can be utilized.It understand the methods and systems needed to develop agriculture in an unused infrastructure.

Time Range and Cost of Implementation:

2009: Lufa Farms was founded by serial entrepreneur Mohamed Hage, who came up with the concept and brought together a founding team consisting of Lauren Rathmell to manage growing and plant science, Kurt Lynn to lend decades of marketing experience to the project, and Yahya Badran to supervise construction and engineering.

2010: Construction on our first rooftop greenhouse begins

2011: In April, the first harvest was collected.

2013: Finished construction on second rooftop greenhouse and launched online Marketplace.

The capital costs to get started are higher for rooftop farms — from $1.2 million to $2 million to find a building and set up a greenhouse — but the operating costs are much lower. That is because rooftop farms require less labor, land, water, fertilizer and heavy equipment and because they all but eliminate shipping costs by selling to the local market. The result, proponents say, is a fresher, tastier, longer-lasting, more nutritious product.

Plan and Arrangement: The Lufa farm sits on top of a two story commercial building and sizes 157 ft by 204 ft. Internally the farm is divided into seven bays and each bay has 5 rows of hydroponic systems in place so there are about 35 rows of hydroponic system which span 204 ft. 80% of the structure is used for farming and about 20% is used for logistics.


Link to Presentation: Food Systems Presentation_Abby-Abhishek


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