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Ôplant Urban Farms

HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE MICROGREENS

by / Tuesday, 02 July 2019 / Published in FANZINE

Guillaume Salvas

NAME

Guillaume Salvas, Founder and CEO

 

PRODUCTS

An original selection of high-quality microgreens produced locally using an eco-friendly method.

A microgreen, which corresponds to a plant’s first stage of growth, contains a concentration of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that make it the ultimate health food. Thanks to their pronounced taste and unusual appearance, microgreens can also be used as a flavour enhancer or to garnish a dish. Whether it’s for their nutritional or culinary virtues, microgreens are tiny gourmet marvels to be discovered!

A brief history of microgreens

1. First, the seeds: each microgreen starts with a seed
2. Then, the sprouts: the roots appear, followed by the cotyledons, which are the leaves produced from the seed’s reserves
3. Finally, the microgreens: the first real leaves, produced through photosynthesis, appear after 10 to 25 days, depending on the variety

 

COMPANY

Ôplant Urban Farms is a Montreal company that has dreamed up and designed a unique vertical indoor farm. Located in the heart of the city, this farm/laboratory makes it possible to grow crops in an urban area 12 months a year, without pesticides or genetically modified seeds.

We do highly technology-based and highly productive farming that lends itself well to urban agriculture because we work vertically,” Guillaume says.

Here’s how the system works:

A vertical farming system on artificially lit shelves provides the yield of a 1,000 square-foot greenhouse on an area of 75 square feet. The water used to irrigate the plants is filtered and circulates continuously throughout the system, reducing water consumption compared to conventional farming. A computer system automatically controls temperature, lighting and the supply of water and nutrient to the plants. This innovative production method helps meet consumers’ highest expectations in terms of quality, food safety and environmental responsibility.

But Ôplant Urban Farms doesn’t intend to stop there. “We want to see our urban farm concept evolve. Eventually, there would be other types of agricultural production that we could integrate, chief among them mushrooms and edible insects. Ultimately, we aspire to franchise our concept, which includes not only the production technology, but also our marketing tools.” This is because Guillaume’s dream is not only to sell equipment. He wants to develop a network of urban farms in the form of franchises. The concept is innovative, and some improvements could eventually be patented. “Our facilities are a genuine R&D site. We’re constantly improving our technology.”

 

TRAINING

Guillaume Salvas, founder of Ôplant Urban Farms, graduated from McGill University with a degree in agricultural economics. A specialist in managing and financing agribusiness, he first worked with farming businesses before applying his expertise to create his “laboratory farm.” Since 2015, he has been developing his business model, which is aimed at building a network of local indoor farms, of which his business would act as a parent company by providing agricultural inputs, production equipment, marketing tools, remote technical support, etc.

 

INITIAL SPARK

“I never thought I’d start a business. But fate took me there! After being laid off during a restructuring at my previous employer, I started looking for work and gradually realized I needed to find a job that would have a positive social impact. My work definitely had to make sense. I also needed freedom. That’s how Ôplant Urban Farms was born.

 

BIGGEST CHALLENGES

Finding a balance between personal and professional life. When you start a business, you work like crazy, and it’s sometimes hard – but so important – to stay disciplined. Also, it’s not losing touch with the ground, even when you grow. You must always be concerned about the quality of the product and the customer service, and never rest on your laurels.

 

NICEST SURPRISES

It was the day I saw myself on bilboards in the métro. The organization where I had received training in starting a business had decided to use my company – and photo (!) – to advertise its program. Chefs who take the métro kept texting me my picture, laughing!

I must also say that seeing chefs proudly wear their ÔPlant t-shirts when I pay them a surprise visit, it really encourages me.

 

INSPIRATION

Peter Simons, CEO of Simons, is a great inspiration to me. He considers employees to be his main asset and makes sure his company is a good corporate citizen.

 

ASPIRATIONS

“In terms of mission, my aspiration is to democratize indoor farming in urban areas, to contribute to establishing a network of socially responsible vertical farms aimed at helping urban communities here and elsewhere achieve food autonomy.

But my greatest pride is providing work for my team, creating a pleasant working environment where they can thrive. Creating wealth and sharing it is what fulfills me most.

 

HIGHLIGHT

Definitely the day I found out my company was a case study in a business start-up training program.

 

FAVOURITE DISH

The “Breakfast Poutine” ! I love it so much that I can’t go to LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES too often, or I’d eat it all the time!!!

 

ENFANT TERRIBLE SINCE NOVEMBER 2018

Website: oplant.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/oplantfarms

Instagram: instagram.com/oplantfarms

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