Our mission is to bring change to businesses and institutions by transforming the cities’ unused or under-utilized spaces into urban farms. These initiatives contribute to the greening of spaces, create local, ecological and resilient food systems, help support local communities and encourage biodiversity in urban areas.
Tell us about yourself?
By the end of his environmental and agricultural science studies at McGill University, Alexandre Ferrari-Roy felt that there was a disconnect between what we were consuming and how we were growing our food. He decided to deploy a turnkey urban agriculture service that allows companies to easily set up urban farming projects internally.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Stay focussed. In business, there will always be a lot of different opportunities, but staying focussed helps you further faster!
What problem does your business solve?
A turnkey urban farming service is a great way for an organization to increase employee satisfaction by catering to human health and wellness and engaging with people with a unique source of connection.
This initiative contributes to the greening of spaces, creates local, ecological and resilient food systems, helps support local communities and encourages biodiversity in urban areas. It’s a strong, sustainable project as it raises awareness about environmental issues, reduces heat islands and can also help score points for certain sustainability certifications.
A MicroHabitat urban farm creates a rich, nurturing, life-giving ecosystem allowing companies to deploy projects that support their employees and various food banks thanks to the Urban Solidarity Farms donation program created by MicroHabitat to supply food banks with harvests.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Planting greenery and growing fresh local and ecological produce in unused urban spaces to allow city dwellers to reclaim their environment is the future of a healthy and resilient city.
MicroHabitat’s mission is part of a sustainable action that allows the creation of healthy, nourishing environments for local inhabitants and pollinators.
What is your magic sauce?
The founders of MicroHabitat challenged the status quo in urban agriculture by developing a unique business model that has now established over 100 urban farms across North America. MicroHabitat offers a complete turnkey urban agriculture service by establishing urban farms with an innovative and lightweight method of production. A team of experts visits the production zone every week to perform maintenance and harvesting as the goal of the project is to grow for and with the businesses; 100% of the food produced belongs to the organization.
MicroHabitat’s vegetable farms differ from green roofs and thus avoid many of the constraints of this type of installation since their geotextile technology reduces the impact on the structure, the cost, simplifies the installation and allows a good depth of soil for growing fresh and organic vegetables.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Thanks to our 100% retention rate with our existing clients, our North American expansion will be completed within 5 years, the next step is to take over Europe and Asia and ultimately make our cities resilient. Transforming urban spaces into ecological urban farms is key to flourishing biodiversity, reducing the heat islands and many other benefits.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Our biggest challenge so far has been to navigate the enterprise through the coronavirus pandemic. During this time there were many uncertainties, and it was very hard to envision growing a company during this time. Where so many constraints were put into place by the government to limit the spread of the virus.
At this time, we were in a crucial business growth stage, and the pandemic hit us at full force at the worst time in our company’s history. We managed to surpass the pandemic thanks to our aggressive expansion to Toronto. Although the pandemic had slowed down most of the economy, opening a new market was a way for us to minimize and offset risks, and at the same time, we managed to prove our business model in a new market that was currently unexplored and unexploited. Instead of bracing ourselves for a slowdown, we invested all our energy into developing a new market, and that, in turn, led to our growth throughout the Canadian and USA market.
How can people get involved?
Looking to cultivate change and play your part in supporting sustainability through urban farming? Visit our website for more information www.microhabitat.ca.