Freshbay Canada

This interview details Freshbay, an indoor farming company based in Canada. The interview is with Vic Reddy, CEO of Freshbay.

Source: Freshbay

What is the origin story of Freshbay?

Freshbay is the product of my pivot from the cannabis industry to sustainable food production. I saw the writing on the wall for the cannabis industry in Canada, shortly after legalization. I could see the mess the regulators and major capital players were creating and so I hung up my proverbial gloves and decided to make a change in my career. I have always been an entrepreneur and immediately found direct parallels and the overlapping of required skills and knowledge between the cannabis industry and controlled environment agriculture(CEA). It looked like the next logical step, and with the logistical issues surrounding our food supply chain, that the pandemic exposed, further motivated me to create Freshbay and tackle these issues.

Can you tell us some more about using geothermal energy for vertical farming in a subarctic climate?

Geothermal energy is what allows us to differentiate ourselves from other CEA producers. Carbon taxes and the recent fight against food producers, has made operational expenses skyrocket. The primary operational expense which is making most CEA facilities economically unviable, is energy costs. In Canada we anticipate that within the next 10 years we will see a massive shuttering or consolidation of many CEA facilities/producers, because the energy costs(input costs) are simply too high. Geothermal energy not only allows us to access heat and electricity on demand 24/7, 365, it is an ACTUAL green alternative to fossil fuels. Wind and solar simply cannot power heavy industries(the ones that do most of the polluting), hydro electricity is limited by geographical availability, and nuclear has its own issues in North America(primarily the red tape surrounding building a plant). Geothermal energy is accessible worldwide and the infrastructure lasts upwards of 30 years. The economics of a CEA facility utilizing geothermal energy are incredible and allows me to take the position of not being interested in CEA unless there is a geothermal component. Without Geothermal energy CEA fails.

Source: Freshbay

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Freshbay in the future?

We have an amazing team, strategic partners, buyers/offtake partners. We have a great project and company in Freshbay. Moving forward, I think the biggest challenge will be keeping up with the demand that we are already seeing for our unique production model and unparalleled quality of our strawberries. Many municipalities, provinces, and even countries would like Freshbay to build facilities in their respective jurisdictions, however, our focus is Alberta and Western Canada first, and then we will go from there.

Source: Freshbay

What is unique about Freshbay compared to competitors?

Freshbay is unique in multiple ways: the skillset of everyone involved in the project. Whether it is the Freshbay team, the team at Affinor, or Novus Earth(our strategic partners), Our quality of the Affinoria Fragaria strawberries we will be producing(they were market tested in wholefoods Vancouver in Winter 2022 and were sold out with rave reviews and comments) are the best strawberries in the world. Unparalleled in aesthetics, fragrance, shelf life, and most importantly taste, we have the best of the best and will go toe to toe with many other strawberry producers to prove it. Again, incorporating geothermal energy into this project now makes the economics of this project unparalleled. Essentially we are unique because of the team, product/quality, and economics

Source: Freshbay

How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?

We have not begun production at our planned facility in Alberta. That being said, we have had great reviews from our market test last year and with the strategic partnership between Freshbay, Affinor Growers, and Novus Earth, we are receiving a lot of buzz around the project. The town of Hinton, Yellowhead County, and all three levels of our government are very excited. Additionally, our offtake partners are thrilled they will have the best strawberries in the world this time next year.

Source: Freshbay

What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined or started the company?

I have learned a lifetime of lessons, putting together an operation of this scale. I have the skill set to produce amazing plants and food, however, what I have struggled with is patience as I would like to see this project get off the ground yesterday, however, great things take time and there are a lot of moving parts to this project.

Source: Freshbay

How can people connect with you or learn more about  Freshbay?

www.freshbay.ca

Source: Freshbay

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