Posted on December 22, 2021
Berytech’s long-time team member, Jihane Chahla, recently moved to Canada and joined the team of Lufa Farms, a revolutionizing urban farming project in Montreal co-founded by Mohamed el Hage. Jihane shares with us the evolution of Lufa Farms and how she is working to create jobs in Montreal for Lebanon-based talents with this company whose vision is a city of rooftop farms.
In 2018, when our team visited Montreal, they met with Mohamad and discovered his project: the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse that had back than 13,000 m2 of growing space feeding more than 10,000 families every week, year-round. Read about their visit here.
Lufa Farms continued to grow and in 2019, they outgrew their Ahuntsic location and moved their distribution center and main office to the Saint-Laurent neighborhood of Montreal. Once settled, they completely reinvented their packing system for better, faster, and fresher deliveries. In September, construction began on their fourth and largest rooftop greenhouse at this location.
In the spring of 2020, they finished construction of the 163,800 square foot greenhouse, their most efficient in terms of energy and water consumption. It reached full production in August with 11 tomato and 3 eggplant varieties, effectively doubling their production capacity going from feeding 1% to 2% of Montreal families.
With each new greenhouse, the team holds itself to an ever higher standard of sustainability and technical ingenuity growing dozens of vegetables, greens, and herbs hydroponically. All of their greenhouses run following their five principles of responsible agriculture: using no new land, recirculating water, conserving energy, reducing waste, and using biocontrols instead of synthetic pesticides. They also partner with local farmers and food makers to provide their customers with hundreds of products through their online Marketplace. Every week, they assemble 20,000 customized baskets filled with fresh, local, responsible food and deliver them to their network of pick-up points across Quebec, or straight to customers’ doors.
I joined the Lufa Farms team with the mission to establish a new telesales department. To keep on changing the way people eat, Lufa needs dedicated and passionate sales representatives to reach out to our future customers and explain what we do, and how to become a Lufavore.
With the fact that many outreach activities are going online mainly, via emails or social media posts, we miss talking to people. This is why we decided to call them, make some live conversations, listen to them, assess their hesitations and answer their questions. For this project, we had the idea of creating job opportunities in Lebanon by recruiting bi-lingual Lebanese talent, with full confidence in their commitment and ability to succeed.
Lebanese who are passionate about sustainability and creating a better food system can check the job requirements and apply here. As sales agents, they will be calling potential Lufavores from Lebanon to Canada, answering their questions, and helping them complete their subscription.
If this pilot succeeds, we’re willing to recruit software developers in Lebanon, increasing by this the job opportunities we provide.
Jihane Chahla, Lufa Farms
With a background in agricultural engineering and food safety, Jihane has more than 15 years of experience between food safety, quality assurance and control, fundraising, and capacity building in F&B related projects.
She joined Berytech in 2018 as the QOOT Cluster Manager in charge of creating and initiating the cluster, putting in place the needed structures, policies, and processes in order to optimize communication and create synergies between Lebanese enterprises, rising SMEs, multinational companies, knowledge providers, support institutions, investment entities, and the broader agri-food ecosystem in Lebanon.
Before joining Berytech, Jihane was a Quality Assurance Manager and a Project Manager at Souk El Tayeb – one of Lebanon’s prominent social enterprises.
Jihane is a graduate of the Lebanese University with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural engineering and a Master of Science in Animal Production. She is passionate about activities in nature including hiking, rafting, and camping as well as being a devoted mum of three.