At the root of Great Lakes Greenhouses’ pursuit of innovation to improve traditional growing practices is a desire to develop sustainable farming methods to ensure safe, high-quality food sources for future generations.

Our greenhouse are run entirely off the grid as 100% of the electricity the farm uses is produced in-house via an efficient cogeneration system run on natural gas. The system produces over 5.5 megawatts of energy, powering our cutting-edge growing process using LED technology and innovative techniques.

As reducing our carbon footprint continues to be a primary focus for us, we have incorporated processes to recover all the heat from our modern boilers and use it to heat portions of our greenhouses. Using recycled and purified water throughout our farm further supports our goals to be as efficient as possible.

Our commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop there; our farm employs holistic growing practices where we incorporate nutrients from animal compost and vegetable sources into the soil to nurture future harvests. We have also introduced bee colonies into our greenhouses to achieve natural pollination while at the same time expanding our beneficial insect production. By growing and raising our own beneficial insects on-site, we can use them extensively throughout the greenhouses to help control pests naturally, reducing disease and pesticide use.

Boiler Room in Greenhouse
Cucumbers in Early Growing Stage
Pest Control in Greenhouse

Food Safety

Great Lakes Greenhouses is fully committed to developing, growing, packing, and distributing safe food products in a highly hygienic environment. To achieve the standard, Great Lakes Greenhouses ensures that their management and all personnel are fully dedicated to developing, implementing, and continually improving their Food Safety Management System based on local and international standards and codes of practice. From propagation to shipment, we control every aspect of our products which carry the PrimusGFS certified food safety designation.

Pest Management

Our philosophy on combating disease and pests is using safe, preventative measures before it happens, which starts with certified seeds selected to grow in our on-site plant raising nursery. The nursery is washed twice each day to maintain a sanitary environment. Various environmentally safe measures are then continuously implemented to combat pests instead of using pesticides such as the use of parasitic wasps and other beneficial insects to control aphids and pests throughout the greenhouse.

Bee Pollination Video 1 | Bee Pollination Video 2

Storage & Shipping

Temperature and humidity-controlled packing facilities and coolers ensure that our produce remains fresh and crisp. Once harvested, the produce is immediately brought to the pack house where they are graded and packaged while starting the cool-down process. Once chilled to the ideal temperature, they are loaded onto pre-cooled, refrigerated trucks where the storage temperature is maintained by an on-board cooling unit and monitored electronically for the duration of the trip. Each truck is then inspected prior to loading to ensure it meets the food safety standards of cleanliness; any trucks that fail this inspection are refused.

Water Conservation

Our in-house plant raising nursery uses the most up-to-date flood floor technology. This unique adaptation ensures the lowest water use in the industry, while still providing the optimal water requirements for our seedlings. We have also implemented ultraviolet sterilization technology when higher levels of water sanitation are required in our nursery. This ensures a disease-free water source. All excess nutrient feed solution used in our growing process is also collected through an intricate leach collection system. It is then filtered, heat pasteurized, cooled, enriched with oxygen, and reintroduced into the irrigation system with minimal loss of water. Greenhouse growing technology requires up to ten times less water than traditional field farming.

Energy Conservation

In 2014, we began using a triple poly roof system, resulting in a 15% energy reduction, and in 2015 we began the installation of a cogeneration power plant. This investment yielded a significant reduction in provincial grid electricity usage while providing a year-round, low-grade heat source. Our latest conservation efforts have utilized triple poly, insulated gutter systems, and thermal energy screens, allowing us to grow our produce year-round to satisfy customer demands while also meeting carbon footprint reduction goals.