Lufa Farms is certified by Ecocert for the handling of organic produce and respecting that certification sometimes means that we need to use additional packagaing. Items that are certified organic cannot, under Ecocert guidelines, be in direct contact with items that are not certified, such as Lufa Farms produce.
As much as possible, we avoid the use of plastic and use compostable bags. For items where humidity is not a concern, we use paper. But in order to keep your veggies fresh and reduce waste, plastic is sometimes the best option. Here’s a brief explanation from an article entitled “Why Shrink-Wrapping A Cucumber Is Actually Good For The Environment”:
As authors Laurel Miller and Stephen Aldridge explain, an unwrapped cucumber will lose 3.5% of its weight after just three days of sitting out. Shrink-wrapping slows evaporation, keeping the cucumber fresh longer: A wrapped cucumber loses a mere 1.5% of its weight over two weeks.
It is very difficult to provide a complete answer to this type of question, since there isn’t been very much research comparing programs like Lufa Farms to standard grocery shopping. That said, unless you walk to your supermarket and buy only locally-grown, unpackaged produce, your shopping trip likely won’t have a lower environmental impact than subscribing to a Lufa Farms basket.
We’re committed to supporting sustainable agriculture, so 99% of the farms we partner with are certified organic or Couleur Locale. The other 1% are vetted to make sure that they are not using pesticides or any other unsustainable practices. You can see which products are organic by clicking on them in the Marketplace. While our own produce isn’t certified organic, we practice sustainable cultivation and grow without using synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.
When we decided to build an urban rooftop greenhouse, we had to weigh the pros and cons of hydroponic agriculture, which is not eligible for organic certification in Canada. To minimize our impact on municipal water systems and to limit nutrient runoff, we decided that hydroponics would be the best option.
Sustainable cultivation is one of our core values, so we grow using no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides; capturing rainwater and recirculating 100% of irrigation water; using half the energy to heat as a greenhouse on the ground; compositing green waste; and delivering produce to subscribers on the same day it’s harvested.
You can learn all about how we grow sustainably in the city by visiting our About the Farm page.