1676927799 SME Innovation The sun inside

SME Innovation | The sun inside

When Martin Quintal founded Futur Vert in 2009, he did not expect such a fruitful future.

Posted at 11:00 am


The company

Initially, the entrepreneur simply wanted to fill a shortage, which then came up with a project to build a berry greenhouse. When it came to buying lights, the technology enthusiast couldn’t find what he was looking for and had to fall back on systems from Asia. He then became an importer of LED lighting.

“That prompted me to push the development of this vertical farm technology,” explains Martin Quintal.

Growing cannabis has paid off for the fledgling company, which has honed its expertise in these greenhouses, vertical or horizontal. With a desire to increase our food sovereignty and grants to support projects, greenhouses for food production have been growing in Quebec for 10 years. Urban farms are proliferating. Futur Vert’s bespoke lighting designs are perfect for projects that don’t fit into traditional pigeonholes.


Traditional greenhouses are lit with sodium lamps, which give off a lot of heat. One might think that this is an advantage, but not at all as it is an uncontrolled heat. The evidence, explains Martin Quintal, is that greenhouses often have to open their windows to dissipate the heat.

Big advantage for LEDs: The projected light is more precise. This adjusts the light spectrum and increases light output, maximizing production space. LED systems are more powerful and last twenty years even in very humid environments.


By placing the light source very close to the plant, we can showcase the plantations. This plant densification allows crops to be grown in the city, in places where one would not imagine setting up a farm.

“The advantage of indoor greenhouses is that you can use them anywhere,” says Martin Quintal. In an underground car park or on the roof of an office building. »

For example, who would believe there is a mushroom farm…in the textile district, in Ahuntsic, in Montreal?

An example

But this is where Grenouille rouge has settled, in a business building that is more popular with fabric importers than with farmers.

“The Ahunstic-Chabanel district is really perfect for agricultural production,” nevertheless asserts Gabriel Roy-Doyon, one of the founders of Grenouille rouge, whose floors of microgreens and mushrooms are illuminated by Futur Vert.

SME Innovation The sun inside


Since this is an early development stage of the plant, 30 watts is enough for Red Frog Microgreens and 20 for its mushrooms.

Guillaume Dagher and Gabriel Roy-Doyon, the duo behind this (almost!) secret farm, used a lot of recycled material to start their project. For the lighting, investments had to be made in efficient installations, since the lights are the substitute sun for the plants.

In addition to providing lighting solutions, Futur Vert has enabled Grenouille rouge to access expertise and discover other companies in the same niche, promoting the transfer of valuable information for a company.

After just a year of operation, the small urban farm is doing well: Grenouille rouge is already profitable, selling about 250 trays of microgreens and 200 pounds of mushrooms a week. At the moment, restaurants in Montreal and a few specialty shops offer the products, essentially within a 20 km radius of the production site.

Grenouille rouge wants to continue its relationship with Futur Vert and eventually implement an aquaponic system to add fruit and vegetables to its range.

The future

Martin Quintal now wants conventional greenhouse owners to turn to LED systems and change the way they look at greenhouse growing.

“It doesn’t make sense to have a greenhouse in a large enclosed area on a production floor,” he says. We simply recreated the field inside. »

Although this would require considerable initial investment, it would also contribute to the greening of this cultivation method, which is often described as very energy-intensive.

The entrepreneur dreams of multidisciplinary researchers addressing this issue to promote sustainable development of indoor culture. Maybe develop vertical farm concepts where animals could be integrated. “What the Earth has always done for millions of years, replicate it inside,” says Martin Quintal. By saving space and thus energy. “You have to maximize the cubic meter,” he says. Instead of just thinking about the square meter. »