Forage Capital Ag & Food Business Solutions Fund is a $150MM growth equity fund that invests along the entire agriculture and food industry value chain. The fund focuses on companies that have suffered a significant disruption to their business model.
Forage’s experienced investors have spent the last 20 years investing in:
The Forage team can work with management to stabilize their business and set new growth priorities that capitalize on the innovative opportunities that will emerge as the Canadian economy recovers and prospers.
Funding round led by Forage Capital Partners, includes Farm Credit Canada and BDC
July 14, 2022, OTTAWA—Fieldless Farms, a modern food and Controlled Environment Agriculture company that launched in 2019, announced a Series A round raising $17.5 million in equity and debt to expand operations at its Cornwall facility by 10 times. The expansion will help Fieldless better meet demand for its cut lettuce mixes, and introduce new products to displace imports with local and more
sustainable options in high-volume grocery categories.
“Since launching across the Farm Boy chain in 2019 we’ve been propelled by the enthusiasm for our products. Canadians are hungry for better options and we can’t keep shelves stocked,” said Fieldless CEO, Jon Lomow. “Fieldless is directly addressing long, complicated and mostly foreign supply chains by offering products that are local and more sustainable, but most of all, that people fall in love with.”
The financing round was led by Canada’s most experienced Ag & Food fund, Forage Capital Partners and includes Farm Credit Canada (FCC) and BDC, the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs.
“We really like Fieldless’ approach and what the company has been quietly and cost effectively building here in Canada,” said Jim Taylor, CEO of Forage Capital Partners. “We think the company is well positioned in the current economic climate for steady and significant growth.”
BDC participated equally in the debt portion of the fundraise with FCC.
"BDC is thrilled to be working hand-in-hand with FCC to support Fieldless with its expansion plans. A greener future is on the horizon, when we invest side-by-side in projects that are essential for Canada's food sovereignty," said Kunle Tauhid, BDC's Vice President for Eastern and Northern Ontario.
The company’s first farm in Cornwall, Ontario, launched in 2019. The operation grows no-need-to-wash leafy greens using highly-controlled environments, renewable energy, and without herbicides or pesticides. Shortly after launching, Fieldless Ontario Sweets and Northern Crunch lettuce mixes obtained listing across Ontario in the rapidly expanding grocer, Farm Boy, in addition to a handful of independent grocers.
“In Canada we import around $60 billion worth of food each year and happen to have the largest trade deficit in the world for lettuce. We rely on other nations to feed us, and it’s risky and unsustainable,” said Fieldless Farms CEO Jon Lomow. “We’re building Fieldless to address that massive opportunity—the need to locally produce food that is safer, secure, and more sustainable, 365 days a year.
Fieldless is a modern food company focused on solving food sovereignty and sustainability, based out of Ottawa and Cornwall, Ontario. The company launched in 2019 to displace foreign products and complex supply chains with safer, secure, more sustainable foods that people fall in love with. Fieldless products can currently be found in Farm Boy and independent retailers across Ontario. Visit fieldless.com.
About Forage Capital Partners
Forage Capital Partners is Canada’s most experienced team of Ag & Food investors, having managed over $500 million in commitments to the industry over the last 18 years. Forage Capital Ag & Food Business Solutions Fund works to provide its portfolio companies with the stability and flexibility they need to expand and adapt their business models during these challenging times. The fund will invest with creative business owners that are looking to capitalize on new and innovative opportunities that will emerge as the Canadian economy prospers. For more information on Forage Capital Partners, visit foragecapitalpartners.com.
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Chef Founded Organic, Plant-Based, Artisanal Cheese Company Ready to Go Nuts!!!
LONDON, ONTARIO (June 15, 2022) – Nuts For Cheese™, maker of dairy-free, plant-based, artisanal cheeses, today announced a $5.35 million round of funding led by Forage Capital Partners along with highly experienced CPG veterans Mike Fata and Dror Balshine.
Founded in 2015 by vegan chef, Margaret Coons, Nuts For Cheese™ self-manufacturers its complete line of fermented cashew-based cheeses and butters with house-made cultures in a certified organic facility without the use of any starches, gums, fillers or artificial flavors. The investment will go towards CAPEX for equipment and facility enhancements to support the rapidly growing consumer demand as well as towards key hires, innovation and marketing initiatives. The company will also be implementing a board of directors led by Mike Fata as Chairman of the Board.
“From the early days I’ve worked hard to surround myself with the right partners,” said Margaret Coons, CEO and Founder at Nuts For Cheese™. “It’s been such a journey, from a rented commercial kitchen to building out our current 25,000 square foot facility. What once looked huge to me is now quickly becoming ready for more expansion. This investment comes at a perfect time for us to be able to keep pace with our growth and I couldn’t be happier partnering with a company like Forage which has extensive experience in the food space and such an incredible team.”
“Nuts For Cheese™ is exactly the type of creative and innovative company that Forage loves to invest in,” said Jim Taylor, Partner. “Forage is really excited to invest in a leading vegan cheese company that provides consumers with a real food alternative to traditional cheeses.”
According to Nielsen data, the non-dairy cheese category is growing 21% and fueled by an increasing number of consumers adding more plant-based products to their baskets. Per Spins data, sixty-two percent or 79 million U.S. households are now buying plant-based products. Since its founding days sold at farmers markets Nuts For Cheese™ has quickly expanded into more than 1,900 retail outlets in Canada including Sobey’s, Fortinos and Save On Foods and almost 2,000 doors in the U.S. made up of a few regions of Whole Foods Market and many strong independent chains with the most recent national launch into Sprouts Farmer’s Market in June.
Made with chef-grade quality, Nuts For Cheese™ has always been about innovative recipes that deliver exceptional taste. “I love to create delicious vegan food that brings everyone together,” said Coons. “My recipes for our SKUs, Un-Brie-lievable, Smoky Gouda, Black Garlic, Artichoke & Herb, Super Blue and Chipotle Cheddar, focus on delivering a smooth, creamy texture with bold, distinctive flavors. Perfect as the center-piece on a plant-based charcuterie board or as part of a vegan recipe, we hope Nuts For Cheese™ helps elevate any culinary experience.”
To learn more about Nuts For Cheese™, visit www.nutsforcheese.com, or follow Nuts For Cheese™ on Instagram (@NutsForCheese), Facebook (@NutsForCheese) and Twitter (@NutsForCheese).
About Nuts for Cheese™
Founded in 2015, Nuts For Cheese™ started with an inspired chef who has an unparalleled passion to spread positive, sustainable change through food. Originally crafted in the back of a vegan kitchen, Nuts For Cheese quickly built their own manufacturing facility in order to preserve the integrity of the recipes and chef-grade quality. Recognized as a leader in the plant-based cheese movement, the complete line of 100% dairy-free, plant-based fermented cashew-based cheeses and butters are made with house-made cultures in a certified organic facility without the use of any starches, gums, fillers or artificial flavors. Nuts For Cheese™ is a certified Women Business Enterprise and certified LGBTBE. To learn more about Nuts For Cheese™, visit www.nutsforcheese.com, or follow Nuts For Cheese™ on Instagram (@NutsForCheese), Facebook (@NutsForCheese) and Twitter (@NutsForCheese).
About Forage Capital Investments
Forage Capital Partners is Canada’s most experienced team of Ag & Food investors, having managed over $500 million in commitments to the industry over the last 18 years. Forage Capital Ag & Food Business Solutions Fund works to provide its portfolio companies with the stability and flexibility they need to expand and adapt their business models during these challenging times. The fund will invest with creative business owners that are looking to capitalize on new and innovative opportunities that will emerge as the Canadian economy recovers and prospers. For more information on Forage Capital Partners, visit www.foragecapitalpartners.com.
Crystal Green Answers the Need for a High-Efficiency Granular Phosphate Fertilizer that Protects the Environment
VANCOUVER, Canada (April 26, 2022) – Significant amounts of phosphate applied each year can be lost through fixation, runoff and leaching when using conventional phosphate fertilizers. However, growers using Crystal Green® granular phosphate fertilizer can avoid the inefficiencies of conventional phosphate fertilizers. Crystal Green is unique in that its nutrient release mechanism is determined by the crop and not the environment, a natural process called Crop Driven Release™.
Crystal Green, by Ostara, has an analysis of 5-28-0 with 10% magnesium to provide crops access to nutrients that remain plant available all season long.
The Next Generation of Phosphate Fertilizer
In 2019 Ostara started producing Crystal Green in Ft. Meade, Fl. Since then, demand for Crystal Green has exceeded expectations. Ostara is the first company to commercially produce and market a highly efficient granular phosphate product like Crystal Green.
“We began the Crystal Green journey to solve the problem of too much phosphate being lost to the global waterways and causing environmental challenges,” says Ahren Britton, chief technology officer at Ostara. “By producing a high efficiency phosphate fertilizer, Ostara is offering the first manufactured, environmentally friendly fertilizer option where everyone feels the benefits.”
How Crystal Green Works
All crops naturally release organic acids from growing roots, such as citric acid, to solubilize soil-bound nutrients. Crystal Green is sparingly water soluble, minimizing nutrient loss from fixation, runoff and leaching but is 100% soluble in organic acids, such as citric acid, naturally released from roots. By putting crops in charge of nutrient availability and avoiding traditional losses from conventional phosphate fertilizers, Crystal Green is the most efficient granular phosphate fertilizer on the market using Crop Driven Release™.
After multiple years of global trials from university and third-party researchers and supportive year- over-year sales growth, Crystal Green is proven to provide the following advantages to growers that provide agronomic, economic and environmental benefits.
• Nutrient Availability activated with Crop Driven Release™ – Crystal Green only releases nutrients when roots need them for growth and development. As roots grow and exude organic acids, Crystal Green releases phosphate, nitrogen, and magnesium efficiently for optimized uptake and crop response.
• Citrate Soluble – Crystal Green is a struvite-based fertilizer that is 100% citrate soluble and 100% plant available. This one-of-a-kind fertilizer remains in the soil where it’s placed until it interacts with acids released by growing roots, significantly increasing its efficacy.
• Avoids Soil Fixation – Aluminum, calcium, and iron fixation is a challenge in many soil types. In some soils, fixation can bind up to 80% of applied phosphate. These soils require growers to apply far more phosphate than a crop may require, just to overcome the fixation effect. The unique solubility characteristics of Crystal Green avoids fixation altogether to help reach yield potential with less phosphate.
A Win for All
With continual pressure to improve yield and quality while reducing environmental degradation, growers are looking for more efficient and innovative fertilizers. Growers applying Crystal Green are experiencing results that outperform the use of conventional fertilizers while protecting the environment.
“Crystal Green is the only granular phosphate fertilizer on the market that remains plant available throughout the growing season. Crystal Green, when comparing actual pounds of available phosphate, generally wins hand-down versus conventional phosphate fertilizers,” says Ron Restum, chief revenue officer at Ostara. “By nutrients staying in the soil and being available to crops when they need it, it’s a win for yield, a win for the environment, and most importantly a win for a grower’s bottom-line.”
Due to increasing demand for Crystal Green, currently produced in Ft. Mead, Fl., Ostara is building a significantly larger production facility in St. Louis, Mo. Construction is projected to be complete in fall of 2023.
“Improving nutrient use efficiency and soil health while protecting our environment benefits everyone. We’re excited to be playing a leading role in bringing innovative, sustainable, and highly efficient products like Crystal Green to the Ag and T&O markets,” Restum adds.
Crystal Green is currently available at all major Ag retailers across North America and is available in bulk via railcar, bulk truck or in 1-ton super sacks.
To learn more about Crystal Green, please email email@example.com or visit your local Ag retailer.
About Ostara | Crystal Green
Ostara’s Crystal Green® fertilizers are the first high-efficiency phosphate fertilizers to release nutrients in response to plant demand using Crop-Driven Release™. Crystal Green is proven to increase yields, enhance soil health and significantly reduce phosphate tie-up, runoff and leaching, thereby improving food security while protecting local waterways. Additionally, the Company’s Pearl® technology recovers phosphorus and nitrogen from industrial and municipal water streams and transforms these nutrients into Crystal Green® Pearl fertilizer which is also sold into the agriculture and turf & ornamental sectors through a network of established retailers and distributors in North America and Europe. To learn more about Ostara’s revolutionary technologies and fertilizer portfolio, please visit ostara.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Michelle Fluty Ostara Marketing and Communications Manager