500 Foods was conceived of while one of its founders, Andrew Simard, was working on his MBA at SFU in 2014. After many years running a company that developed software for commercial greenhouses, he felt that its future success was not with better marketing or a better product but with a different approach entirely. The problem wasn't with the software necessarily, but with the business model of how greenhouses were operating, and the technology that they were, or more often were not, using in their businesses.
The concept of using shipping containers for growing produce was not new or really all that novel at the time. How it could be deployed in a large scale, however, wasn't something anyone was talking about. As part of his MBA, he wrote about what such a large operation might look like, how it might compare to a large tomato operation, and whether such a venture was worth pursuing. The result was the realization that there are numerous benefits, enough to justify the added capital cost and complexity. But there was more work to be done.
The company was incorporated in January 2017. A virtual 3D model of what a 500 Foods facility might look like was created. And along the way the first container order came along. Fabrication of this container first began officially in June 2017. It is expected to host its first crop in August 2018.