US indoor farming specialist BrightFarms operates six high-tech greenhouse farms in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois. Its fresh lettuce options, from classic greens to crunchy mixes and salad kits, are available in more than 3,700 retail stores across the East Coast and Midwest. Now the firm has announced further expansion with the construction of four new regional greenhouse hubs.
The new locations will offer sustainably grown leafy greens to more people across the Eastern and Central U.S and begin shipping to retailers in 2024. Building has already begun at the first regional hub location in Yorkville, Illinois, and BrightFarms will break ground on similar facilities in Macon, Georgia and Lorena, Texas this summer, followed by another hub in the Northeast later this year.
Each location has been strategically positioned near a major metropolitan area, and has a combined footprint of up to 200-acres with the ability to produce approximately 150 million pounds (68 million kg) of leafy greens per year once complete. Each regional hub will also create more than 250 jobs in the agricultural sector – more than 1,000 total – at full scale.
“Today’s U.S. salad supply chain is not sustainable, with over 95% of all leafy greens grown in two centralised, water-depleted regions on the West Coast. At BrightFarms, we’ve built a better solution,” said Steve Platt, chief executive officer of BrightFarms. “We grow our greens where people consume them, 365 days per year. With our four new greenhouse hubs underway, we’re excited to deliver the freshest, cleanest and most responsibly grown produce to two-thirds of the U.S. in a way that benefits the health of our consumers and the planet, while also providing fair and equitable wages and benefits to agricultural workers who feed our country.”
Indoor farming technology partners
To facilitate this expansion, BrightFarms is partnering with leaders in greenhouse and automated growing system technologies – Green Automation Group and KUBO Group. Together the firms plan to build the most advanced indoor farms in the country, revolutionising how leafy greens are grown in the U.S.
BrightFarms has partnered with Green Automation Group on the design and implementation of its Mobile Gutter System (MGS) which will fully automate the growing and harvesting process, leading to record yields and improved food safety.
KUBO’s cutting-edge Ultra-Clima technology will also deliver a climate control system that is stable and both efficient and sustainable, equalling higher produce yields, less variability, improved food safety and greater resource efficiency.
BrightFarms’ greenhouse model puts sustainability initiatives at the forefront helping to further its commitment to the planet. By growing in a controlled automated environment, close to the point of consumption, BrightFarms’ greenhouses use less water, land and shipping fuel, and absolutely no pesticides, compared to field-grown produce.
BrightFarms was acquired by Cox Enterprises in 2021, the acquisition marked the first purchase of an indoor agriculture technology company by a blue chip investor. Steve Bradley, vice president of cleantech for Cox Enterprises is vey optimistic about BrightFarms’ future growth. “This expansion of its greenhouses is another step towards investing and innovating controlled environment agriculture for the next generation” said Bradley. “Cox is excited to partner in efforts to push the boundaries of possibility for indoor farming and help build a multibillion-dollar business.”