Photos from Mayor Fischer’s Facebook page.
LOUISVILLE (January 28, 2016) – FarmedHere, the country’s largest and longest-running vertical farm, will locate a year-round indoor farm and food processing facility in the West Louisville FoodPort, creating 40 jobs with a $23.5 million investment, Mayor Greg Fischer and Governor Matt Bevin announced today.
“FarmedHere’s sustainable practices and compassionate hiring policy make them an ideal community partner in west Louisville,” Fischer said. “The addition of this innovative company to the West Louisville FoodPort affirms our commitment to giving every citizen an opportunity for a healthy lifestyle by making locally grown food easily accessible.”
FarmedHere plans to lease 60,000 square-feet in the FoodPort for its vertical farming operation and use half the space for up to 10 rows of vertically stacked grow beds. The company will dedicate the remaining space to sorting and packaging leafy greens and processing of herbs and other plants for inclusion in salad dressings, baby food and additional value-added products. The facility’s location will help FarmedHere quickly deliver freshly harvested, USDA-certified organic and pesticide-free produce.
“Agriculture is one of the Commonwealth’s greatest assets, and any company looking to improve the state’s footprint in that regard is a welcome addition to our economy,” Gov. Bevin said. “FarmedHere provides an opportunity to boost Kentucky’s local produce output and distribution with its innovative approach. I’m pleased to welcome FarmedHere to Kentucky and anticipate a fruitful partnership with the West Louisville FoodPort.”
FarmedHere also plans to hire veterans and second-chance employees including refugees and ex-offenders. The company expects construction to begin in August 2016 with the facility going operational by fall 2017.
“Louisville is an ideal location for a FarmedHere vertical farm as it enables us to deliver healthy, local, organic produce 365 days a year to millions of people within a 200-mile radius,” said Matt Matros, CEO of FarmedHere. “We are thrilled to partner with Seed Capital Kentucky, the West Louisville FoodPort, KEDFA, Governor Bevin, Mayor Fischer and Louisville Forward as we work to make this new facility a reality and give back to the Louisville community.”
FarmedHere opened its first vertical farm in Chicago in 2010. The company works closely with local vendors to get produce from harvest to store within 48 hours, and to ensure distribution remains within 200 miles of the operation. FarmedHere currently sells to many large grocery stores in the Greater Chicago area, including Whole Foods and Mariano’s, a division of Kroger.
The company expects to work with traditional farmers, rather than compete with them, by growing produce in seasons when traditional farmers cannot, and by offering produce not supported by the Kentucky climate. FarmedHere’s vertical growing technology and local distribution methods help reduce time to market, energy use and overall costs. By growing entirely indoors with complete control of all variables, FarmedHere eliminates many of the obstacles traditional agriculture faces, including bugs, diseases, pesticides and weather.
“This is a fantastic affirmation of the promise of the FoodPort,” said Caroline Heine, co-founder and projectdirector of Seed Capital KY, the group developing the FoodPort. “FarmedHere sees the value of this integrated, public-private-nonprofit partnership, and has chosen to expand its business here, bringing investment, jobs and relationships, and offering a year-round supply of healthy, locally-grown food for our community. We could not be more excited.”
FarmedHere is one of several businesses to commit to operating at the FoodPort. Other businesses include The Weekly Juicery, Piazza Produce and Just One Organics. Construction is expected to begin in August and businesses will begin their operations roughly 14 months later.
To learn more about FarmedHere, visit www.farmedhere.com