In 2010, Paul Lightfoot identified a gap in the produce market for locally sourced, organic and sustainable greens. BrightFarms was launched in 2011 based on the insight that people were looking for healthier, locally sourced greens and once made available, supermarket chains would be looking to buy.
Based in New York, BrightFarms is one of the top vertical farming startups in the US right now. It envisions building greenhouses around the U.S. to provide local product. Lightfoot launched BrightFarms with a 56,000-square-foot greenhouse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Two years later, he added two more over twice that size, one near Chicago and another near D.C. The fourth instalment has just broken ground in Wilmington, Ohio.
The facility will be 120,000 square feet and supply salad greens and herbs to retailers in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus metro areas, according to a news release.
BrightFarms uses hydroponics technology in its greenhouse to reduce water consumption but still ensure high crop yield. The new farm is expected to create more than 30 permanent jobs, reduce the number of miles food has to travel to consumers and improve the environmental impact of the food supply chain.
“There is a large opportunity for the supermarket produce department to grow if they can source locally,” CEO Paul Lightfoot said in the release. “BrightFarms sees a clear opportunity in the market to expand our model for local produce across the country.”
BrightFarms has been named one of the 50 most innovative companies by Fast Company Magazine along with one of the top 10 most innovative companies in food.