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Bright Farms 0043BrightFarms, a startup revolutionizing the U.S. produce supply chain by creating the first national brand for local produce, today made its first produce shipment from the BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse in Rochelle, IL to Mariano’s Chicagoland stores and Roundy’s Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores in Wisconsin. The greenhouse will grow over one million pounds of the freshest and most flavorful salad greens, herbs and tomatoes per year exclusively for Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc. (Roundy’s), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR).

A model for the future of local, low-impact farming, the BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse is now the most productive farm in the Chicagoland market, the most sustainable source of year-round baby greens and tomatoes in all of Illinois, and among the most productive salad greens farms, per square foot, in the world. It creates permanent green collar jobs, significantly reduces food miles, and improves the environmental impact of the food supply chain.

"Consumers want access to fresh, local produce year-round and we, along with Roundy's, are working tirelessly to meet this demand in the Chicagoland market," said BrightFarms Chief BrightFarmer (CEO), Paul Lightfoot. "Produce from our Chicagoland Greenhouse is delivered within 24 hours of harvest and often grown less than 100 miles from where it's sold. That’s a 98 percent improvement from the thousands of miles produce usually must travel to reach supermarket shelves."

A cutting-edge, scalable solution to Americans' increasing demand for local and sustainable food, the greenhouse encompasses over 160,000 square-feet. It uses 80 percent less water, 90 percent less land and significantly less energy to grow its products than the items it replaces on supermarket shelves. All produce is Non-GMO and pesticide-free.

"We're thrilled that we can offer customers access to fresh lettuces, tomatoes and herbs within 24 hours of harvest," said Bob Mariano, President & CEO of Roundy's. "Together with BrightFarms we're working to improve the food supply chain -- a win for the environment and a big step in the right direction."

BrightFarms is recognized as a thought leader in the local food movement because of its unique ability to provide sustainable, local produce at a profitable, commercial scale. It's business model, crafting partnerships with supermarkets, cities, capital sources, and vendors, allows it to give retailers steady supply and pricing and to provide consumers year-round access to the freshest produce possible. Together with strategic partners such as Roundy's, BrightFarms is improving the landscape of modern farming and supply.

"We're honored BrightFarms chose to put down roots in Rochelle, and are thrilled that it's now up and running," said Rochelle Mayor, Chet Olson." This project has created 30 local green collar jobs and over 100 local construction jobs, which means more dollars have been kept in the Rochelle community."

ABOUT BRIGHTFARMS: BrightFarms grows local produce, nationwide. BrightFarms finances, builds, and operates local greenhouse farms in partnership with supermarkets, cities, capital sources, and vendors, enabling it to quickly and efficiently eliminate time, distance, and costs from the food supply chain. BrightFarms’ growing methods, a model for the future of scalable, sustainable local farming, uses far less energy, land and water than conventional agriculture. Fast Company recognizes BrightFarms as “One of World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” and one of the “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food” in the world. For more information, please visit www.brightfarms.com.

mightyvineeventToday, the City of Rochelle welcomes MightyVine to our growing business scape!  

Working under the mantra that the best tasting tomatoes are grown closest to home, MightyVine will provide restaurants and retailers in the greater ChicagoMilwaukee-Madison area with premium local tomatoes harvested at the peak of ripeness and immediately delivered to the market within hours of being picked, not weeks. Initial planting will focus on two varieties of on-the-vine, premium glasshouse tomatoes: the MightyVine Roterno and MightyVine Robinio, a slicing tomato and cherry tomato, respectively. These varietals, exclusively grown in the United States by MightyVine, were developed for their intense tomato flavor, rather than their ability to be trucked across the country. MightyVine tomatoes are responsibly grown under pristine conditions, utilizing the best industry practices and the latest greenhouse technology, using only 10 percent of the water used for field grown tomatoes.

BrightFarms Groundbreaking PhotoBrightFarms, a start-up revolutionizing the U.S. produce supply chain by creating the first national brand of local produce, today broke ground on the BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse in Rochelle, IL. This project is a partnership with Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc. (Roundy's), a leading grocer in the Midwest. Slated for completion in early 2016, it will provide produce for Roundy’s stores. It is being built in partnership with Clean Feet Investors. 

A model for the future of local, low-impact farming, the BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse will be the most productive farm in the Chicagoland market, the most sustainable source of year-round baby greens and tomatoes in all of Illinois, and among the most productive salad greens farms, per square foot, in the world. It will create permanent green collar jobs, significantly reduce food miles, and improve the environmental impact of the food supply chain.

"Consumer demand for local is growing exponentially -- and for good reason: long distance produce hurts the environment and compromises freshness, quality and taste," said BrightFarms Chief BrightFarmer (CEO), Paul Lightfoot. "This greenhouse farm will allow Roundy’s to provide its customers with year-round produce that is not only gardenfresh, but that conserves land and water, eliminates agricultural runoff and reduces greenhouse gas emission."

A cutting-edge, scalable solution to Americans' increasing demand for local and sustainable food, The BrightFarms Chicagoland greenhouse will be 160,000 square-feet and grow over 1,000,000 pounds of the freshest and most flavorful salad greens, herbs and tomatoes per year. The greenhouse will use 80 percent less water, 90 percent less land and 95 percent less shipping fuel than conventional produce companies and, on average, 64 percent less energy to grow its products than the items it replaces on supermarket shelves. All produce will be pesticide-free.

"We're thrilled that our stores will be able to deliver consumers the freshest, most local greens, herbs and tomatoes possible," said Bob Mariano, CEO and chairman of Roundy's. "BrightFarms is a model for the future of food and we look forward to exemplifying, together with them, what that future should look like." 

BrightFarms is recognized as a thought leader in the local food movement because of its unique ability to provide sustainable, local produce at a profitable, commercial scale. It's business model, crafting partnerships with supermarket chains for each greenhouse, allows it to give retailers steady supply and pricing and to provide consumers year-round access to the freshest produce. Together with strategic partners such as Roundy's, BrightFarms is improving the landscape of modern farming and supply.

"We're honored BrightFarms chose to put down roots in Rochelle, and are excited for the completion of the greenhouses early next year," said Rochelle Mayor, Chet Olson. " By 2016, the project will have created over 23 local green collar jobs and over 100 local construction jobs, which means more dollars will be kept in the Rochelle community."

ABOUT BRIGHTFARMS: BrightFarms grows local produce, nationwide. BrightFarms finances, builds, and operates local greenhouse farms in partnership with supermarkets, cities, capital sources, and vendors, enabling it to quickly and efficiently eliminate time, distance, and costs from the food supply chain. BrightFarms’ growing methods, a model for the future of scalable, sustainable local farming, uses far less energy, land and water than conventional agriculture. Fast Company recognizes BrightFarms as “One of World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” and one of the “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food” in the world. For more information, please visit www.brightfarms.com.

One of the curses of living in northern latitudes afflicts Chicagoans every fall: How can you buy fresh produce when the fields are frozen? "The answer, for a growing number of farmers, is to bring the plants inside. Now comes an industrial-scale venture that aims to provide an alternative to one of winter's most cruel impositions: the tasteless tomato.

Backed by $11 million from more than a dozen individual investors, hydroponic farm MightyVine has built a sparkling 7.5-acre greenhouse amid farmland and big-box warehouses 80 miles west of Chicago's Loop, in Rochelle. The startup plans to plant its first crop of two varietals on Aug. 1, begin harvesting in October and supplying Chicago restaurants and retailers the same day each batch of ripened tomatoes is picked."


To read the entire article, visit Crain's online here.

Friday, 07 November 2014 11:48

Solar Plant Completion in Rochelle

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Rochelle Municipal Utilities is pleased to announce the completion of the 312kW Photovoltaic Solar Plant, located at the Water Treatment Facility in Rochelle.

In the Spring of 2014, RMU was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to fund construction of the Solar Plant. ICECF provides grants for up to $2/watt or 60% of the system and its installation costs, whichever is less. As a result of the competitive bidding process, Eagle Point Solar was awarded the project.

"Rochelle's 312 kW Solar Photovoltaic plant is one of the larger Public Power Utility owned plants in Illinois. This plant will provide renewable energy to the water treatment plant" stated Business & Financial Analyst Dan Westin. "Treatment plants require a lot of energy to make clean water. Rochelle will continue to explore financially sound projects in the area of renewable energy."

As a result of this project, Rochelle Municipal Utilities has been selected as a recipient of this year's Northern Illinois Renewable Energy Summit & Expo's "Leadership by Example" award. This recognition is meant to highlight area individuals, businesses, organizations, and Municipalities that have implemented renewable energy projects and practices in Transportation, Utility Scale Generation, Building Integration and Controls Technologies, Green Roofs, Large and Small Scale Solar, PV and Solar Heating/Cooling, Wind, Manufacturing, Waste to Energy and Recycling or Repurposing and more.

Educational tours of the plant are available by calling RMU at 562-4155.

To view the plant's output, visit here.

 

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 12:45

Caron Road Lift Station Commences Operation

263On Wednesday morning October 8th a group of local, State and Federal officials gathered at the Rochelle Municipal Utility - Caron Road Lift Station to commemorate the start up of operations.

The $1,000,000.00 project extended nearly ½ mile of new wastewater sewer lines designed to serve current and future industries located in the "Rochelle Dual Rail Industrial Park". The new lift station capacity will lift more than 1,800 gallons of waste water a minute, which will allow for more than 2,500 acres to be opened up for new industrial development.

The project was funded through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the United States Department of Commerce - Economic Development Administration and the City of Rochelle. Since the project was announced three years ago more than 560 manufacturing related jobs have been created and more than $135 Million has been invested in land, buildings and equipment in the industrial park. Mayor Chet Olson was on hand for the event and commented: "Infrastructure drives job creation and here in Rochelle we know how important infrastructure is to the future economic development growth of our community".

Twelve years ago Rochelle Municipal Utilities (RMU) laid a 21" Sanitary Sewer line into the Rochelle Dual Rail Industrial Park. This large service created the potential to provide industries who are heavily dependent on industrial waste water treatment, to locate in Rochelle . "With the commencement of the Caron Road Lift Station we now can utilize the full potential of the investment we made 12 years ago, as the full capacity of the 21" line can be realized today": said Rochelle City Manager, David Plyman.

Jason Anderson, the City of Rochelle's Economic Development Director said: "The lift station capacity issue was the limiting factor for further industrial development. Now that we have the capacity to handle more than 1,800 gallons of waste water per minute our potential for development is nearly unlimited".

Last week the City of Rochelle celebrated the re-opening of the Rochelle Municipal Airport airstrip, which was extended to 5001'. The expansion also included the construction of a new 1,300 ft taxiway and airstrip lighting system. Along with today's commencement of the Caron Road Lift Station the City celebrated the completion of three City of Rochelle Railroad projects which have more than tripled the railroad's capacity for switching railcars.

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 12:44

City of Rochelle Railroad Expands Operations

302On Wednesday morning Federal, State and City Officials gathered to celebrate the completion of three City of Rochelle Railroad (CIR) projects that totaled more than $1.2 Million in capital investment. The projects included adding two rail sidings on to the Union Pacific/CIR rail interchange rail yard, extending the CIR mainline Track #3 by 2,200 ft and replacing the Caron Road rail crossing. "These rail improvements have increased safety and our capacity to handle larger volumes of rail cars from the Union Pacific Railroad which increases the service we can provide CIR customers" said Mayor Chet Olson.

The City of Rochelle Railroad provides all of its customers equal access to both Class I Railroads: the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) and the Union Pacific Railroad (UP). This unique rail access allows for better rail access, better rail service and industries having "options" when it comes to choosing more than one Class I railroad to provide service.

Funding for the projects came through the Illinois Department of Transportation – Bureau of Railroads, the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration, the City of Rochelle, Ryder Corporation and the Burlington Junction Railway. "We have great partners who have made significant investments in our rail development plan. Our rail system has been the driving force of our industrial development for nearly 30 years" said City Manager David Plyman.

The expansion and improvements to the rail system has now opened the CIR to moving more than 10,000 railcars per year. "This represents a 300% increase in our rail volumes from previous years of operations. The expansion of our rail system is stimulating more industrial development and that means more jobs" said Jason Anderson, the City of Rochelle's Economic Development Director.

Over the past 4 years more than $10 Million has been invested in the CIR which now has the capacity to switch full 100+ railcar "unit trains". This service is opening the door to new opportunities as the trend for industrial rail service is to switch full unit trains on and off the Class I railroads. Infrastructure improvements to the rail system have complimented several other projects the City of Rochelle has completed this Fall.

Last week the City of Rochelle celebrated the re-opening of the Rochelle Municipal Airport airstrip, which was extended to 5001'. The expansion also included the construction of a new 1,300 ft taxiway and airstrip lighting system. Earlier this morning the City celebrated the commencement of the Caron Road Lift Station which has opened more than 2,500 acres to future industrial development.

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On Wednesday morning the City of Rochelle celebrated the completion of another major infrastructure project. The $2.4 million project included the expansion of the runway and taxiway on Koritz Field at the Rochelle Municipal Airport. The project was successfully executed as a result of a well collaborated plan between the City of Rochelle, the Illinois Division of Aeronautics, the Federal Aviation Administration, and local land owners all who worked to plan, fund and expand the runway. A 775 foot runway extension, a new 1,300 ft taxiway and the installation of an all new landing lighting system were the key components to the project . On hand for the celebration were Dr. Susan Shea, Director of the Illinois Department of Transportation-Division of Aeronautics, Senator Tim Bivins, and a number of local business and government officials.

Mayor Chet Olson stated that the City of Rochelle has been forward thinking about the airport's role in growing the community: "The airport runway extension is another example of the infrastructure assets that the City of Rochelle has invested in to further grow the local economy".

The construction of the runway extension has opened the door for larger aircraft to land and operate out of the Rochelle Airport. Air traffic has more than tripled over the past year at the airport. Increased operations is spurring plans for future improvements to the airport's infrastructure.

Other city officials boasted that their investment, along with the support of the FAA and the Illinois Department of Transportation in infrastructure, is the key to the City's economic development success. David Plyman, Rochelle City Manager said "Rochelle has become a very attractive location for industrial clients, especially those that require air and rail service. We are blessed to have the support of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and IDOT's Division of Aeronautics on this project". Funding for the project is 90% funded by discretionary money distributed by the State of Illinois and a 10% by the City of Rochelle.

Jason Anderson, Economic Development Director for the City of Rochelle added: "The Rochelle Municipal Airport has become a center of attraction for people of all ages and many industries interested in using the airport. Now larger aircraft can land and operate out of Rochelle which will further boost the airports operations."

The Rochelle Municipal Airport is currently home to four businesses including the Chicagoland Skydiving Center, Rochelle Avionics, A&M Airsports, and the Flight Deck Bar and Grill which received the distinguished "5 Prop Award" as the number one airport restaurant in the State of Illinois.

- Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nippon Sharyo U.S.A., Inc. today celebrated the opening of their expanded production facility, Shop 3, located in Prologis Park - Rochelle. The new facility will help Nippon Sharyo become even more competitive in the United States passenger railcar market, and meet the Passenger Railcar industry's growing demands for "Buy America" standards. Nippon Sharyo is committed to utilizing "locally" sourced products and services through businesses that create jobs for workers in Illinois and across the United States of America.


The contract for Bi-Level Passenger Railcars (130 railcars with an option for an additional 300) awarded in November 2012 by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is funded by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). FRA funding has a "100% Buy America" requirement under 49 U.S.C. §24405(a). With the completion of Shop 3 all components required for this project will be produced in America, thus meeting the FRA
requirement.

The expansion also opens even more job opportunities in the region. Currently Nippon Sharyo has over 400 employees in the original Shop 1 and Shop 2, and Shop 3 has opened an additional 90 manufacturing jobs. The new facility has also created many opportunities for U.S. based vendors due to the increased need for U.S. made materials, parts, and services.

For today's opening ceremony, Nippon Sharyo invited approximately 200 guests from various Federal, State, City and other municipal governments, related organizations, clients, contractors and vendors to join in celebrating the Shop 3 Expansion Project Opening Ceremony. Guest speakers included Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo, Caltrans Acting Chief of the Division of Rail Bruce Roberts, IDOT Director of the Division of Public and Intermodal Transportation Joseph Shacter, and Nippon Sharyo Chairman Katsuyuki Ikushima.

"Nippon Sharyo continues to create good-paying jobs while producing products that will propel us into the future of transportation," Governor Quinn said. "Their growth has been phenomenal, their rail cars are in demand, and they are doing it all using 100 percent American made components".  "Nippon Sharyo is proof that federal rail investments expand the economy and create jobs," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. "This is a state-of-the-art U.S. railcar manufacturing
facility that has been built from scratch – and now expanded – in just a few years, creating 400 jobs onsite and more throughout its domestic supply chain. Our Buy America program requires the railcars being built here to be 100 percent American made, and Shop 3 allows Nippon Sharyo to fully meet these requirements and ramp up production through 2018."

"We will now be able to fabricate, weld, and assemble parts for our car body shells right here, making Nippon Sharyo a 100% Buy America compliant rail car builder. From start to finish our rail cars will be made in the U.S. for use in the U.S. I hope we will become the top passenger railcar builder in North America," said Nippon Sharyo Chairman Katsuyuki Ikushima. Nippon Sharyo hopes that beginning with the Bi-Level Project with Caltrans and IDOT, Shop 3
will be the start of a new era of high speed rail in America. Nippon Sharyo continues to strive to create quality products that improve public transportation for all people.

 


More than 600 New Jobs are Created in Rochelle, Illinois

The "Hub City" adds jobs through new Industrial and Commercial Growth



The City of Rochelle and the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO) announced today that more than 600 new jobs have been created in Rochelle, Illinois during the past year. The attraction of new industries and the expansion of over a dozen businesses has created a surge in employment in the "Hub City". Located 1 hour west of Chicago and just 25 minutes south of Rockford Illinois, Rochelle (pop 9,745), has attracted manufacturing, logistics and commercial businesses who find Rochelle to be an ideal location to do business.

 

City Manager, David Plyman commented: "Our efforts to promote the community as a "Center for Manufacturing and Logistics" is paying off. We have seen numerous plant openings, which have provided new job opportunities for people throughout the region". The bulk of new jobs that have been created are in the "Industrial/Logistics" sector, however new commercial and retail developments have also been opening in Rochelle. "We have seen two new medical clinics and a number of commercial/retail outlets “set up shop” in Rochelle over the past 18 months", said Mayor Chet Olson. Why has all of this new development been occurring in Rochelle? According to Doug Zuehl, President of the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation, “vision, strategic planning, location and leadership are a few of our keys to success. Rochelle has been planning for this development for more than 35 years and it is happening today".

 

Companies who have opened new facilities or expanded their operations in Rochelle include Nippon Sharyo, Central Refrigerated Services, Illinois River Energy/CHS and Quick Start Products and Solutions. "With all of the news about the poor economy, we are pleased to let people know that Rochelle has become a community where employment opportunities abound. We are also working hard to become a destination point for commercial and retail shopping too" said Peggy Friday, Executive Director of the Rochelle Area Chamber of Commerce.  Rochelle, with a population of less than 10,000, has proven to be a community that can attract economic development opportunities in spite of a bad economy.  

 According to the City of Rochelle Economic Development office, businesses/industries have added more than 2200 new jobs over the past decade. The economic development efforts to expand the industrial base has resulted in more than $100 million being added to the City of  Rochelle’s economy .   


Contact:  Jason Anderson

    (815) 562-7595

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

                                                                     

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