August 6, 2015

BrightFarms Breaks Ground on Farm of the Future in Rochelle, IL

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.