By Adele Peters FastCompany, June 10, 2019.
[350Pgh note: Now this is the kind of industrial technology from the Netherlands that we like to see, lots of land available in Beaver County….. Note also that 5th Season is building a large vertical farm in Braddock, PA using technology from CMU.]
AppHarvest is building a 60-acre greenhouse in Kentucky to provide a new source of sustainable agriculture that doesn’t need to be shipped so far into East Coast cities.
On land that was once part of a cattle ranch outside Morehead, Kentucky–a small town where roughly one in three people live below the poverty line–a massive new 60-acre high-tech greenhouse is designed to bring back local jobs while shrinking the environmental footprint of delivering food to cities like Washington, D.C. and Nashville.
“We’re really setting out to develop the eastern part of our state into a produce hub for the U.S.–taking a portion of our state that prided itself on powering the country in the coal industry and pivoting to being a leader in sustainable agriculture,” says Jonathan Webb, founder and CEO of AppHarvest, the agricultural startup that recently closed an $82 million deal to build the greenhouse.
While some indoor farms incorporate as much automation as possible, AppHarvest plans to rely on humans. The facility will provide 100 construction jobs and 285 full-time, permanent jobs that pay a minimum of $13 an hour plus benefits. “We feel like this is the next generation of farming,” he says. “We want our farmers to have the tools and be at the forefront, so we will layer in technology over time to continue to drive efficiency inside of our facility. But for us, we feel that having a human touch in the middle of food production is something that’s still important.”
Photo Courtesy AppHarvest.