We’ve been checking in with former TEDxManhattan speakers to get an update on their work. Below, an update from BrightFarms, which finances, designs, builds and operates greenhouse farms at or near supermarkets. CEO Paul Lightfoot spoke at TEDxManhattan 2012; see his talk here.
Since BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot gave his TEDxManhattan talk in January 2012, our greenhouse for McCaffrey’s Market is up and running in Yardley, PA! We’re well on our way to scaling up local food and bringing the farmer’s market to the supermarket. We’re growing local produce year-round for McCaffrey’s customers at our 56,000 square foot greenhouse, half a mile from the closest store. We’re currently growing salad greens (Spring Mix, Baby Arugula, Baby Kale, and Asian Greens) and tomatoes (Grape, Beefsteak, and Tomatoes on the Vine). We’re also delivering produce from this greenhouse to our retail partner A&P, delivering to their stores across the Tri-State area (see store locator).
Our hydroponic greenhouse conserves land and water, eliminates agricultural runoff, and reduces greenhouse gas emission from transportation. We’re also using integrated pest management (IPM). We have not sprayed any chemical pesticides on our salad greens and have not sprayed any fungicides on our tomatoes. Plus, the farm has created ~14 full-time green-collar jobs for local farmers, keeping more local dollars in the community.
Since Paul’s talk, BrightFarms has partnered with 7 major supermarkets chains and has 7 commercial-scale greenhouses in development in Saint Paul, Saint Louis, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, and Chicago. BrightFarms has raised over $10 million in equity and has $80 million in contracted backlog. Fast Company named BrightFarms one of the world’s top 10 most innovative food companies and Oprah Magazine’s list of “50 Things That Will Make You Say Wow!” Our farm in Saint Paul for Cub Foods will be completed this fall…get ready Minnesota!