Karst chat with Paul Lightfoot: taking local to the roof

04/06/2012 11:16:00 AM
Tom Karst

2:44 p.m. Karst: The local food movement is a big part of this and cutting out transportation costs...

2:45 p.m. Lightfoot: Not just transportation, but distribution as well. By distribution I mean the marketing companies in the middle that manage the grower and manage the transportation. It’s a combination of transportation and distribution.

Artist image of Brooklyn rooftop greenhouse2:46 p.m. Karst: What about the community? How many folks do you think will work at the facility?

2:47 p.m. Lightfoot: The Brooklyn facility - it may be too early to say - I think it will probably be up to 25 full time sustainable jobs, and the community loves that. These are jobs that historically have never been in New York City. And the same thing happens when we talk about a project in St. Paul, Minn. or Bucks County, Pa. These are just jobs that have been in Mexico, California or Arizona for decades. So they are thrilled to have economic activity of their purchases power being directed to their communities. We really focus on the idea that we are going back to the agricultural heritage of this country where food is grown and sold in one community, where the farmer sends his kid to school with the kids of his customers.

2:48 p.m. Karst: So you many facilities like the Brooklyn facility are you planning?

2:49 p.m. Lightfoot: We are building three right now with the new business model for us. We have been part of seven greenhouses so far, and none of them were these commercial turnkey projects that I am talking about in Bucks County, Pa. and Brooklyn. They were projects we did on a consulting and engineering basis in our former business model, which was essentially hiring out our expertise to build integrated agricultural projects. This is a concept we have only been talking with the supermarket industry about for 13 or 14 months.



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