SALINAS, Calif. — Another $55 million in equity financing has BrightFarms poised to continue its mission toward a nationwide network of greenhouses.
The company runs facilities in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Illinois now and plans to have another location in Ohio this year and another in Texas next year, CEO Paul Lightfoot said June 28 during a panel discussion at the Forbes AgTech Summit.
He noted there is plenty of room for growth in the overall leafy greens industry — “Twinkie-eating baby boomers are being replaced by salad-eating millennials” — but described the sky as the limit for greenhouse production in particular.
“We’re feeling a lot of — I don’t want to say pressure because it’s a good kind of pressure — but a lot of strong demand from retailers who want to shift more of their production to controlled environment, in many cases largely for food safety but also because there’s — in our case — about a week freshness advantage,” Lightfoot said.
“We’re already lifting category sales in some of the country’s biggest markets like (Washington) D.C. and Philadelphia and Chicago in some of the country’s biggest retailers like Kroger and Albertsons and Ahold,” Lightfoot said. “It’s not slowing down. It’s increasing in demand and in intensity.”
Cox Enterprises led the recently closed $55 million funding round. Vice president of strategy and corporate development David Blau and senior vice president of finance Lacey Lewis have joined the BrightFarms board of directors.