Aerofarms is set to open its Virginia facility.
On the 28th of July, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced in a press release that AeroFarms, a Certified B Corporation and world leader in indoor vertical farming, will create sixty-six additional new jobs and increase production of freshly-grown leafy greens as part of a major operational expansion of its new vertical farm in Pittsylvania County. This farm, a 138,670 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, would be considered “the largest in the world of its kind”.
These new hiring commitments are in addition to the 92 jobs pledged previously to be located in Cane Creek Centre, a joint industrial park owned by the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County. This expansion is being driven by the company’s decision to expand production to meet increased customer demand. Virginia successfully competed against other states for the project.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with the Virginia Department of Economic Development (VEDP) and Pittsylvania County to secure this project for Virginia. Governor Youngkin approved a $33,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Pittsylvania County will match with local funds. The company is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Job Creation Grant program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Today, the nearly 140,000 square feet facility is set to be opened according to Cardinal News.
“We’re producing in three dimensions,” said Mike Evans in an interview with Cardinal news, associate director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center in Danville. This leads to “a lot more production per area.”
“This center is a joint project between the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research in Danville and Virginia Tech. It conducts research and does outreach education on controlled environment agriculture, and works with companies in this field.”
Virginia vertical farms are expected to grow in the upcoming years as the state seeks investments.