Thursday, October 22, 2020

AppHarvest opens high-tech greenhouse in Eastern Kentucky, breaks ground on second location nearby

AppHarvest, a start-up that aims to bring more high-tech agriculture jobs and fresh produce to Eastern Kentucky, opened its first greenhouse on Wednesday in Morehead.

The 2.76-million-square-foot building in Rowan County is considered one of the world’s largest high-tech greenhouses. It will employee more than 300 Eastern Kentuckians to produce 45 million pounds of tomatoes annually," Liz Moomey reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "The first harvest of non-GMO, chemical pesticide-free produce is expected to be available in early 2021 at grocers and restaurants."

The opening came a day after the company broke ground on its second greenhouse in Richmond, just a few counties away, Moomey reports.

AppHarvest founder and CEO Jonathan Webb told Moomey that the pandemic has shown how fragile food supply chains are, and that projects like this can make it easier for people to access food locally. Webb first announced the project in early 2017, but has faced obstacles in finding the right land and funding. But AppHarvest has attracted considerable attention, venture capital, and government funding over the past two years, with prominent backers including Martha Stewart, J.D. Vance, and AOL co-founder Steve Case.

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