Ag tech company, AppHarvest, announced yesterday that it has raised a $28 million Series C round of funding. The round was led by J.D. Vance’s Narya Capital, with participation from Lupa Systems and Rise of the Rest among others. This brings the total amount raised by AppHarvest to $150 million.
AppHarvest is in the midst of building out the worlds largest greenhouse facility in Morehead, KY. When completed, it will be a 2.76 million-square foot indoor faming facility that will use hydroponics and vertical farming to grow 45 million pound of fresh produce a year. The greenhouse is scheduled to open this fall and will employ roughly 300 people.
AppHarvest’s facility is within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the U.S. population, so it will be able to provide fresh produce to grocery stores in Appalachia, as well as surrounding states.
In June of this year, AppHarvest partnered with the State of Kentucky as well as the Dutch government and several universities. These partnerships were designed to create a series of research programs and develop the greenhouse as a “center of excellence” for agtech innovation.
AppHarvest isn’t the only indoor farming startup partnering with a local government. AeroFarms and the World Economic Forum partnered with the City of Jersey City and as my colleague, Jenn Marston wrote last week:
This is the first partnership between a city municipality and a vertical farming company in the U.S. Through it, AeroFarms will build 10 vertical farms in senior centers, schools, public housing, and municipal buildings around Jersey City. Collectively, the farms are expected to produce 19,000 pounds of vegetables annually, according to AeroFarms. Greens will be free of charge to residents, and the initiative also includes healthy eating workshops and quarterly health screenings.
Hopefully projects like AppHarvest and AeroFarms can use their tech platforms to help create a more equitable food system for everyone.