Kalera continues its westward expansion. This week, the Orlando, Fla.-based indoor vertical farming company announced it will open its newest commercial-scale facility in Denver, Colo. in 2021.
This will be Kalera’s fifth facility for commercial-scale vertical farms growing leafy greens. The company already operates two facilities in Orlando and is in the midst of constructing farms in Atlanta and Houston, both slated to open in early 2021.
When we caught up with Kalera in 2019, the company had just broken ground on its second Orlando facility and was best known for serving hydroponically grown greens to the hospitality industry, including the Orlando World Center Marriott resort. One pandemic and countless restaurant shutdowns later, and Kalera had to pivot to keep business going. Earlier in 2020, the company struck a deal with Publix to sell its greens in the grocery mega-retailer’s supermarkets. The company now provides greens to both the food retail and hospitality sectors, a strategy it will take to Denver once its facility opens there.
Kalera’s farms use IoT, process automation, and cleanroom technology to grow leafy greens in a completely controlled environment without the use of pesticides. For now, the company is focused on leafy greens, which require less space to grow than other types of produce, making them ideal for the vertical farming format.
Kalera said in today’s press release it plans to open additional facilities around the U.S. as well as expand internationally.
Its rapid expansion comes at a time when indoor farming, whether vertical or another method, is attracting significant investment dollars. InFarm, which puts its small-scale farms inside the grocery store, raised $170 million in September, and Finnish startup iFarm raised $4 million in August. Also in August, a new company, called Unfold, raised $30 million to build out operations in the U.S.
Kalera’s Denver facility will open later in 2021 and, according to the company, create 60 new jobs in the area.