By “underserved populations” we mean those who struggle to find meaningful work and upwardly mobile career opportunities. While the team in our flagship Jackson, Wyoming farm comprises community members with developmental disabilities (such as those with Autism and Down Syndrome), our model can work with other forgotten workforces, such as formerly incarcerated citizens and immigrants seeking asylum.
Vertical Harvest energizes local food systems via hydroponic, vertical, controlled environmental agriculture (CEA) to deliver healthier food and futures. We work with communities to develop underutilized space in urban, underserved neighborhoods, grow “up” on a fraction of the land required by traditional agriculture, while using 85% less water to deliver our produce at peak flavor and nutrition, year-round. We prioritize both our social impact and profitability, by leveraging a mix of public/private partnerships and operating with a customized, inclusive employment model currently focused on individuals with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Additionally, we ensure each farm innovates at the intersection of climate, food accessibility and economic inclusivity to leverage food as a medium for change. Our goal is to develop a network of farms that serve locally, support regionally and scale nationally to bring food production closer to home and keep local dollars in-community longer.
How do you define underserved communities?
Why vertical farms vs traditional farms?
While we are not seeking to replace local organic farms, the reality of farming as a business is that it must evolve. And, not simply due to water and land shortages. The increasing frequency of natural disasters and the rising global temperature are putting outdoor agriculture productivity at risk. Vertical farming can contribute to reducing hunger in the future by ensuring a stable and constant supply of food that is not weather-dependent.
Why are you focusing on urban areas?
Urban areas lack the space needed for local communities to grow their own food. As a result, cities are the largest importers of food. By introducing viable methods to increase their internal food supply, vertical farming can help cities to reduce their negative impact on the environment and become more sustainable and self-sufficient. Vertical Harvest is a scalable Controlled Environment Agricultural (CEA) operation that can increase productivity and production on very small urban plots of land.
What makes Vertical Harvest a leader in the vertical farming industry?
Many of our competitors are building large, low-margin, mass-market farms outside of cities. By going tall, Vertical Harvest is building hyper-local, high-margin farms on less land in urban centers. Additionally, Vertical Harvest utilizes 50% less energy than traditional vertical farming by using greenhouse methods and optimizing natural light. On top of that, we have:
• Proven experience: 4 years operating the FIRST vertical greenhouse in the US
• A diversified crop portfolio: adaptable to local market needs and demands
• Multi-channel sales: direct to consumer, wholesale, and food service
• Social impact focus: “Grow Well” employment model to address career development
Yeah, but is the produce tasty?
You bet! We grow mighty microgreens that pack an intense, concentrated flavor and a nutritional punch. Our fast-growing lettuces and greens taste exceptionally fresh as we can deliver them 365 days a year, farm to fork in 24 hours, at the peak of their nutritional and taste value.
How can I help?
We are so glad you asked! Discover how you can get involved here.