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Vertical Harvest Farms Bags $59.5 Million for New Hydroponic Farm in Westbrook, Maine

Courtesy Vertical Harvest Farms
Courtesy Vertical Harvest Farms

Indoor farming company Vertical Harvest Farms, has successfully secured $59.5 million in project financing to construct a 51,000-square-foot hydroponic vertical farm in downtown Westbrook, Maine. This investment marks a significant advancement in local sustainable agriculture and inclusivity in the workforce.

The Project Overview

The new facility aims to produce about 2.5 million pounds of fresh leafy greens annually, including mature lettuce, petite greens, microgreens, and herbs. This initiative directly supports the New England Food Vision, aiming for local production of 30 percent of the food consumed in the region by 2030, scaling up to 50 percent by 2060. Vertical Harvest emphasizes a "feed locals first" philosophy, ensuring that the produce reaches consumers' fridges within 24 hours of harvest, significantly reducing nutritional loss and food waste.

Social and Economic Impact

Vertical Harvest is not only focused on sustainable food production but also on providing meaningful employment opportunities. The company is dedicated to employing individuals with disabilities, thereby promoting inclusivity within the burgeoning tech-forward agricultural sector. Nona Yehia, CEO of Vertical Harvest, expressed the company's mission to make food local, fresh, and fair, ensuring inclusivity in the future of food production.

Funding and Partnerships

The project funding includes a combination of loans and grants:

  • A $25 million and a $23,795,000 loan backed by USDA Rural Development Business & Industry Loan Guarantees and Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans, respectively.

  • A $8,655,189 Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) loan, the first of its kind in Maine, administered by the Efficiency Maine Green Bank and issued through Nuveen Green Capital.

  • $2,000,000 of funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) through the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME).

Additional support comes from borrower and partner contributions totaling $19,189,210, with involvement from organizations like Crossroads Impact Corp, Enhanced Capital, Foundation Credit, Waterside Commercial Finance, Maine Technology Institute, among others.

Looking Ahead

The Westbrook project is part of a broader strategy to use public-private partnerships to enhance local food systems and demonstrate the scalability of Vertical Harvest's business model. The success of this financing model, previously piloted in Wyoming, paves the way for future farms, including a planned facility in Detroit, Michigan, developed in partnership with Bedrock.

This initiative by Vertical Harvest Farms exemplifies a shift towards more sustainable and inclusive practices in urban agriculture, potentially setting a precedent for future projects across the country. The integration of advanced agricultural technologies with a strong social mission positions Vertical Harvest as a leader in the indoor farming industry, driving forward both economic and community development in Maine and beyond.


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