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Fast Company: BrightFarms » Smartest place to grow food for cities may be just outside of them



The Future Of Urban Farming Might Actually Be Suburban Farming

After dealing with the high costs and logistical nightmares of developing in urban areas, one farming startup realized that they could streamline their process by moving just a bit outside the city limits.

 

Fast Company Co.Exist
By Adele Peters

When the urban farming startup BrightFarms first launched, it envisioned building its hydroponic greenhouses directly on grocery store roofs and on vacant city lots. Now, it says that the smartest place to grow food for cities may be just outside of them.

The company’s newest site will be in the town of Wilmington, Ohio. With a population of only 12,459, it’s not the target market. But it’s near Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, which together have a population over a million people.

BrightFarms also has greenhouses in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Culpeper County, Virginia; and Rochelle, Illinois—all also near, but not in, large cities. The new strategy lets the company avoid the costs and challenges of working on urban sites, while still providing a local version of foods like salad greens that would normally travel thousands of miles.

“Like most good strategies, it was driven by some painful experiences,” Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms, tells Co.Exist. “Basically, we had a couple of failures. We tried to develop a giant rooftop of a building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and we also tried to develop an environmentally soiled parcel of land in the city of Washington D.C., owned by the city.”

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Portfolio News

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Portfolio News

Catalyst-backed Datavail acquires AdvancedEPM Consulting

Catalyst portfolio company Datavail, a leading provider of managed services for database management, analytics, and application life cycle management, acquired AdvancedEPM Consulting, an Oracle Platinum Partner focused on Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions. The acquisition is part of Datavail’s growth strategy to build on its core capabilities in data and application operation and integration. AdvancedEPM’s expertise in Oracle application cloud implementation and customization will be combined with Datavail’s expertise to create an end-to-end application life cycle offering to support the Oracle EPM solution stack.

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