As companies examine their operations' sustainability, the last mile has come under particular scrutiny. Integral parts of the process like packing materials and delivery vehicles can be some of the most environmentally harmful parts of the supply chain.
FreshBox Farms is an indoor vertical farm located in Millis, Mass. Vertical farms offer a number of sustainability-related benefits, including minimizing water use and reducing food waste, a major environmental concern.
The farm grows leafy greens such as heirloom lettuce, arugula, and spinach for Boston-area grocers. FreshBox Farms' customers include Whole Foods and Roche Brothers.
As with other farms that deliver locally, FreshBox Farms' produce travels a relatively short distance -- in this case, about 30 miles from Millis to Boston, said Craig Ratajczyk, CEO of FreshBox Farms' parent company Crop One Holdings, which is located in Millis, Mass. This business model produces fewer last-mile emissions than shipping vegetables across the country. FreshBox Farms' delivery system could also increase customer satisfaction because the produce will stay fresh longer.
Crop One is also considering using electric delivery vehicles, Ratajczyk said. This would further reduce the company's carbon footprint in its last-mile logistics.