US (ME): Partnership to enhance local food production in Maine

Vertical Harvest Maine and Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods, both based in Westbrook, teamed up in a partnership to substantially increase the distribution of locally grown, fresh and nutritional produce in the State of Maine.

Vertical Harvest Maine will be Maine’s first vertical urban hydroponic farm when it opens in 2022 as part of a master-planned development spearheaded by The Day Brothers, TDB, LLC, (TDB) in a public private partnership with the City of Westbrook. The project is multifaceted and includes Vertical Harvest’s 70,000-square foot urban farm which will produce specialty greens, microgreens, herbs and lettuces at commercial scale, co-located with 60 residential housing units, retail space, and a parking garage that is free to the public.

Greg Day, TDB President said, “Native Maine provides the
infrastructure and customer base to distribute the produce that will
be grown in the urban center of Westbrook. They are a critical
partner in this project and a strategic alliance towards the goal of
becoming less reliant on imported produce and keeping nutritious
food and jobs here in Maine. It’s a natural fit and we are absolutely
delighted to have them on board.”

Partnership for perpetuity
Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods President Vinnie Caliendo said, “We are very excited about Vertical Harvest coming to Westbrook, and the model they represent. Maine will have a producer that can provide high-quality and nutritious greens year-round and Native Maine will be here to distribute it throughout the state and beyond. The samples from their Jackson, Wyoming Greenhouse were among the finest quality ever tasted and we look forward to sharing their product with everyone in the state. This is a partnership to last in
perpetuity.”

Nona Yehia, CEO of Vertical Harvest Farms stated, “In Westbrook, we see this model for food production, urban housing and infrastructure as being adaptable to other urban areas across the country. The big picture is about re-defining and transforming food production and work environments that meet the needs of community, underserved, under
resourced populations whether its individuals or entire urban areas. This is a social and environmental impact model to energize cities and serve the needs of its residents for generations to come.”

Vertical Harvest is a leader in the industry for controlled environmental agriculture. The company was recognized earlier this year by Fast Company in the annual World’s Best Ideas issue for the categories of Social Justice, Food and Best Idea North America; CNN’s “10 Champions for Change” and NBC’s Today Show for their profitable business model that strengthens food security while addressing social justice issues by growing nutritious food, creating good jobs, and providing affordable housing in communities that need all three.

The City of Westbrook’s Director of Economic Development, Dan Stevenson, has been a leader for this project and commented, “This is a true public/private partnership project that offers free, covered, public parking. Growing produce from a vertical farm in downtown Westbrook year-round demonstrates how diverse the City’s economic
development has become. This project will be a catalyst for future innovative development and, in the more immediate future, will increase foot traffic downtown, boosting business.”

“This project exemplifies the goals and vision of Maine’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “The Vertical Harvest project is helping to drive
agricultural innovation in our state, which helps to grow our economy in a sustainable way. We know that innovation in our food economy is an area of opportunity for Maine. We also know that Vertical Harvest will provide good-paying jobs to its workers, and companies like
Vertical Harvest will help attract talented workers to Maine.” TDB expects to break ground early fall 2021.

For more information:
Nona Yehia, CEO and co-founder
Vertical Harvest
info@verticalharvestfarms.com
https://verticalharvestfarms.com 

 

Native Maine Produce
www.nativeme.com

 

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