US: Vertical grower wants to change the way consumers get their lettuce

When his grandfather moved to Montana from Denmark to grow dryland wheat in the mid-1900s, Craig Hurlbert's family didn't know they would one day spark a food revolution. But that's just what the co-CEO of Local Bounti aims to do today thanks to the company's modern techniques for growing time-tested vegetables, like lettuce.

The Montana-based food provider uses CEA to grow lettuce, herbs, and other leafy greens inside greenhouses that would otherwise be impossible to grow in the region. "Let's take a head of lettuce, for example. If you're in Montana today, it's a hundred degrees, with the humidity in Houston today, lettuce doesn't like 100 degrees, so you're not growing lettuce. Whatever lettuce you're getting is coming in from somewhere else," Hurlbert explains. "And yet, in our greenhouses today in Montana, we control the environment perfectly for whatever particular product we're growing."

According to Hurlbert, that ability to grow long-lasting vegetables in their harvest state regardless of climate might just be the key to our ever-growing, international food scarcity crisis.

"The food supply system that we have right now, especially with perishables, is stressed, I think. It's been ready for a technology-based disruption for quite some time. And I think controlled-environment agriculture generally, and Local Bounti specifically, is really stepping into a place to help people all over the world have a more reliable food-supply system," Hurlbert explains.

While they don't plan to move past leafy greens anytime soon, Hurlbert is confident his company will prove itself a trusted name when it comes to making your next salad. "It's exciting to be part of the solution on food safety, because, as you know, there are all these recalls on lettuce each year. And this just really goes a long way to alleviate that," he shares.

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