For many years, Bowery Farming has positioned itself at the forefront of vertical farming in the U.S with farms in Kearny, NJ and Nottingham, Maryland. Now, the company is announcing the opening of its newest farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“Our new farm is a marriage between the modern farmer and technology. We’ve made a large investment into automation and other technologies to enable higher production per square meter and reduce food waste,” says Darren Thompson, Chief Financial Officer at Bowery.
According to Darren, the newest farm is similar in size to Bowery’s farm in Nottingham, Maryland and has created seventy jobs. Previous reports also estimate that the Bethlehem farm is within 200 miles of 50 million people, meaning that the farm is well positioned to significantly reduce food miles and food waste.
“We want consumers to understand that our brand stands for something. Our approach is resonating with consumers because it is pesticide-free, is fresher, is more nutritious and arrives to them shortly after being harvested. We also use clean energy in our farms and are 100 times more productive than outdoor farms,” explains Darren.
Retail presence increasing through e-commerce
In recent years, Bowery has secured numerous partnerships with large grocery partners including Walmart, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Albertsons, Fresh Direct and Giant. Bowery’s foray into online grocery shopping has allowed its products to reach a wider range of consumers and to continue proving its brand. As Darren notes, online shopping is a low-touch retail environment which means that consumers need to have confidence in what they are purchasing despite not being able to see or hold the product prior to buying it. With Bowery products, Darren is confident that consumers know what they are getting when they add the products to their online shopping carts.
“Consumers need to know what they are ordering online and having a strong brand helps that. Online grocery shopping is an important channel for growth and distribution,” says Darren.
Bowery products are currently available in more than 1,000 stores. The new Bethlehem site will grow the same crop categories as the Kearny and Nottingham locations: leafy greens and herbs.
Driven by data collection and transparency
As Darren explains, scaling up has been powered by technology and by keen investors. At Bowery locations, millions of data points are collected every day which are integrated into learning loop analytics to consistently improve crop growth and productivity. Developing these cornerstone technologies has been facilitated through Bowery’s investors, whose contributions are taken very seriously by the company.
“We take being stewards of the land and of investors’ capital very seriously. We are on a mission to grow efficiently and provide a level of transparency to investors that is unmatched in the industry,” says Darren.