US (NY): Upward Farms to lay off 78 employees and close Williamsburg facility

"Upward Farms, a vertical farm in East Williamsburg, NY that grows salad greens using aquaponics, appears to be pulling the plug," writes Crain's New York Business. 

VerticalFarmDaily reached out to Upward Farms for any comment, yet they said they don't have anything to share at the moment. 

According to Crain's, Upward Farms will lay off 78 employees and close on June 15, according to a layoff notice filed with the state Monday. In addition to producing microgreens, the Brooklyn facility, a single-story building at 181 Lombardy St., also raises a type of striped bass. 

Sme of Upward’s clients, including Greenpoint Fish and Lobster, were unaware of the news of the job cuts when contacted. The 10-year-old Upward has enjoyed $142 million in financing across six funding rounds, according to CrunchBase. Whole Foods became a buyer in 2021, and Hamptons hotspot Nick and Toni's is apparently also a fan of the company's produce. 

The company has big expansion plans. For months it's been developing a 250,000-square-foot indoor farm, apparently the largest of its kind in the world, at an industrial site in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania. The farm, which requires a $160 million build-out by Upward, is set to open this year. That location is also supposed to generate 125 full-time jobs when up and running.

The layoff announcement, which came through a state WARN notice, describes Upward as a firm focused on team-building using ziplines, though the notice appears to confuse Upward Farms with Upward Enterprises, a company based in Maryland that does not have any New York presence.

Source: Crain's New York Business

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