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US: Franchise opportunities and numerous projects throughout NY and NJ

"The resilience that gets created by having Green Food Solutions locations and Farm Amenities in cities is what is needed across the United States and globally. Imagine reducing the trucks needed in a city and the cost savings for road repair, as well as clearer air. The overall impact will come in time, transforming the food system one farm at a time," says Mary Wetherill, co-founder and CEO of Green Food Solutions (GFS), a New York-based agtech.

Since we last spoke with Mary, Green Food Solutions has been setting up multiple Farm Amenity® projects and more are on the horizon. Zooming in on three projects recently launched in New Jersey and New York, Mary talks us through the specifics.

Mary Wetherill

Expanding through franchising
GFS officially launched its franchise opportunity on May 10, 2024, which allows entrepreneurs to establish their own GFS businesses, extending the reach of sustainable farming solutions. "The franchise is an incredible opportunity for an entrepreneur interested in joining a winning brand in a growing industry for people, our planet, and profits," Mary emphasized.

The franchise offers expert support and training, multiple revenue streams, and a proven business system. "Benefits of franchising include being first to market in your community with a Farm Amenity business model, expert support and training, and the potential to grow and sell your business as a retirement plan," Mary added.

Interested parties can learn more about the franchise opportunity at the International Franchise Expo from May 30 to June 1 at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan or through monthly open houses at the Green Food Solutions office in Jersey City.

Green Food Solutions is dedicated to creating a food system with zero carbon emissions associated with transportation. "Every one of the Green Food Solutions farms we help start or service is fulfilling our mission to 'Empower a New Local Food System'," Mary stated. The company grows a variety of crops, including lettuces, leafy greens, herbs, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, and okra.

Harvesting time at the Edgecombe Residential Treatment Facility

Projects highlights
At the end of March, GFS launched a Farm Amenity at the Edgecombe Residential Treatment Facility, a minimum-security correctional facility. This project, completed in partnership with Growing Peace, includes two hydroponic growing systems: an 8-tower system and a rack system. "We are a fully comprehensive solution to getting a farm up and running with everything needed," Mary explained. "Growing Peace has the idea, selected our facility, raised the funds, and Green Food Solutions executes the project from start to finish," added Superintendent Seiveright Miller of the Edgecombe Residential Treatment Facility.

The food grown at this facility is provided to the chefs to offer healthy, local meals to the residents and the surrounding community for free. Green Food Solutions is also in talks to implement a workforce development training program for the facility's residents, offering them access to trade skills in the vertical farming industry. "Our first harvest was on April 29th, and we're excited about the positive impact this will have," Mary noted.

Liberty Towers, Jersey City, NJ

On May 17, Green Food Solutions celebrated the first harvest at Liberty Towers, a residential building in Jersey City, NJ. This installation features a 28-tower system with automated irrigation, environmental controls, and LED grow lights. "We have signed another annual contract with Veris Residential, a recurring customer who owns six other buildings with Green Food Solutions Farm Amenities," Mary shared.

YMYWHA Community Center, Washington Heights, NY
On May 22, a 108-plant port hydroponic wall system was installed at the YMYWHA Community Center in Washington Heights, a food desert area. The produce is distributed through a weekly public food stand. "Last year, they bought seven hydroponic tower systems, and this year we're expanding their capacity to grow food for their local, underserved community members," Mary highlighted.

Nellie's in Toronto, Ontario

Upcoming projects
Mary outlined several upcoming projects that will be launched across neighboring states and countries. Some are a lot closer, amongst others, for instance, the Albanese Organization will install Farm Amenities in three Manhattan residential buildings: The Verdesian, The Soliare in Battery Park, and The Vanguard in Chelsea. Each site will feature six towers and a rack system. "All the food is free for the residents, who get to learn about our food system and reconnect with how food is grown," Mary said.

The G.L.O.W. Program, associated with Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, will install growing systems across six campuses starting in August 2024. This program supports pregnant women with nutritional education and fresh produce. "We're partnering with nutritionists to provide education about vitamins and nutrients important for prenatal health," Mary explained. As well as Queensboro Correctional Facility in Long Island City will start growing food for the facility's kitchen in September 2024 where the GFS team will help and guide them.

As for outside the borders, Nellie's in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a shelter and advocacy non-profit for women and children, will receive a hydroponic growing wall and tower system in July 2024. Mary highlights that any parties interested in collaborating with Green Food Solutions' on projects or franchise opportunities visit them at the International Franchise Expo.

For more information:
Green Food Solutions
Mary Wetherill, Co-founder and CEO
[email protected]