Service finances, builds and operates rooftop farms for grocers

BrightFarms is a New York company that designs, finances, builds and operates hydroponic supermarket greenhouse farms.


It’s not difficult to understand the appeal of urban gardening for locavores around the world, but the benefits for retailers are at least as compelling. We’ve already seen several such efforts by stores including Fortnum’s and Thornton’s Budgens, so it’s no great surprise to see the launch of a service enabling other shops to do much the same thing. Enter BrightFarms, a New York company that designs, finances, builds and operates hydroponic supermarket greenhouse farms.

Aiming to improve the environmental impact of the food chain, BrightFarms gives grocers the opportunity to offer their shoppers hyperlocally grown produce with a considerably reduced carbon footprint. Grocers need only sign a long-term contract to purchase the farm’s resulting produce, and are not required to pay anything toward the USD 1.5 to USD 2 million required to build the greenhouse. Rather, BrightFarms uses the resulting contract to finance the capital investment needed for the construction of the greenhouse, which is typically situated atop the supermarket roof but can also be on a nearby building or distribution center. Then, once the greenhouse is up and running, grocers simply offer the resulting produce — grown locally for superior taste and delivered within hours — to their customers. Each one-acre greenhouse can grow about 500,000 pounds of produce each year — for USD 1 million to USD 1.5 million in revenue — while saving 740 tons of carbon emissions, 430 pounds of pesticide and using nine times less water and 14 times less land, BrightFarms says. The video below explains the premise in more detail:

Since December 2010, ten supermarket chains have signed up to work with BrightFarms, including five of the top 50 national chains; the first three such commercial greenhouses will open in early 2012. Grocers far and wide — one to try yourselves!




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