BrightFarms = Bright Future?

Via, a quick review of BrightFarms:

Paul Lightfoot is a “supply-chain guy” and environmentalist with a plan to deliver fresher produce at lower cost to more retailers, reports Jane Black in Fast Company (Jul/Aug 12). His enterprise is called BrightFarms and his plan is “to build and manage hydroponic greenhouses on store rooftops, parking garages and empty lots. There, farmers trained by BrightFarms will grow tomatoes, lettuce and a mix of herbs — which can be delivered directly to shelves after harvesting.” This will not only provide fresher produce to shoppers, but also reduce waste and spoilage for retailers. It promises greater price stability to boot, as the goods won’t be subject to hikes because of a “drought in California” or a “freeze in Florida,” for instance.

BrightFarms doesn’t charge the retailers anything to “to build the farms. Instead, they sign a 10-year contract to purchase their lettuce, tomatoes and herbs from BrightFarms, with a guarantee that prices will never exceed average inflation. According to BrightFarms’s projections, if future price increases mimic historical patterns, its produce will cost a fraction of market rate by 2030. In an industry where margins average just one percent to two percent per year, those savings would have a significant impact on grocers’ profits.”

So far, BrightFarms “has deals with more than a half-dozen chains” including one with “Oklahoma City-based grocer Homeland, which signed a deal to put a 40,000 square-foot farm atop a parking lot adjacent to one of its stores.” Says Homeland CEO Darryl Fitzgerald: “Our banner is ‘a fresh experience … And it doesn’t get any fresher than growing it next door.” Other BrightFarms clients include “McCaffrey’s, an upscale New Jersey chainlet.” BrightFarms also “has letters of intent with 13 other retailers and will be building a 100,000-square-foot farm in Brooklyn, New York, that will grow up to a million pounds of produce each year.”

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About This Blog And Its Author
As potential uses for building and parking lot roofspace continue to grow, unique opportunities to understand and profit from this trend will emerge. Roof Options is committed to tracking the evolving uses of roof estate – spanning solar power, rainwater harvesting, wind power, gardens & farms, “cooling” sites, advertising, apiculture, and telecom transmission platforms – to help unlock the nascent, complex, and expanding roofspace asset class.

Educated at Yale University (Bachelor of Arts - History) and Harvard (Master in Public Policy - International Development), Monty Simus has held a lifelong interest in environmental and conservation issues, primarily as they relate to freshwater scarcity, renewable energy, and national park policy. Working from a water-scarce base in Las Vegas with his wife and son, he is the founder of Water Politics, an organization dedicated to the identification and analysis of geopolitical water issues arising from the world’s growing and vast water deficits, and is also a co-founder of SmartMarkets, an eco-preneurial venture that applies web 2.0 technology and online social networking innovations to motivate energy & water conservation. He previously worked for an independent power producer in Central Asia; co-authored an article appearing in the Summer 2010 issue of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal, titled: “The Water Ethic: The Inexorable Birth Of A Certain Alienable Right”; and authored an article appearing in the inaugural issue of Johns Hopkins University's Global Water Magazine in July 2010 titled: “H2Own: The Water Ethic and an Equitable Market for the Exchange of Individual Water Efficiency Credits.”