Bowery Farming, a major vertical farming company, opened its largest, most technologically advanced and sustainable commercial smart farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Transforming a former Bethlehem brownfield from a non-arable industrial site into modern farmland, the company’s newest commercial farm lays the groundwork for the next chapter in climate-smart agriculture.
The Bethlehem Farm features industry-leading technological advancements and pioneering sustainability initiatives and is the key to accelerating expansion of the company’s network of farms across the U.S. With this blueprint, Bowery has created a replicable system to grow food wherever and whenever it is needed as it continues its growth trajectory.“If we’ve learned anything from the past two years, it is that we are in a period of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty across our climate and geopolitical circumstances, which unfortunately is going to persist. We are also seeing firsthand that our global food system is inextricably tied to these dynamics,” says Irving Fain, founder and CEO, Bowery Farming. “At Bowery, wherever food is needed, we can grow it. We are addressing the challenges in our system by growing food smarter for more people in more places—and that work, securing food for our future, continues today with the opening of our Bethlehem Farm.”
Bowery’s Bethlehem Farm is powered with 100% renewable energy and features 15% more efficient LED lighting. A state-of-the-art water recapture and filtration system has been custom-built to harness even the water that is transpired from the plants, and ensure the highest-quality food safety standards. The BoweryOS, combined with proprietary farm design, custom hardware, AI, data and robotics, has increased the speed of farm operations and processing allowing the company to continue to grow more food smarter. Critically, these learnings will be applied across Bowery’s network of farms in the future.
Bowery’s Bethlehem Farm will bring fresh produce to a population of 50 million people within a 200-mile radius of the farm via regional retail customers including Whole Foods Market, Giant of Landover and Albertsons Companies’ stores, as well as e-commerce partners like Amazon Fresh. Working with local distributors, including Four Seasons Produce, Bowery produce will be available to specialty and independent grocery partners throughout the region, like local grocer Gerrity’s in Bethlehem.
“In addition to bringing at least 70 jobs to Bethlehem, Bowery Farming is innovating to feed the future and fight food insecurity. This project is a win for agriculture and a win for Pennsylvanians,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at the opening ceremony. “I’m proud to have invested in Bowery to help them set roots in the commonwealth and grow a sustainable, food-secure future for us all.”
Bowery has partnered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of a larger redevelopment project at the site of the flagship plant of the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Bethlehem, in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII. This farm will create more than 70 full-time, year-round green jobs with no prior farming or agricultural experience required. Bowery is also building relationships within the Lehigh Valley community; through a partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania, Bowery will donate fresh produce to address food access and insecurity within the community. In Bethlehem and beyond, Bowery is committed to playing a prominent role in strengthening the local and regional food systems, contributing to economic revitalization and democratizing access to fresh produce.
Now serving more than 1,000 grocery stores, Bowery has raised more than $647 million to date, including a Series C equity round of $325 million in 2021 and a $150 million credit facility led by KKR earlier this year. The company is also on track to double its revenue again in 2022 for the second year in a row. Leaders in indoor plant science innovation, Bowery’s world-class R&D team is accelerating groundbreaking science at scale, developing new cultivars specifically designed for Bowery’s proprietary growing system, while also operating the first on-site breeding program for a vertical farming company.
Bowery is on track to double its number of farms by 2023, and to continue the diversification of its pesticide-free produce portfolio, unlocking new possibilities in food. Two additional farms in the Atlanta, Georgia, and Dallas, Texas, metropolitan regions are currently under construction to meet increasing demand for Bowery’s local, safer, and more sustainably grown Protected Produce, helping to alleviate the strains food insecurity puts on the U.S. food supply and economy.
Founded in 2015, Bowery Farming is on a mission to democratize access to high-quality, local, safe, and sustainable produce. Bowery builds smart indoor farms near cities, growing fresher, pesticide-free Protected Produce with bold flavor in precisely controlled environments, 365 days a year. At the heart of the farm is the proprietary BoweryOS, which integrates software, hardware, sensors, AI, computer vision systems, machine learning models, and robotics to orchestrate and automate the entirety of its operations. As a result, each farm creates far less waste and uses a fraction of the water and land compared to traditional agriculture.
Based in New York City, Bowery serves major e-commerce platforms and more than 1,000 grocery stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, including Albertsons Companies (Safeway and Acme), Amazon Fresh, Giant Food, Walmart, Wakefern, Weis, Whole Food Markets, and specialty grocers, with produce that’s harvested year-round at peak freshness, delivered within days of harvest.