FLORENCE, Ky. — A large investment in northern Kentucky will bring organic, sustainable food right to the customer’s table, and create many new jobs in the region.
Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., toured the new 80 Acres Farms facility in Florence before its grand opening. Beshear said the vertical farming facility is a nearly $100,000 investment.
Picture taking a field, stacking it on top of another field and another field, and so on, and that’s what vertical farming is, said 80 Acres CEO and Co-Founder Mike Zelkind.
The facility can grow food year round that can end up on a customer’s table within a day of harvest. Zelkind said the food is natural, healthy, GMO-free and sustainable, and also not as vulnerable to breaks in the supply chain as other produce seen in a grocery store.
Beshear said it’s a game changer for Kentucky.
“With the amount that we need to increase our food production over the coming decades, there’s going to be enough work for everybody. So I think our family farmers should continue to learn the best and the newest practices. Take advantage of what’s out there to make sure they can better provide for their families. But there’s no question that this is needed. This is needed to provide cost effective produce and food to our families,” he said.
This is the company’s ninth farm, and its first in Kentucky. While 80 Acres has had layoffs within the last year, Zelkind said the new facility comes with over 100 new jobs, and that vertical farming is a sustainable model.
“If you can make it at the right cost, using the right technology and get it to the right consumers, if the product performs as it does, because it makes you feel great, pesticide free, clean, super fresh, and you can sell it, then the model works,” he said.
The grand opening for the facility is set for Sept. 13 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.