Technology: Southeast News

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Posted January 21, 2021

AppHarvest — an indoor farming company backed by Martha Stewart — thinks the agriculture sector is ripe for disruption. And now, its tomatoes are ripe for eating.

The Morehead, Kentucky-based company said Tuesday it has begun shipping beefsteak tomatoes to Kroger, Walmart, Publix and other grocers. Eventually, AppHarvest plans to ship 45 million pounds of tomatoes each year from its 60-acre indoor farm in Morehead.

AppHarvest is one of many players in the fast-growing field of indoor farming. Others include New York-based Gotham Greens, which has eight urban greenhouses across the U.S., and Plenty, a vertical farming startup in San Francisco. In a recent global survey, Agritecture Consulting — which works with urban farmers — found that at least 74 indoor farming companies were founded in 2020 alone.

The industry is getting a boost from high-tech farming techniques developed in the highly profitable cannabis industry, said Evan Lucas, an assistant professor at Northern Michigan University who heads its indoor agriculture program. Falling costs for LED lighting have also helped decrease the cost of operating indoor farms, he said.


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