MOREHEAD, Ky. — AppHarvest announced Thursday that food entrepreneur and icon Martha Stewart, Impossible Foods CFO David Lee, and best-selling author and investor J.D. Vance, have joined the company’s board of directors as it prepares to open one of the world’s largest indoor farms this fall in Morehead.
Starting with non-GMO tomatoes, AppHarvest’s farms will provide freshly grown American fruits and vegetables for national grocers, meeting the enormous and growing demand for locally grown produce amidst the supply chain challenges created by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Inspired by the belief that the technology already exists today to grow dramatically more food, with far fewer resources, AppHarvest’s indoor farms reduce the need for acreage, use no harmful pesticides, lessen fuel used in shipping, and are the first of their size that will rely entirely on recycled rainwater for all water needs. AppHarvest’s closed-loop water system eliminates agricultural runoff common in open-field agriculture. This is critical as the U.S. ramps up efforts to secure food systems that can withstand health and climate disruptions.
“It’s time for agriculture in America to change,” said AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb. “The pandemic has demonstrated the need to establish more resilient food systems, and our work is on the forefront of that effort. Eastern Kentucky, with its central U.S. location, provides the perfect place to build AppHarvest’s indoor farms while also providing much needed jobs to a ready workforce.”
AppHarvest’s 2.76-million-s.f. controlled environment agriculture facility has already created 100 construction jobs and will create more than 300 full-time permanent jobs for residents of Eastern Kentucky, where 44 percent more residents are unemployed than the national average.
With its vision to create America’s AgTech capital in Appalachia, AppHarvest has been recognized for its focus on social good. The company has been certified by the independent non-profit B Lab as a B Corporation, passing a rigorous audit of its sustainability practices.
AppHarvest is also announcing the hires of Marcella Butler as the company’s first chief people officer, Jackie Roberts as its first chief sustainability officer, and Geof Rochester as its first chief marketing officer.
AppHarvest’s board and staff additions come as the company closes its $28 million Series C funding round. Combined with the company’s prior funding rounds, including project financing, AppHarvest has attracted more than $150 million in investment in just over two years.
The Series C funding round will allow the company to continue to recruit top-tier talent from around the globe as it prepares to build additional farms throughout Central Appalachia.
To learn more about the newest additions to AppHarvest’s board, check out the full article published by The Lane Report.