8NEWS, NICOLE DANTZLER
State and county leaders came together to celebrate the grand opening of a new indoor hydroponic greenhouse in Goochland County Friday morning.
Governor Ralph Northam, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and other government officials toured the 77,000 square foot facility which houses a hydroponic farm.
The indoor greenhouse grows leafy greens in water instead of soil and it uses an automated system with natural sunlight designed to produce 3.7 million pounds of greens over the next three years.
“Agriculture is a dynamic industry here in the state. As I mentioned, when you think about how it’s changed over time innovation has been part of it from the very beginning,” said Bettina Ring, the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in Virginia.
Carl Gupton, president of Greenswell Growers, said the company is partnering with Goochland County High School’s Career and Technical Education Center and the school district to provide internship opportunities.
They’re also donating five percent of their production to area food banks.
“It’s just amazing seeing what we can do here, the sustainability that we’ve got with our group,” he said.
Governor Northam said this can help combat food insecurity in Virginia.
“For Greenswell to work with our local food banks and make sure that everybody has access to good nutrition to fresh nutrition is a big, big deal,” he said.
Greenswell Growers invested $17 million in the project and secured a $130,000 grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which the county’s board of supervisors matched.
Northam said the company will initially create 27 jobs and over the next three years they plan to expand further.