PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — AeroFarms is set to create 66 new jobs and produce more freshly-grown leafy greens as part of a major operational expansion of its Pittsylvania County vertical farm.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office says this 138,670 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at the Cane Creek Centre — a joint industrial park owned by Danville and Pittsylvania County — is the world’s largest indoor vertical farm of its kind.

“Virginia continues to be the premier location for companies using technology and innovation to become leaders in their industry by generating massive benefits to consumers and investors,” Youngkin said in a statement on Tuesday, July 26. “I want to thank AeroFarms for their continued commitment to the Commonwealth and commend Danville-Pittsylvania County for their cooperative and highly-effective approach to economic development that will create new jobs and economic opportunities for Virginians.”

According to officials, the 66 new jobs are in addition to the 92 jobs former Gov. Ralph Northam already pledged would be available at AeroFarms.

This expansion is reportedly driven by the company’s decision to expand production to meet increased customer demand.

Tuesday’s statement says that the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the Virginia Department of Economic Development (VEDP), and Pittsylvania County worked together to secure this project for the Commonwealth. 

In addition, the governor’s office says Youngkin approved a $33,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund — which Pittsylvania County will match with local funds — and the company is eligible to receive state benefits from Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Virginia Enterprise Zone Job Creation Grant program.

“Founded in 2004 and headquartered in New Jersey, AeroFarms is a purpose-driven company, with a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. AeroFarms has been leading the way to elevate agriculture with people and the planet in mind, helping address climate change by enabling local production with no pesticides ever to grow safe, nutritious, and delicious food all year round,” officials said. “AeroFarms is both a change-the-world technology company and an award-winning brand that is reimagining the way food is grown and celebrating its full FlavorSpectrum™ of flavorful possibilities.”

According to the governor’s office, the new AeroFarms indoor vertical farm will mainly distribute primarily to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast markets, with the ability to reach approximately 50 million people within a day’s drive and over 1,000 retailers such as Ahold Delhaize, Amazon Fresh, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, Weee!, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market.

In Tuesday’s statement, the following lawmakers and business leaders shared their thoughts on AeroFarms’ expansion:

“Technology has always been the central force driving agriculture forward. This is especially true in the fast-growing indoor agriculture industry, which has the potential to revolutionize how much of our food is produced. We are grateful that AeroFarms continues to choose Virginia as a partner in bringing this exciting technology to scale and look forward to their continued growth and success in the Commonwealth.”

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matt Lohr

“The agriculture industry continues to play a significant role in the growth of Virginia’s economy, and we congratulate AeroFarms on the expansion of its state-of-the-art facility in Pittsylvania County. The Commonwealth’s innovative corporate partners are making major technology advancements in this important sector, and we look forward to AeroFarms’ next chapter of growth.”

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick

“We want to thank Governor Youngkin and the entire State of Virginia for their tremendous support in bringing AeroFarms to Danville, and Danville-Pittsylvania County. There is an incredible spirit of partnership here that made us feel right at home as we built our latest world-class commercial indoor vertical farm to serve the community with fresh, safely grown, nutritious, and delicious leafy greens all year round.”

David Rosenberg, co-founder and CEO of AeroFarms

“As one of the global leaders in indoor vertical farming, AeroFarms is a truly innovative and successful company, and I am so pleased that they are continuing to grow their operations right here in Pittsylvania County. It is always special when an existing local company commits to continuing to grow and invest in our community. To have AeroFarms choose to continue expanding here is a testament to both the success and strong market position of the company and to the great business environment we have developed here in Danville and Pittsylvania County. Congratulations AeroFarms!”

Vic Ingram, chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors and chairman of the Pittsylvania County Regional Industrial Facility Authority

“With the tremendous growth and success AeroFarms is experiencing, we are thrilled with their announcement of additional new jobs. It demonstrates their commitment that Danville-Pittsylvania County is an excellent location to do business. Their ability to adapt production to fill the market demands for the freshest, most flavorful leafy greens speaks to the vision and insight of the company. We are truly grateful AeroFarms will employ so many people in our community.”

Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones

“AeroFarms’ innovative approach to indoor farming has transformed the industry for nearly two decades. Their location in one of the Commonwealth’s strongest agricultural regions, adjacent to the research capabilities of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Virginia Tech’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center further illustrates their commitment to keep the company on the cusp of new innovation to catapult the growth of vertical farming. We are excited about their continued growth and appreciate their commitment to grow in Danville-Pittsylvania.”

Linda Green, executive director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance

“By creating high-paying, technically-demanding agricultural jobs in our community, AeroFarms is proving that agriculture is not just part of this region’s history, but will continue to be an important part of its future as well. I am proud of the work we have done over the years to promote both our agricultural economy and invest in the high-tech jobs of the future, so it is especially rewarding when an industry-leading company like AeroFarms recognizes the value of these investments by committing to furthering their growth in southside.”

State Sen. Frank Ruff.

“I was excited in 2019 when AeroFarms first announced they would be establishing the world’s biggest and most advanced indoor vertical farm in the Danville-Pittsylvania region, but I am even more pleased to hear that the company is already expanding. Economic development is more than just winning big projects, it is about supporting the companies you already have and creating an environment that is conducive to their growth. I am proud to see that our region does both and that now our communities, our Commonwealth and especially our working families, are benefiting.”

Del. Danny Marshall