Vertical farm to establish operations in eastern Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett announced recently that Green Spirit Farms LLC, a sustainable vertical farm, will establish operations in Lackawanna County and create at least 101 new jobs.

Combined with the recent Sallie Mae and Maximus expansions that will create a projected 1,000 new Northeastern Pennsylvania jobs, Green Spirit Farms’ expansion is the third major regional jobs announcement in two weeks.

The plan

Green Spirit Farms LLC will establish a vertical farm system that will grow leafy vegetables, peppers and tomatoes in East Benton Township, Lackawanna County. The company is projected to invest more than $27 million to acquire an existing 300,000-square-foot building and is expected to create at least 101 jobs.

A vertical farm does not grow plants down on the ground. The Green Spirit Farms Vertical Growing System uses industrial racking systems, and with the correct full spectrum induction lights can grow plants up in four or five levels.

The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.

Funding

GSF partnered with the Department of Community and Economic Development to receive a $300,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, $303,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits and a $45,450 Guaranteed Free Training grant to be used to train its new workforce.

Lackawanna County and the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce also collaborated on this project.

Background

GSF was formed in 2011 to commercialize rotary and vertical farming systems using patented, patent pending and proprietary growing systems and techniques to grow local, sustainable vegetables, herbs and some fruits using less water and less energy than traditional greenhouse or hydroponic applications.

The goal of GSF is to develop local vertical farms in Brownfield sites using carbon neutral or renewable energy when practical as well as use compostable and/or recycled packaging for their produce sold to retail customers.

For more information, visit Green Spirit Farms LLC at www.greenspiritfarms.com.

4 Comments

  1. I believe that the information provided by GSF, LLC is very misleading in calling their production system “sustainable”. From the information they provide in their website, there is no natural sunlight used for growing the crop at all. Where is the electricity coming from to operate the huge electrical and cooling load of the vertical farm? While it is true that supplemental lighting is needed in PA to grow year-round, greenhouses still rely on natural sunlight for most of their photsynthesis. Using fossil fuel and relatively inneficient solar energy to light and cool a vertical farm warehouse year-round must generate much higher levels of carbon dioxide than the crops being raised inside will ever be able to convert back to plant matter.

    • Brian David Palmer says:

      WTF are you babbling about? It’s a HUGE factory that was built about 10 years ago and never opened when the company decided to go south of the border. They obviously are not morons like you and have figured out the power will be sufficient, and I would hope so. I think a factory with huge equipment and operations would require much more power than a few lights and sprinklers. The building is mostly glass almost like a giant green house really. Use your brain and do some research if you don’t know the area and have a clue what you are talking about. You have some serious issues don’t you. It’s a company wanting to make and keep jobs in the U.S. in a abandoned empty building.

      • I will be happy to review their numbers if you think I am mistaken in my calculations. Are you an investor in the project? Have you seen a 10 year proforma of the business? Do not underestimate the amount of electricity needed for lighting, it is tremendous! probably much more than the factory would have ever used!

      • BTW – I am the assitant director for a center in New Jersey that does year -round greenhouse production using natural and artificial lighting. I have a lot to learn but I do know a few things about growing plants indoors and in greenhouses.

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