$17M greenhouse coming to Goochland County
Greenswell Growers investment to create 27 jobs
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that Greenswell Growers Inc. will invest more than $17 million to build a commercial hydroponic greenhouse in Goochland County, creating 27 jobs.
“Greenswell Growers’ decision to establish a new greenhouse operation in Goochland County is a great win for the region and the commonwealth,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “As we focus on economic recovery in Virginia, the company’s significant investment, new job opportunities and commitment to the local community will make a positive impact.”
The greenhouse, to be located in Goochland County’s West Creek Industrial Park, is expected to produce 3.7 million pounds of leafy greens during its first three years of operation. The facility — the fifth of its kind in the U.S. — will be able to produce 28 times more product per acre than a traditional growing operation, according to Northam’s announcement.
The greenhouse will also offer internship and learning opportunities for Goochland County High School’s Career and Technical Education students and will donate 5% of its production to local food banks.
“Indoor, hydroponic agriculture is a growing industry nationwide, and thanks to companies like Greenswell Growers, the commonwealth is well-positioned to remain a leader in agricultural innovation,” Northam said in a statement. “We are deeply grateful for the company’s commitment to vocational training for Virginia students, supplying fresh produce to our local food banks, and utilizing energy from a low carbon grid.”
Greenswell Growers will use a fully automated, indoor system to produce the crops year-round and is working with Dominion Energy Inc. to use 100% of its energy from zero carbon sources.
“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, and companies like Greenswell Growers are using innovations in agriculture to extend the growing season making Virginia-grown products available all year,” Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring said in a statement.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture worked with Goochland County to secure the project for Virginia and Northam approved a $130,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist Goochland County with the project. Funding and recruiting services will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
Greenswell Growers was established by Chuck Metzgar, previous managing director with William H. Mercer; Doug Pick, Feed More president and CEO; and John May, president and CEO of the Center for Innovation and Development.
“We believe that food has the power to change lives,” Metzgar said in a statement. “Greenswell Growers is proud to bring our large-scale indoor growing facility to Goochland where we will provide delicious, safe, and sustainably grown leafy greens that are good for our community — while giving back to our community.”