Beanstalk, an indoor hydroponic farm in Fairfax County, plans to expand its operation, investing $2 million and creating 29 jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday.
Owners Mike and Jack Ross, brothers from Alexandria, started the business in 2018 and sell fresh salad mixes and fresh herbs to grocery stores and at farmers’ markets. The new facility, to be built in Herndon, will produce specialty herbs and pesticide-free leafy greens year-round with its proprietary hydroponic technology, Northam’s office said in a news release. In 2018, Jack Ross won the state’s STEM Catalyst Award for developing an automated indoor growing prototype, which later led to Beanstalk’s automated production system.
“Fairfax County is the perfect place for a startup like Beanstalk to put down roots and grow their company,” Northam said in a statement. “We are pleased to support a project that blends agriculture, Virginia’s oldest and largest industry, with technology, one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy. Innovative entrepreneurs like Mike and Jack Ross are demonstrating how STEM fields can help cultivate new techniques like hydroponics that make fresh produce more accessible.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) to secure the project for the commonwealth. Northam also approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Fairfax County will match with local funds. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will support job creation and training at no cost to the company.
“Jack and I are incredibly proud to be developing our technology and growing local produce in Virginia,” Michael Ross said in a statement. “Being ‘Virginia Grown’ ourselves, we are excited to be bringing new technology to the industry and new jobs to our home state.”