RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Greenswell Growers, Inc. will invest more than $17 million to establish a new commercial hydroponic greenhouse operation in Goochland County’s West Creek Industrial Park. The company will create 27 new jobs in addition to internships and learning opportunities for Goochland County High School’s Career and Technical Education students.
The new hydroponic greenhouse is expected to produce nearly 3.7 million pounds of leafy greens for distribution in the mid-Atlantic during its first three years of full production. The facility will be able to produce 28 times more product per acre than a traditional growing operation and will be the fifth of its kind in the United States. The company has also committed to donating five percent of its production to area food banks, including Goochland Cares and Feed More, Virginia’s largest food bank.
“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,” said Governor Northam. “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.”
“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,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that the Commonwealth could partner with Greenswell Growers and Goochland County through the AFID program to improve access to locally grown produce for Virginians.”
“Greenswell Growers’ decision to establish a new greenhouse operation in Goochland County is a great win for the region and the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “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.”
Greenswell Growers will use a fully automated, indoor system with both natural and artificial light to produce leafy greens year-round, prioritizing food safety, freshness, consistency, and reliability. The company has worked with Dominion Energy to utilize 100 percent of its energy from zero carbon sources.
The company was established by Chuck Metzgar, who previously served as the Managing Director at William H. Mercer, Doug Pick, President and CEO at Feed More, and John May, President and CEO of the Center for Innovation and Development in Kilmarnock, Virginia.
“We believe that food has the power to change lives,” said Chuck Metzgar, Chairman of the board at Greenswell Growers. “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. We will accomplish this goal while at the same time using innovative packaging that reduces plastic and increases the shelf life of our product by over 200 percent.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture worked with Goochland County to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $130,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist Goochland County with the project, which the county will match with local funds. Funding and services to support the company’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“On behalf of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors, Economic Development Authority, and citizens of Goochland County, we are pleased to welcome Greenswell Growers to our large family of Goochland agricultural businesses,” said Chair of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors Susan Lascolette.” We truly believe that their unique operation will not only be successful for them, but will also be a success for the region, our local schools, and our regional food bank, and Feed More.”
“I’m excited about what this multi-million dollar investment will mean for consumers and their families in Goochland, the greater Richmond area, and across Virginia,” said Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. “As Chair of the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee, I’m also proud to see that this new facility will actively work to reduce plastic consumption and increase the shelf life of food products. I thank Greenswell Growers for recognizing the role Central Virginia can play in growing our economy and building the agricultural solutions of tomorrow.”
“I am excited to welcome Greenswell Growers as a new, innovative, and unique component of Goochland’s agricultural community,” said Senator Mark Peake. “Their integration with local schools to provide educational opportunities will help further Virginia’s economic growth.”
–Virginia Department of Agriculture