Sunny Farms will invest $59.6 million to establish a state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse for production, workforce development, and research in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Sunny Farms will establish its growing, cleaning, and packaging operation in three phases over 36 months. The company will construct a 120,000-square-foot greenhouse (three acres under glass) with production focused on lettuce and other leafy greens in its first phase. Phase two will expand the facility to 640,000 square feet (16 acres), and phase three will complete the facility at 1.2 million square feet (32 acres) total with capacity for leafy greens and a variety of vegetables. Upon completion, this facility will be one of the largest greenhouses on the East Coast.
“Raised in the rural farming community of Pungo, my roots run deep in this area,” said Jim Arnhold, Cofounder of Sunny Farms. “Virginia Beach is our home, we understand the people, the market, and the opportunity presented in locating a large-scale hydroponic farm facility within Virginia’s most populated city. Farm-to-table has never been a shorter journey. As a long-term member of the real estate and development community, I’ve witnessed the erosion of crop and food production within Virginia Beach. Sunny Farms’ highly productive and clean growing initiative makes sense for our area, and we’re proud to be leading the way.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, City of Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads Alliance, and Virginia Tech to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist the City of Virginia Beach with the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.
“Securing this impactful new project is a reflection of our Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting innovative companies like Sunny Farms that are pushing boundaries in agricultural development,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Together with One Matters and our higher education institutions, we are laying the foundation for significant long-term economic and workforce opportunities that will help lift up underserved Virginians in Hampton Roads. I commend all partners involved in making this announcement a reality and am confident Sunny Farms will grow and thrive at its home in Virginia Beach.”