A firm that finances, builds and operates greenhouse farms, BrightFarms Inc., will build a 38,000-square-foot greenhouse at the J&J Distributing site in St. Paul, Minn, with the combination creating an estimated 66 Twin Cities jobs.
J.J. Distributing will package and distribute the produce to supermarkets and retailers. "Partnering with BrightFarms supports our commitment to source the freshest and most flavorful produce while creating jobs and promoting sustainability," says Jim Hannigan, President and CEO of J&J. "I am grateful for the support J&J has received from the City of Saint Paul, which has helped make the partnership possible."
BrightFarms' greenhouse will grow over 350,000 pounds of local lettuces, tomatoes, and herbs per year, creating up to 6 full-time green-collar jobs and as many as 50 part-time jobs to construct the greenhouse.
"We're thrilled to partner with J&J to grow year-round local produce for the Saint Paul community," said Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms CEO. "Jim Hannigan and Mayor Coleman understand that local produce not only tastes better, it strengthens local economies."
As an incentive, J&J has received $500,000 from the Saint Paul Community Development Block Grant Recovery Act to build the greenhouse. The company also received city funds in the form of the State of Minnesota Jobs Bill Tax Increment Financing to expand its facility and make energy efficiency upgrades. The funds have enabled J&J to create 60 permanent jobs and an estimated 130 construction jobs.
"Local businesses are the backbone of our economy. Local food and green technology are important for personal and environmental health and are essential pieces of a healthy business climate. This innovative partnership creates more green-collar jobs in Saint Paul and stimulates the local economy. I'm looking forward to watching its success," said Mayor Christopher B Coleman.
"J&J Distributing is a top-flight Minnesota business and I'm very pleased that it is partnering with BrightFarms on this expansion that will create good jobs in our state," said Senator Al Franken. "I'm also pleased that federal recovery funds are continuing to help expand economic development in Minnesota."
"Green technology improves our health, protects our environment, and creates jobs. BrightFarms' new hydroponic greenhouse is a great example of the benefits green companies can bring to our community. I'm proud to welcome this innovative company to Saint Paul, "said Congresswoman Betty McCollum.