Greenswell Growers Inc. will invest more than $17 million to build a commercial hydroponic greenhouse at West Creek Industrial Park in Goochland County, Virginia. The company plans to create 27 jobs.
According to state officials, Greenswell Growers greenhouse is expected to produce 3.7 million pounds of leafy greens during its first three years of operation or 28 times more product per acre than a traditional growing operation. 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.
“We believe that food has the power to change lives,” company Chairman of the Board Chuck Metzgar said. “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.”
“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 Ralph Northam said. “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.”
As an incentive the Virginia Department of Agriculture worked with Goochland County to secure the project for Virginia. The Governor approved a $130,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist Goochland County with the project. The company will also participate in the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“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. “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.”
“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.
“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 Susan Lascolette, chair of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors.” 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.”
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. 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.