Published Dec 08, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta
Houston-based vertical farming company Dream Harvest Farming Co. has secured $50 million in funding to build a new 100,000-square-foot indoor growing facility that will help it meet expanding demand.
The pioneering sustainable farming operator says it uses a state-of-the-art, wind-powered, indoor farm to produce 400 times the yield of a traditional outdoor farm using 95% less water and no pesticides. The funding secured from Orion Energy Partners will help Dream Harvest scale production and meet higher demand for its produce. The company told the Houston Business Journal its new facility will be built in southwest Houston and should be complete by January 2023. The expansion will also allow the company to increase its staff by 40 jobs from the current 25-person operation.
Indoor farming enables a year-round harvest and, with local distribution, enables shorter transportation times compared with traditionally sourced products. That means produce stays shelf-fresh for longer periods while simultaneously reducing waste, according to the company founded in 2015.
“Our fundamental mission is to sustainably produce farmed foods that are consumed – not wasted – through centralized production, local distribution and a creative approach that resonates with today’s health-conscious consumers,” said Zain Shauk, co-founder and CEO of Dream Harvest. “Demand for our produce has far outpaced supply, an encouraging validation of our approach as well as positive news for our planet, which is facing the rising problem of food and resource waste. While we have the yields today to support our business, we are pleased to partner with Orion on this financing, which will enable us to greatly expand our production and increase access to our produce for many more consumers.”
Dream Harvest focuses on a variety of herbs, baby greens, kale and other lettuce varieties and is currently selling through Whole Foods markets in four states. The company also counts restaurant chain Sweetgreen among its retail customers. The company plans to increase its produce offerings and expects to expand distribution to more than 250 retail locations in the coming year.
Food and beverage manufacturing accounts for roughly 15,800 jobs in the Houston region. As the metro population has grown by more than 1 million in the last decade, food demand has also increased significantly, leading to more grocers/retailers and restaurants. Both the population and corresponding food demand are forecasted to continue to rise in coming years.
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