High-tech greenhouse opens in converted GE factory

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Brooklyn-based company has opened a new high-tech greenhouse in Providence that it says will produce six million heads of lettuce every year – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Gotham Greens converted the site of a former General Electric lighting factory along the Woonasquatucket River into a 100,00 square-foot indoor farm. The company says the new facility will be a year-round source of fresh produce for area retailers, restaurants and foodservice customers.

On Thursday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and other community leaders were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebratory “first harvest.”

“This marks the fourth city in our portfolio and we could not be more proud to be here in Providence,” Gotham Greens co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri said.

Raimondo said the opening of the greenhouse is an important step toward growing the state’s food economy, stressing the importance of having fresh, local options even in the winter.

The facility will also bring about 60 full-time jobs to Providence, according to the company.

“Anyone who says you can’t be both pro-environment and pro-business is just flat wrong,” Raimondo said.

In addition, the company says it’s committed to donating more than 5,000 pounds fresh produce to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank this winter, and it’s also donated a portion of its land to the city with the intention of building a new bike path along the river connecting those neighborhoods to downtown Providence.

“This isn’t just any economic development project,” Elorza said Thursday. “This project stands at the perfect intersection of economic development with sustainability.”

“This is a community that values sustainability,” Raimondo added. “It’s a community that would get behind you and help you to be successful. A community that embraces innovation and a community that is on the move.”

Visit Gotham Green’s website to learn more about the company and its mission.

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