AppHarvest is building the largest greenhouse in the United States. When completed in the summer of 2020, it will provide over 45 million pounds of fresh vegetables to the East Coast each year.
The greenhouse will be located just outside of Morehead, Kentucky on the eastern side of the state. The location is within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the population in the United States.
The 2.76 million square foot warehouse is considered to be large enough to be cost effective. Additionally, the warehouse will focus on sustainability using LED lighting, recycled rainwater, and non-chemical growing practices.
Video Spotlight: 2019 SOAR Summit Showcase | AppHarvest
This post is based on the NY Times article, A Greenhouse Large Enough to Feed the Eastern Seaboard, by Keith Schneider, September 3, 2019, and the YouTube video, 2019 SOAR Summit Showcase | AppHarvest by SOAR, August 19, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock / Alekandre Baevi
1. Why is eastern Kentucky a good location for the greenhouse?
Guidance: Eastern Kentucky offers several advantages. One of the biggest advantages is its close proximity to the large population on the East Coast. Approximately 70% of the United States’ population is within a day’s drive of the facility. This should offer transportation cost savings as many current suppliers are more than 2,000 miles away from the East Coast market, in Mexico and Canada. It also allows the produce to be delivered sooner after being picked.
Further reasons to select eastern Kentucky are the availability of land and water. Worker availability should be good as well with the decline in coal production in the area.
2. What advantages does this greenhouse offer?
Guidance: The proximity to the East Coast markets is probably its biggest benefit. Additionally, the greenhouse ensures that the impact on the environment is minimized by using recycled rainwater and nonchemical growing practices. Energy conservation practices are employed, such as using natural sunlight and LED lighting. Its large size provides economies of scale—making it cost effective.