(WASHINGTON, DC) - It was announced today that the District of Columbia’s Department of General Services (DGS) and BrightFarms, Inc., the leading urban agriculture company, signed a lease for the site on which BrightFarms will build the world’s most productive urban farm. DGS manages and maintains the District’s 26 million square feet of owned space across the city, overseeing all construction, maintenance and real estate functions and strategically chose the location in Ward 8 to meet the needs of the urban greenhouse.
“This is a great example of leveraging the District’s assets to make the most of our real estate portfolio in a dynamic way that produces results which reverberate across the city,” said DGS Director Brian J. Hanlon. The partnership between DGS and BrightFarms is in support of a larger effort set forth in the Mayor’s vision for a Sustainable DC and the Department of General Services’ Energy and Sustainability division’s plan to reduce energy consumption and decrease the carbon footprint across the District.
By growing locally, BrightFarms delivers produce that is thousands of miles fresher, more flavorful and better for the community. “As the District aggressively confronts the climate crisis, I believe we have to fundamentally redefine our relationship with food: how it's produced, how it gets to our table, and how we create a resource out of what's leftover,” said Mark Chambers, Interim Associate Director of Energy and Sustainability at DGS. The farm also creates 20 full-time, green-collar jobs, facilitates over 100 construction jobs and prevents storm water from going into local waterways. The greenhouse will be designed and built in partnership with the City’s Department of General Services and the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation.
Earlier this year BrightFarms entered into an agreement with the grocer Giant Food who will be the exclusive retailer in the nation’s capital region of BrightFarms’ year round local produce. Under that agreement, BrightFarms is responsible for financing, building and operating the greenhouse while Giant Food distributes the produce to its stores. The two companies will also work together to distribute produce from the greenhouse to local community organizations that can supply residents who otherwise lack access to fresh produce. “This greenhouse will be the world’s highest grossing urban farm,” said BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot, “and it will also have one of the greatest positive social impacts.”
The Department of General Services’ Energy and Sustainability Division is creating one of the most efficient and sustainable portfolios of real estate in the United States, ultimately saving DC taxpayers $100M over the next decade. During 2014, the Division’s focus is to reduce costs while de-risking and de-carbonizing energy supply, increase recycling rates in DCPS and promoting forward-looking urbanism that improves health outcomes for city residents.
About the Department of General Services
The mission of the Department of General Services (DGS) is to elevate the quality of life for the District with superior construction, first-rate maintenance and expert real estate management. By building and maintaining safe and green state-of-the-art facilities which foster economic growth and elevate educational environments, our trusted and skillful employees create modern and vibrant communities across all of the District of Columbia.
BrightFarms grows local produce, nationwide. By financing, building, and operating local greenhouse farms, BrightFarms eliminates time, distance, and costs from the food supply chain. Borrowing from the highly successful renewable energy industry, BrightFarms signs long-term purchase agreements with supermarkets that feature fixed prices and minimum volume commitments. BrightFarms’ growing method uses far less land and water than conventional agriculture, and its urban locations create local green jobs and help to bring healthy, fresh produce to neighborhoods. BrightFarms’ partnerships with supermarkets, cities, capital sources, and vendors allow it to develop markets and projects faster and better than any competitor. For more information, please visit http://www.brightfarms.com.