‘World’s largest’ aquaponic vertical farm holds ribbon-cutting in Hanover Twp.

09.16.2022


Hanover Twp., Luzerne County, PA - Jason Green, Co-Founder and CEO at Upward Farms, Thursday said 40% of all food is wasted within the American supply chain, and 40% of the world’s soil has been eroded due to the overuse of chemicals.

“More people and more consumers have been engaged in where their food comes from now than ever,” Green said. “Consumers and individuals are demanding solutions that are better for people and better for the planet. At Upward Farms, sustainability is at our core, it drives our purpose, and it drives our product.”

NorthPoint Development and Upward Farms held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at Upward Farms’ newest 250,283 square-foot indoor farm in Hanover Township — billed as the world’s largest facility of its kind, which is nearing completion.

The farm facility combines modern vertical farming with the ancient farming practice of “aquaponics,” Green said.

NorthPoint Development estimates the investment into the indoor farming facility is anticipated to generate more than $3.63 million in annual wages.

Green said the target date for the first phase of the operation is slated for early 2023, with the entire operation up and running by late 2023.

Green said the investment in Hanover Township is expected to create upwards of 125 “meaningful and full-time, living wage jobs and around 100 construction jobs.”

NorthPoint Development invested $39 million into the development of the building, and Upward Farms invested $160 million for the interior build-out of the facility.

Upward Farms is located in building 4 at Tradeport 164 on Hanover Township.

NorthPoint Development has invested more than $800 million into Luzerne County through the development of Hanover Ridge and Tradeport 164. With the completion of buildings 10 and 11 at Tradeport 164, it is expected to surpass $1 billion.

After the completion of Tradeport 164, their investment into Luzerne County is expected to create over 6,707 direct and indirect jobs — bringing more than $121.2 million in annual permanent wages.

“I’m excited to welcome Upward Farms and its 125 full-time, family-sustaining jobs to the growing number of successful economic development projects that have found a home here in the South Valley of Luzerne County,” said State Sen. John Yudichak, I-Swoyersville. “The economic success of the South Valley communities of Luzerne County is emblematic of the region’s economic resurgence, and a reflection of NorthPoint Development’s commitment to northeastern Pennsylvania.”

The facility is located within minutes from I-81 and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, allowing for easy regional and local industrial distribution.

“We are so thankful to have Upward Farms join our community here in Hanover Township,” said Brian Stahl, Vice President of Development for NorthPoint Development. “As we’ve said many times, capital goes where capital is welcome. This state-of-the-art facility represents an investment of nearly $200 million. The success of turning a formerly mine-scarred facility into a productive economic use wouldn’t have been possible without the strong public-private partnerships here in this community.”

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell C. Redding, added, “This is a big deal for Pennsylvania, it is big for agriculture, and it’s good for consumers. You see 18% of our gross state product in agriculture, 590,000 jobs, and $132 billion in activity. Thank you for being in Pennsylvania and bringing the technology and vision to the state.”

Other speakers at the ceremony included Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, and Hanover Township Manager Sam Guesto.

John L. Augustine III, President/CEO at Penn’s Northeast, said, “Upwards Farms chose our region based on our strategic location, strong workforce, nationally ranked educational institutions and reliable and affordable utilities. In addition to providing sustainable, local and organically grown food, Upward Farms will bring good paying manufacturing jobs to our area.”

Yudichak thanked Green for bringing his innovative company to NEPA.

“I believe you will find there is no better development partner, than NorthPoint Development, and no better people than the good, hard working people of Luzerne County,” Yudichak said. “The South Valley can compete with anyone in the world for good companies and good jobs.”

Yudichak said Upward Farms marks another milestone for a new generation of NEPA families that will have more opportunities to build a prosperous economic future here in Luzerne County than ever before in our history.

”In January of this year, the Governor’s Action Team came out with a report that painted a very flattering picture of northeastern Pennsylvania’s ongoing economic success,” Yudichak said. “NEPA led the entire Commonwealth in both job growth, with the creation of over 2,300 new jobs, and in private investment, with the attraction of over $1.2 billion in new projects.”

Yudichak said Upward Farms — its $160 million facility and 125 family-sustaining jobs — add to the growing number of successful economic development projects that have found a home in the South Valley of Luzerne County.

He said Upward Farms is ranked as the #1 most sustainable indoor farming business by FoodTech 500 — highlighting that, “Upward Farms is not just about creating jobs — it’s about creating a more sustainable food supply chain that improves the quality of our environment and protects our planet.”

Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, said the project is exciting in its scope, its job capacity, and the prospective markets for the foodstuffs to be produced.

“We are fortunate that a quality company decided that this is the right place to locate,” Baker said. “Upward Farms is giving our aspirations an upward lift.”

In January, Green said the company’s new facility that’s coming to Hanover Township will be able to reach some of the most populous areas of the U.S. — and nearly 100 million Americans — within a single day of distribution, versus the week it can take to receive products from the west coast.

The new facility will provide fresh, locally sourced micro-greens and sustainably raised hybrid striped bass to consumers throughout the Northeast and beyond.

“Farming is one of the sectors that’s both highly exposed to the perils of climate change and one of its key drivers,” Green said. “Solutions for food production that are good for people and the planet are sorely needed. With the construction of the world’s largest vertical farm — our third aquaponic vertical farm overall — we’re demonstrating the power of nature and nurture, adding our proprietary Ecological Intelligence to the accelerating trend of indoor and vertical farming. This is a local success story with massive global implications for how and where food is grown, and the next generation of manufacturing technology.”

Green said Upward Farms’ approach to bio-diverse production not only addresses consumer appetite for ecologically grown foods, but also is based in game-changing science. What Green and Upward Farms calls “ecological intelligence” is a proprietary microbiome technology that introduces a biologically-based reinforcement learning flywheel.

To learn more, visit www.eatupwardfarms.com.