GREENSBORO, N.C., Oct. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Lee®, the iconic apparel brand known for its timeless denim style and innovative apparel, today announced a collaboration with AppHarvest to be the official and exclusive denim provider for employees at its new high-tech greenhouse in Appalachia. The announcement comes as the company opens its new 60-acre controlled environment agriculture facility in Morehead, Kentucky. One of the largest in the world, the facility will provide a fresh source of sustainable agriculture for the East Coast.
Since its founding in 1889 and the opening in 1912 of its first factory in Salina, Kansas producing overalls, dungarees and jackets, Lee has dressed America's workforce. From the railroad workers and cowboys of the past to the blue-collar workforce and entrepreneurs of today, the company's early slogan "The Jeans That Built America," still resonates. Lee continues its iconic legacy by providing purposefully designed and crafted workwear for AppHarvest's approximately 300 employees. Betty Madden, Lee's Global Head of Design, will spearhead the development of the uniforms.
"For over 130 years, Lee has been a brand that embodies unrelenting optimism and a pioneering spirit. We are so pleased to join forces with AppHarvest, an organization that shares our commitment to sustainability and innovation," said Madden.
"At AppHarvest, we're reinventing American agriculture by growing up to 30 times more food in an indoor acre compared to traditional open-field farming and doing it while using 90 percent less water (and only recycled rainwater at that)," said AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb. "We admire Lee's longtime commitment to sustainability and look forward to partnering with them to show how Middle America is leading in the field."
Both brands align on their commitment to using innovation to further sustainable practices, particularly around water. AppHarvest's farm applies hydroponic growing techniques and circular water distribution to eliminate agricultural runoff. Lee has worked to revamp the way indigo is dyed, increasing its use of Indigood™ foam dying technology to virtually eliminate water from the process.
"As we look ahead, we must continually challenge ourselves to redefine how we operate, so that we can help create a brighter future for our planet and our industry," said Roian Atwood, Senior Director of Sustainable Business, Lee. "Partnering with innovators like the minds at AppHarvest broadens our perspectives, which open the way to new and unique ideas around sustainability."
Lee®, a Kontoor Brands (NYSE: KTB) brand, has been a pioneer in purposefully designed denim and casual apparel for more than 130 years. As an iconic American brand, Lee's heritage is filled with fashion firsts marked by innovative fits, era-defining silhouettes, and legendary details in styles for men, women and boys. Lee's youthful energy, unrelenting optimism and fearless confidence have created generations of brand loyalists across the globe. For more information, visit www.lee.com
AppHarvest is building some of America's largest greenhouses, combining conventional agricultural techniques with today's technology to grow non-GMO, chemical-free fruits and vegetables to be sold to the top 25 U.S. grocers. The company has developed a unique system to reduce water usage by 90 percent compared to typical farms, as a 10-acre, on-site rainwater retention pond pairs with sophisticated circular irrigation systems. The system also eliminates agricultural runoff entirely. By locating within Appalachia, AppHarvest also benefits from being less than a day's drive to 70 percent of the U.S. population. That lowers diesel use in transportation costs by 80 percent allowing the company's fresher produce to compete against low-cost foreign imports.