HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett announced today that Green Spirit Farms LLC, a sustainable vertical farm, will establish operations in Lackawanna County and create at least 101 new jobs. Combined with the recent Sallie Mae and Maximus expansions that will create a projected 1,000 new Northeastern Pennsylvania jobs, Green Spirit Farms' expansion is the third major regional jobs announcement in two weeks.
"By adding more than 100 family-sustaining jobs to Pennsylvania's workforce, our partnership with Green Spirit Farms will grow Pennsylvania's economy and ensure that our commonwealth remains the best place to live, work and raise a family," Corbett said. "I welcome Green Spirit Farms to Pennsylvania agriculture, one of our commonwealth's most important industries, and thank them for investing in Pennsylvania's greatest asset, our people."
Green Spirit Farms LLC (GSF) will establish a vertical farm system that will grow leafy vegetables, peppers and tomatoes in East Benton Township, Lackawanna County. The company is projected to invest more than $27 million to acquire an existing 300,000-square-foot building and is expected to create at least 101 jobs.
"We love beautiful Lackawanna County and are thankful for Governor Corbett's support," said Milan Kluko, President of Green Spirit Farms. "Our mission at Green Spirit Farms is to provide local communities with high-quality, fresh, pesticide-free, non-GMO, and sustainably-grown produce at a fair price. When we build our indoor vertical farms, we believe, they are sustainable and healthy places to grow plants and a work force."
A vertical farm does not grow plants down on the ground. The Green Spirit Farms Vertical Growing System uses industrial racking systems, and with the correct full spectrum induction lights can grow plants up in four or five levels.
"Consumers want to purchase local foods and connect with farmers who produce them," said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "By repurposing an industrial building in the heart of Scranton, Green Spirit is bringing fresh, year-round produce to those in its community. Innovation like this helps successful farmers continue to feed a growing world."
The project was coordinated by the Governor's Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the Governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania. GSF partnered with the Department of Community and Economic Development to receive a $300,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, $303,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits and a $45,450 Guaranteed Free Training grant to be used to train its new workforce.
Lackawanna County and the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce also collaborated on this project.
"We are excited about bringing new jobs to Lackawanna County. This project would not have happened without the cooperation and collaboration of Governor Corbett, Lackawanna County and Green Spirit Farms," said Lackawanna County Commissioner Jim Wansacz. "This project demonstrates how working together on economic development initiatives enables us to attract businesses and jobs to our community. We are committed to helping Green Spirit Farms grow and prosper in Lackawanna County's "land of opportunities."
"The location of Green Spirit Farms within Benton Park is a great example of adaptive reuse of industrial space," said Bob Durkin, President of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. "Their commitment to create 101 new jobs and investment of more than $27 million in Lackawanna County is a true public private partnership and would not have been possible without the collaborations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County, Benton Township and the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce."
GSF was formed in 2011 to commercialize rotary and vertical farming systems using patented, patent pending and proprietary growing systems and techniques to grow local, sustainable vegetables, herbs and some fruits using less water and less energy than traditional greenhouse or hydroponic applications. The goal of GSF is to develop local vertical farms in Brownfield sites using carbon neutral or renewable energy when practical as well as use compostable and/or recycled packaging for their produce sold to retail customers.
For more information, visit Green Spirit Farms LLC at www.greenspiritfarms.com.
For more information about Corbett's commitment to job creation, visit www.pa.gov.
Valerie Caras, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
Lyndsay Frank, DCED, 717-783-1132
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor