AppHarvest: Creating America’s AgTech Capital in Appalachia
Your average tomato should not have to travel 1500 miles and spend five days in the back of a truck, boat, or train to reach your grocery store. It couldn’t taste good. It couldn’t be that great for you. Over half of what you’re paying for is fuel. So, it isn’t good for the planet, either. Additionally, chemicals banned in the US are exported to Mexico and South America, so that these tomatoes can withstand such a journey looking red and shiny.
So, to summarize: this perfect looking tomato doesn’t taste good, it isn’t particularly healthy, its journey is bad for the environment, and the laborers harvesting are exposed to chemicals judged to be poisonous in the US. That sounds terrible, but it also sounds like a business opportunity.
AppHarvest came to us ready to take on this opportunity. They had an idea and the start of a plan. An initial round of funding allowed them to finish the plan and put the branding in place for the big raise. We developed the visual and verbal brand strategy that helped them raise the millions they needed to launch.
They have now built their first high-tech greenhouse in Appalachia. To call it a greenhouse does it a disservice. It is the size of 45 football fields. It will employ over 300 workers to grow and harvest non-GMO, pesticide-free tomatoes.
Here are some more numbers. Their greenhouse is within a day’s drive of 70% of the US population, allowing them to use 80% less fuel. They also use 90% less water. These efficiencies enable them to bring a superior product to the market at the same price as the conventionally-grown tomato. They are redefining what it means to be a farmer. They are redefining what the average consumer expects. They are Farming Now.