Gotham Greens CEO Outlines Company Expansion Goals

Viraj Puri, Gotham Greens

Last month, we reported on Gotham Greens’ plan to double the size of its greenhouse capacity from 600,000 square feet to over 1.2 million square feet in 2022. Development is currently underway for new facilities state-of-the-art greenhouses in Seagoville, TX (outside of Dallas); Monroe, Georgia (outside Atlanta); and Windsor, CO, as well as expanding its existing greenhouses in Chicago and Providence, RI. Upon completion, the company will own and operate 12 high-tech, temperature-controlled hydroponic greenhouses in eight states, joining its existing network of greenhouses in New York, Rhode Island, Maryland, Illinois, Colorado and California.

We recently caught up with Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, to learn more about the company’s expansion plans and how they will affect the company’s long-term leafy greens production. .

greenhouse grower (GG): How did Gotham Greens select these new greenhouse sites?

Puri: The expansion of Gotham Greens in the South with new greenhouses in Texas and Georgia, as well as the expansion of our existing greenhouse footprints in Colorado, Illinois and Rhode Island, illustrate a huge step forward in achieving our ultimate goal of growing fresh produce that can be delivered within a day’s drive for most US consumers. Texas and Georgia represent two of the largest and fastest growing populations. The decision to build new greenhouses in these places was therefore an obvious choice.

By doubling our greenhouse capacity and moving to all-new areas of the country, Gotham Greens will increase retail sales and meet the growing demand for greenhouse-grown produce in the United States. The new state-of-the-art Gotham Greens greenhouses will allow us to significantly increase store count while continuing to serve many of the nation’s largest grocery retailers nationally and regionally, including Whole Foods Market, The Kroger Co., Albertsons Companies, Sprouts Farmers Market and many more.

GG: What are Gotham Greens’ plans to expand the existing greenhouses?

Puri: Increasing our operational capacity at our existing greenhouses in Chicago and Providence will allow Gotham Greens to continue to serve our valued customers and meet the growing demand for greenhouse-grown produce in cities across America. Additionally, our expanded Chicago facility will provide additional space for research and development as we continue to expand our leafy green product offerings.

GG: What are the company’s strategic growth objectives for 2022?

Puri: Looking ahead, our goal is to bring the Gotham Greens brand to more regions across the country. In addition to continuing to expand our range of fresh salad greens and herbs, we are also expanding our range of exciting fresh food products that celebrate plant-based ingredients as our main hero and inspiration, including salad dressings, dips and cooking sauces. In fact, we recently launched two dairy-free salad dressings – Vegan Ranch and Vegan Caesar – which are available at Whole Foods and Sprouts stores nationwide, as well as regional grocery stores.

Last year, Gotham Greens became a Certified B Corp., which came at a pivotal time for our business as we celebrated our 10th anniversary of operations, the official opening of our first greenhouse on the West Coast, and our expansion plans that will propel our future growth. B Corp certification is the only third-party accreditation that measures a company’s overall social and environmental performance. Certification adds additional layers of accountability and transparency for our employees, customers, retail and restaurant partners and investors as we continue to innovate our food system to build a better future for generations to come – we look forward to continue the work that we started with this certification.

GG: Will the technology for the new greenhouses be the same as the others, or is there something new that you are adding?

Puri: Our newest facilities feature the most advanced technology to date, with enhanced automation, climate control and data science capabilities. Since our launch in 2011, Gotham Greens has grown from a single urban rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn, NY, to a multi-state greenhouse operator and one of the largest hydroponic growers of leafy greens in North America. Gotham Greens has continued to push the boundaries of greenhouse facility design by incorporating state-of-the-art hardware and software advancements, all designed to maximize efficiency and reduce natural resource requirements. The advanced level of technology in our greenhouses allows us to grow lettuce using up to 95% less water and 97% less land compared to conventional open field farming. For example, our unique irrigation techniques use less than 1 gallon of water to grow a head of lettuce, compared to up to 10 gallons used in conventional open-field agriculture. In addition, all of our new greenhouses will use re-sealable film packaging, allowing Gotham Greens to reduce plastic packaging by over 30%.

We are seeing increased investment in research and development towards new technologies and automation systems for greenhouses and this investment is essential to improve productivity and crop yields while reducing greenhouse operating costs.

GG: What steps have you taken to ensure that agricultural production is consistent across all of your greenhouses?

Puri: At Gotham Greens, we believe that growing plants is part art and part science. Growing in a greenhouse gives our expert growers complete control of the growing environment, allowing Gotham Greens to create the ideal conditions for our plants to thrive, resulting in consistent, reliable yields of nutrient-dense produce and durable. With our automated systems and sensors, we can ensure that temperature, humidity and light levels, as well as air composition, are exactly the right balance and maintain the perfect growing conditions for our plants while throughout the year in all our greenhouses.


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