The VF bubble is finally popping

The VF bubble is finally popping

Climate change might make growing produce indoors a necessity. But despite taking in more than a billion dollars in venture capital investment, most companies in the industry seem to be withering, unable to turn a profit on lettuce.

When workers arrived at Fifth Season, an indoor farm in the former steel town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, on a cloudy Friday morning last October, they expected it would be a normal day.

The farm, which had opened two years earlier, seemed to be running smoothly, growing tens of thousands of pounds of lettuce per year inside a robot-filled 60,000-square-foot warehouse. The brand was selling salad kits—like a taco-themed version with the company’s baby romaine, plus guacamole, tortilla strips, and cheese—in more than 1,200 stores, including Whole Foods and Kroger. Earlier in the year, the company had said that it projected a 600% growth in sales in 2022. The branding was updated in October, and new packages were rolling out in stores. Solar panels and a new microgrid had recently been installed at the building. A larger farm was being planned for Columbus, Ohio.

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Photo by Petr Magera on Unsplash




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