J&J Distributing Builds Greenhouse With BrightFarms
The companies’ partnership will provide Saint Paul with year-round local produce and green-collar jobs
NEW YORK, NY and SAINT PAUL, MN, May 17, 2012—It was announced today that BrightFarms, Inc. is building a greenhouse in partnership with J&J Distributing in Saint Paul, MN. BrightFarms finances, builds, and operates greenhouses, partnering with supermarkets and distribution centers to sell locally grown, sustainable produce. J&J Distributing supplies wholesale fruits and vegetables to retailers throughout the Twin Cities.
BrightFarms will build a 38,000 square foot greenhouse on site at J&J, which will package and distribute a portion of the produce. The greenhouse will grow over 350,000 pounds of local lettuces, tomatoes, and herbs per year. BrightFarms will create up to 6 full-time green-collar jobs and as many as 50 part-time jobs to construct the greenhouse.
J&J has received $500,000 from the Saint Paul Community Development Block Grant Recovery Act to build the greenhouse. The company also received city funds in the form of the State of Minnesota Jobs Bill Tax Increment Financing to expand its facility and make energy efficiency upgrades. The funds have enabled J&J to create 60 permanent jobs and 130 construction jobs.
Mayor Christopher B. Coleman says, “Local businesses are the backbone of our economy. Local food and green technology are important for personal and environmental health and are essential pieces of a healthy business climate. This innovative partnership creates more green-collar jobs in Saint Paul and stimulates the local economy. I’m looking forward to watching its success.”
“J&J Distributing is a top-flight Minnesota business and I’m very pleased that it is partnering with BrightFarms on this expansion that will create good jobs in our state,” says Senator Al Franken. “I’m also pleased that federal recovery funds are continuing to help expand economic development in Minnesota.”
“This initiative will help boost local businesses and provide fresh, local produce to Minnesota communities,” Senator Amy Klobuchar says.
“Green technology improves our health, protects our environment, and creates jobs,” states Congresswoman Betty McCollum. “BrightFarms’ new hydroponic greenhouse is a great example of the benefits green companies can bring to our community. I’m proud to welcome this innovative company to Saint Paul.”
“Partnering with BrightFarms supports our commitment to source the freshest and most flavorful produce while creating jobs and promoting sustainability,” says Jim Hannigan, President and CEO of J&J. “I am grateful for the support J&J has received from the City of Saint Paul, which has helped make the partnership possible.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with J&J to grow year-round local produce for the Saint Paul community,” says Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms CEO. “Jim Hannigan and Mayor Coleman understand that local produce not only tastes better, it strengthens local economies.”
“BrightFarms’ arrival in Saint Paul means that we can buy fresh, flavorful, local produce year round,” says celebrity chef and Twin Cities resident Andrew Zimmern. “It speaks volumes about Mayor Coleman’s leadership on the core issues of our time, including entrepreneurship, education, food access, and economic and cultural sustainability. BrightFarms is just the beginning of the need to decentralize our food systems and to think about sustainability in a comprehensive way.”
A press conference and groundbreaking for the greenhouse will take place on June 4, 2012 from 10:00am to 10:30am at J&J Distributing. Mayor Coleman, Congresswoman McCollum, Jim Hannigan, and Paul Lightfoot will speak at the event.
BrightFarms grows local produce, nationwide. By financing, building, and operating greenhouse farms at or near grocery retailers, BrightFarms eliminates time, distance, and costs from the produce supply chain. BrightFarms local produce is fresher, more flavorful, and better for the environment, enabling grocers to change their produce supply chain in a way that improves the planet and their profits.
In 1978, James and Deborah Hannigan launched J&J with 300 square feet, 4 employees, and a passion for quality fruits and vegetables. Today, with an innovative 100,000 square-foot warehouse in the heart of the beautiful city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, J&J is manned by 200 experienced and dedicated people who are ready to serve its clients. J&J has a full range of conventional, organic, and value-added fresh and dried products to take care of clients’ every need.