On land that was once part of a cattle ranch outside Morehead, Kentucky–a small town where roughly one in three people live below the poverty line–a massive new 60-acre high-tech greenhouse is designed to bring back local jobs while shrinking the environmental footprint of delivering food to cities like Washington, D.C. and Nashville. “We’re really setting out to develop the eastern part of our state into a produce hub for the U.S.–taking a portion of our state that prided itself on powering the country in the coal industry and pivoting to being a leader in sustainable agriculture,” says Jonathan Webb, founder and CEO of AppHarvest, the agricultural startup that recently closed an $82 million deal to build the greenhouse. [Photo: courtesy AppHarvest] Webb, a native Kentuckian who graduated from college around the time of the 2008 financial crisis, has spent his life watching the coal industry collapse. But he recognized that the region has more possibilities that just mining. The state’s location is strategic for deliveries: Trucks leaving the area can reach 70% of the American population within a day. (Amazon is building a new hub in Kentucky for the same reason.) With year-round, efficient production, a food company […]

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