November 1, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking of Hydroponic Commercial Greenhouse in Monroe County

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking of...

Clearwater Organic Farms Will Create Up to 137 New Jobs at Eastman Business Park 

55 Jobs Guaranteed for Veterans or Underemployed New Yorkers

Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Photo of Groundbreaking Available Here

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking of Clearwater Organic Farms' state-of-the-art commercial hydroponic greenhouse in Monroe County. The company is constructing a 10-acre, 475,000 square-foot facility on the western edge of Eastman Business Park where it will produce fresh, locally grown, organic baby leaf greens year-round. The facility will be constructed on property owned by LiDestri Food & Drink. The project will create up to 137 new full-time jobs, most of which will be in packaging, shipping, receiving and warehousing - and 55 of those jobs are reserved for veterans or those who are underemployed to support the region's anti-poverty agenda.

"The innovative Clearwater Organic Farms facility will no doubt drive innovation, create jobs for New Yorkers who need them most and bolster economic growth throughout the region," Governor Cuomo said. "The Finger Lakes Forward economic strategy continues to generate momentum by attracting these types of high-growth industries to the region.

"The Eastman Business Park is continuing to grow with new businesses and increased opportunities for collaboration among its resident companies," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The start of construction on a state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse will advance the area's innovation economy and create over 100 jobs in Monroe County, including those for underemployed individuals and veterans. Clearwater Organic Farms' investment in this new facility will continue to build on the success we've had attracting high-tech industry to the region and move the Finger Lakes Forward."

The on-site process will use hydroponics to offer a local, pesticide-free alternative to traditional field grown crops. It intends to build a clonable, scalable and sustainable food source system that can be replicated throughout the United States and the world. The company will initially focus on growing pesticide-free baby arugula, basil, spinach and romaine using deep water hydroponic technology. The state-of-the art facility is expected to begin harvesting in September 2020. The project will also be a significant user of the onsite RED Utilities at Eastman Business Park.

The controlled environmental agriculture facility uses 90 percent less water than field grown alternatives, 20 percent of the land, and uses sophisticated computer systems to control plant growing conditions, plant quality and energy usage.  Clearwater Organic Farms is an indoor facility and is a fully vertically integrated operation with seeding, growing, harvesting, washing, packaging and cold storage on site. Clearwater will also team up with Love Beets, which operates a processing facility on the site. Clearwater will utilize the facility as a co-packer, cutting processing time and cost.

In order to encourage Clearwater Organic Farms to build in the Finger Lakes region, Empire State Development has offered up to $4 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding and up to $2 million in Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits in exchange for job creation commitments. The total project cost is approximately $50 million. Supporting the economic redevelopment of Eastman Business Park and tackling the roots of poverty are among the top priorities of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and the region's Finger Lakes Forward Initiative. EBP is becoming renowned as an incubator for innovative food companies.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is committed to supporting its cornerstone agriculture and food industries by partnering with innovators like Clearwater Organic Farms who will grow jobs and opportunities in the Finger Lakes for years to come."

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, "The agriculture and food industries are a top priority for the regional council. This new technology company will help us build upon the world-class food ecosystem that is rapidly growing in the region. Another important component of today's announcement is that this innovative company will offer jobs to those impacted by poverty and who have served our country.  Incentivizing these kinds of projects is essential to creating opportunities for all which is at the heart of the Finger Lakes Forward strategic plan."

Clearwater Vice President of Sales Kelli Foster said, "By bringing the crops indoors, we've found a more sustainable way to grow, harvest, process and ship product locally. We want consumers to have access to fresh, local produce no matter where they shop or what time of year."

Senator Joe Robach said, "I join with the entire Rochester community in celebrating today's news that Clearwater Organic Farms has chosen Eastman Business Park to build their new state-of-the-art facility that will house the production of their fresh, locally grown products. Eastman Business Park has become a hub of food and beverage production, thanks in large part to the presence of LiDestri Food and Drink; the addition of Clearwater Organic Farms will help expand its footprint in this growing sector of our economy and workforce."

Assembly Member Peter Lawrence said, "Monroe County has a rich history of innovation and today's announcement is another example of how we are leading the way in the sustainable food industry. What is most exciting about today's announcement is that we are creating good-paying jobs, many of which will be filled by those who have given their time and talent in service to our Country. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and my partners in government for providing the resources and support to bring Clearwater Organic Farms to our community." 

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "Monroe County has a long history of working with Clearwater Farms, as the company was the original inspiration for our award-winning LadderzUP workforce development program. Now, I'm incredibly proud that we have supported their renewed investment in Monroe County, as we break ground on this transformational new facility. This project is an incredible win for residents, job-seekers, and our entire community. More proof that Monroe County is open for business!"

Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, "I am proud to welcome Clearwater Organic Farms to Eastman Business Park, which is once again emerging as one of our city's most important employment centers. I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and Empire State Development for making this investment in Rochester's economy through Finger Lakes Forward. Together we are moving forward to create more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens."

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich said, "I am proud to welcome Clearwater Organic Farms to Eastman Business Park. EBP is an important jobs center for our Town and for the region. This innovative, forward-thinking project will also create jobs for our citizens who need them most."

LiDestri CEO Giovanni LiDestri said, "This partnership with Clearwater Farms greatly enhances our efforts to revolutionize the food industry with a healthy combination of tradition and innovation. We are very excited to work with these pioneers in the field of hydroponic agriculture as we continue to seek new opportunities to improve the taste, quality, and year-round accessibility to locally grown produce."

Eastman Business Park President and Kodak CFO Dave Bullwinkle said, "It's our pleasure to welcome another operation to Eastman Business Park. Clearwater Organic Farms will produce fresh produce for operations at LiDestri Food & Drink and the farm to table market in the northeast.  This is a fantastic example of how resources and investments made by Kodak at Eastman Business Park are used in new ways to support economic growth and help create new jobs."

President and CEO Greater Rochester Enterprise Matt Hurlbutt said, "Clearwater Organic Farms' decision to expand in Rochester, NY, underscores the highly skilled talent base and integrated supply chain resources available in our community to support innovative food manufacturers. Clearwater Organic Farms' new facility will also leverage the unique amenities and infrastructure available at Eastman Business Park. "

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

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