ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp has announced that Pete’s, a long-time, California-based greenhouse grower, will invest $18 million in opening its first eastern U.S. indoor, controlled-environment agriculture facility in Warner Robins.
“Agriculture is our top industry, and Pete’s will bring another game-changing, innovative, and sustainable indoor farming facility to Georgia as we continue to feed the world from the Peach State,” Kemp said in a news release. “Georgia’s No. 1 business climate, top-notch logistics network, and commitment to innovation continue to attract jobs and opportunities for hard-working Georgians, and I thank Pete’s for investing in Peach County and the surrounding region.”
Providing access to fresh, local and sustainable greens to heavily populated areas as well as regions where fresh greens may not be readily available is a top priority of Pete’s. The company is planning on utilizing 24 acres of growing area in Peach County to satisfy their retail and foodservice partners’ needs. The indoor growing facility will require 90% less land and water compared to traditional farming.
“The food we put into our bodies has environmental implications,” Brian Cook, Pete’s CEO, said. “Our ethos has always been centered around taking care of our team, our local communities, and the environment. Our goal with our new Georgia facility is to expand on our mission, helping to ensure that consumers in the Southeast have access to clean, sustainable greens that are grown close to home.”
Pete’s new facility will be located in Robins International Industrial Park, a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development-certified site, with “select” status. To earn GRAD program certification from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, a property must undergo due diligence and complete specific certification requirements prior to a visit by a prospective business. Completing the GRAD certification program with GDEcD is a proactive way both community planners and land owners can help catalyze economic growth and industrial development for the regions they serve. The GRAD select status is an indication that a site has met or exceeded more rigorous certification requirements to attract development.
Fifteen jobs will be created, and the company will hire for a variety of positions, including general manager, production, growing, logistics, food safety and office manager, as well as general administrative roles. Individuals interested in career opportunities with Pete’s are encouraged to visit eatpetes.com for additional information.
“Peach County is thrilled to welcome Pete’s to middle Georgia,” B.J. Walker, executive director of the Peach County Development Authority, said. “This new advanced agricultural project not only brings new jobs and investment into our community, but (it) also highlights Peach County as a leader in high-tech, sustainable agriculture.”
Project Manager for the Global Commerce division Alex Jones represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development on this project in partnership with Georgia EMC and the Peach County Development Authority.
“Georgians continue to want access to local, sustainable Georgia-grown vegetables and produce, and it is exciting to welcome Pete’s to our growing list of innovative, science-driven ag-tech companies in Georgia who will do just that,” GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson said. “I am very grateful to Pete’s for investing in the future of agriculture in Georgia, and thank all of our partners and state legislators who continue to prioritize our university research assets and training programs, which help attract innovative companies to the state.”
“This announcement is great news for the people of Peach County,” Brian Marlowe, deputy commissioner for Rural Georgia Initiatives and director of the Governor’s Rural Strike Team, said. “Projects like this show what is possible in rural communities across our state. We will continue to have a focus on bringing more jobs and investment to the people of rural Georgia.”
Consisting of four varieties, Pete’s Greenhouse Fresh will offer environmentally conscious consumers in the Southeast a range of fresh and sustainable packaged salad varieties. In addition, Greenhouse Fresh packaging containers are made from 100% post-consumer recycled material, are 100% recyclable, and their flexible, re-sealable closures use less plastic and emit less CO2 than other plastic closures. Pete’s also is partnering with 1% For The Planet, pledging 1% of Greenhouse Fresh sales to The Recycling Partnership in an effort to help improve the recycling system.