Little Leaf Farms Rakes in $300M to Fuel Northeast Agtech Expansion

Little Leaf grows lettuce year-round through its hands-free, sustainable farming greenhouses.
Written by Miranda Perez
June 15, 2022Updated: June 16, 2022
Photo: Little Leaf
Photo: Little Leaf

When it comes to produce, fresh fruits and vegetables have always been fan favorites. But, for most of the U.S., consumers fresh foods are imported. In fact, about 50 percent of America’s fruits and a third of the country’s vegetables aren’t grown locally, according to recent reports

In aims to boost local produce growth, Devens, Massachusetts-based Little Leaf Farms has established greenhouse technology to grow lettuce year-round through a hands-free farming process. This week, the startup pulled in $300 million in equity financing from The Rise Fund and debt funding from Bank of America. 

Little Leaf plans to use its fresh funding to build a greenhouse on 180 acres in Pennsylvania. According to the company, this is part of its expansion plans that would make Little Leaf’s local lettuces accessible to more than half of the countrys population by 2026.

Little Leaf Founder and CEO Paul Sellew told Built In via email that the funding will also go toward hiring with aims to grow its 110-person staff to 200 by the end of the year. 

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“This funding from our partners at The Rise Funds and Bank of America marks a pivotal moment in Little Leaf Farms growth story,” Sellew said in a statement. “Weve seen, especially in recent years, how important locally grown food is to communities and were proud to bring customers the freshest leafy greens that are harvested with 90 percent less water than conventional lettuces and shipped in less than 24 hours.”

Little Leaf’s sustainability efforts go beyond saving water, which the startup does by capturing rain water and distributing it within the greenhouse. Additional sustainable practices include using natural sunlight to fuel its LED grow lights. However, Little Leaf primarily uses natural light to grow its produce, according to the company. Its local delivery system also ensures its produce is delivered in the least amount of miles possible, which helps reduce the company’s carbon footprint. 

“Little Leaf Farms is not only providing fresh, sustainable regional produce, but it is also redefining local agriculture and building more sustainable solutions in our local communities and in the industry,” Randy Mitchell, senior relationship manager for Bank of America, said in a statement. “By investing in companies like Little Leaf, we’re helping to scale more low-carbon solutions.”

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