Devens, Massachusetts-based Little Leaf Farms has raised $300 million in new capital, with equity financing led by The Rise Fund and debt funding from Bank of America.
The capital will support the growth and expansion of farms and distribution, making Little Leaf Farms’ local lettuces accessible to more than half of the country’s population by 2026. Immediate expansion and a doubling of acreage comes with the opening this summer of a new greenhouse in McAdoo, Pennsylvania.
“This funding from our partners at The Rise Funds and Bank of America marks a pivotal moment in Little Leaf Farms’ growth story,” said Paul Sellew, founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms. “We’ve seen, especially in recent years, how important locally grown food is to communities, and we’re 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.
“With this funding, we’re transforming the way millions of Americans eat and enjoy leafy greens, no longer relying on choices that have traveled thousands of miles across the country to reach them.”
As part of this transaction, Maya Chorengel, co-managing partner of The Rise Funds, will join the board of directors for Little Leaf Farms.
“Little Leaf Farms is driving significant efficiency improvements in the growing process for leafy greens by meaningfully reducing water usage and greenhouse gas emissions at scale. The company’s mission to deliver local and sustainably grown lettuce year-round is well-aligned with The Rise Funds’ goal to accelerate the growth of companies that are meeting large-scale environmental and social problems with innovative solutions,” Chorengel said.
“With this investment, we’re proud to extend Little Leaf Farms’ leadership in the market as it scales its business and continues to offer the best quality, reliability, and consistency to a growing customer base.”
The capital raise includes support from Bank of America, an early debt investor in Little Leaf Farms that helped fuel the brand’s success and growth throughout the Northeast.
“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,” said Randy Mitchell, senior relationship manager for Bank of America. “By investing in companies like Little Leaf, we’re helping to scale more low-carbon solutions.”
Expansion in Pennsylvania
The farm will increase the brand’s retail presence by 50 percent, with products available in more than 3,500 grocery stores.
The new greenhouse will integrate Little Leaf Farms’ technology, including energy efficiencies across heating, cooling, lighting, advanced data analytics and hands-free automated grow systems. Little Leaf Farms employs hydroponic production for its lettuce that is grown under glass and uses captured rainwater, natural sunlight, up to 90 percent less water than field-grown greens and solar panels to generate electricity.
The brand plans to open several more greenhouses in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
“We have continued to transform the way consumers think about leafy greens, showing with just one bite that local and fresher is better,” Sellew said. “This is just one step in our growth trajectory, and we’ll continue to strive for new innovation and broadened distribution to bring our lettuce to every consumer in North America.”
For more information, visit littleleaffarms.com.