Little Leaf Farms Grows in Devens with Help from MassDevelopment Loan
April 20, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)
Lisa Hoguet, Little Leaf Farms, 978-777-9992 x23
MassDevelopment has sold 14 acres of land at Devens and provided a $4.5 million loan to Little Leaf Farms toward the construction of a new state-of-the-art greenhouse facility to meet the region’s demand for high-quality, pesticide-free and locally grown leafy green vegetables. The company plans to grow baby lettuces and greens in its fully automated greenhouse. These greens will be available to consumers in stores within a day after they are harvested. That’s a far cry from the bulk of greens sold in Massachusetts today that come from farms in Arizona or California that don’t arrive at markets in this region until six days after harvest. MassDevelopment’s loan helped finance the construction of the greenhouse and the installation of automated growing equipment for this operation. Little Leaf Farms’ greenhouse operations will be both technologically-advanced and environmentally-friendly, thanks to a number of state-of-the-art features which include rainwater recycling, advanced LED lighting and ultra-high efficiency heating systems.
“High-quality, locally grown food has become both popular and prudent for the Commonwealth’s consumers,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased to welcome Little Leaf Farms to Devens as the community’s latest innovative business, and I applaud Paul Sellew, Little Leaf’s founder and CEO, and his Massachusetts agricultural colleagues for their commitment to the health of their customers and the environment.”
Mr. Sellew was previously the co-founder of Backyard Farms in Maine, which is now the largest producer of greenhouse tomatoes on the East Coast.
“Little Leaf Farms is proud to partner with MassDevelopment and greatly appreciates the Agency’s financial support in starting and building our business in Massachusetts,” said Mr. Sellew. “Little Leaf Farms has constructed and is now starting up the world’s most technologically-advanced greenhouse that will set the new standard in producing the highest quality, best-tasting year-round baby greens for the New England consumer. We view our company as an important part of the growing local food movement creating greater food security for our region. We are proud to be part of the Devens business community and look forward to growing our business there.”
Located in north-central Massachusetts and managed by MassDevelopment, Devens hosts businesses, government organizations and nonprofits employing more than 4,000 people. Created by statute in 1993 to support business growth and attract economic development opportunities in the region, the 4,400-acre site features fast-track permitting and other incentives for businesses. The former military installation is recognized today as a national model for military base redevelopment. Along with its business tenants, the Devens community also includes more than 2,100 acres of recreation and open space, private residences, schools, and a network of human and social services providers.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2015, MassDevelopment financed or managed 294 projects generating investment of more than $2.5 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 6,100 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 2,000 residential units.