Gov. Ralph Northam announced earlier this week that startup company Sunny Farms, LLC will invest $59.6 million to establish a state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse for production, workforce development and research in Virginia Beach.
The company, located at Taylor Farms, will create 155 new jobs, as well as establish One Matters Inc., a new 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that will offer workforce development opportunities for underserved populations.
For over two years, Sunny Farms' founders, Jim Arnhold and Wayne Zinn, have worked to develop the company's state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse. Hydroponics is a way to grow crops without soil by using nutrient-rich water.
"Raised in the rural farming community of Pungo, my roots run deep in this area,” said Jim Arnhold, cofounder of Sunny Farms. "Virginia Beach is our home—we understand the people, the market, and the opportunity presented in locating a large-scale hydroponic farm facility within Virginia’s most populated city." He continues, "Sunny Farms’ highly productive and clean growing initiative makes sense for our area, and we’re proud to be leading the way."
Sunny Farms will grow its products using Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA), an advanced method of hydroponic agriculture where plants are grown within a controlled environment to optimize horticultural practices.
The company will establish its growing, cleaning and packaging operation over the next 36 months in three phases.