Little Leaf Farms, packaged lettuce sustainably grown through controlled environment agriculture (CEA), has raised $300 million in new capital, with equity financing led by the Rise Fund, TPG's multi-sector global impact investing strategy, and debt funding from Bank of America.
The capital will support aggressive 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 of a new greenhouse in McAdoo, Pennsylvania this summer.
"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% 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."
Little Leaf Farms' new state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse will open in July on 180 acres. This is the fourth greenhouse for Little Leaf Farms and will expand the brand's distribution of delicious, fresh lettuce - all free of harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides - throughout the Northeast. The farm will increase the brand's retail presence by 50%, with products available in more than 3,500 grocery stores.
The new greenhouse will integrate Little Leaf Farms' best-in-class 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% less water than field-grown greens and solar panels to generate electricity.
"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."
The Rise Fund, founded in 2016 by TPG in partnership with Bono and Jeff Skoll, brings an unrivaled ability to help businesses grow and achieve long-term success. With its focus on investing in mission-driven companies with measurable social and environmental impact, The Rise Fund's investment in Little Leaf Farms underscores the increased consumer interest and demand for sustainably grown produce and supports Little Leaf Farms' mission of fresh, leafy greens for all. As part of this transaction, Maya Chorengel, co-managing partner of the Rise Funds, will join Little Leaf Farms' Board of Directors.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as exclusive placement agent for Little Leaf Farms in connection with the capital raise and Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian acted as legal counsel. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal counsel to The Rise Fund.
About Little Leaf Farms
Little Leaf Farms is on a mission to transform the way food is grown through peri-urban agricultural practices that are rebuilt for the modern world. Using advanced greenhouse technologies, Little Leaf Farms is growing fresh, sustainably farmed lettuce 365 days a year. Little Leaf Farms utilizes captured rainwater, natural sunlight that shines through high transmission glass, and solar-powered energy in their precise, soil-less hydroponic farming. The crispy, flavorful baby greens are harvested without ever touching human hands and are never treated with chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.