AeroFarms Emerges From Bankruptcy With New Plan

Indoor grower exits Chapter 11 with fresh backing and new CEO
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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AeroFarms indoor facility
AeroFarms recently updated its indoor farm in Danville, Va., to ramp up production as it restructures its business.

AeroFarms, which started the summer filing for voluntary bankruptcy, finished the season by exiting Chapter 11. The Newark, N.J.-based Certified B Corporation and indoor vertical farming and microgreen operation announced that it has successfully restructured its business following agreements with investors including Grosvenor Food & AgTech (GFA) and Doha Venture Capital.

The bankruptcy court approved new financing stemming from an asset purchase agreement with investors. AeroFarms will use the funding to shore up profitability at its flagship indoor farm in Danville, Va., which recently underwent some automation upgrades to bolster efficiencies.

[Read more: “SPECIAL REPORT: The Greener Grocer”]

While the company is getting out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it is gaining a new CEO. Molly Montgomery, a venture partner with GFA, was appointed acting CEO and executive chairperson of the AeroFarms board. She currently serves as a director for ag companies including Wilbur-Ellis, The Wine Group, Custom Made Meals (CMM), and Benson Hill, and joins AeroFarms from her most recent position as CEO of private equity-owned fresh protein company CMM.

When AeroFarms filed for bankruptcy protection in June, the company announced that co-founder and CEO David Rosenberg was stepping down and transitioning to a role as special advisor to the board.

“The Danville Farm is an impressive operation, leveraging proprietary technology to deliver a fresh product that is less vulnerable to climate-related threats,” said Montgomery. “I am looking forward to working with Guy Blanchard, the newly named AeroFarms president, and the rest of the AeroFarms team to complete the ramp-up of the Danville facility and to deliver a profitable operation that will enable future growth.” 

Investors remain optimistic about the future of the indoor growing operation. “This marks a new chapter in the maturity and growth of AeroFarms,” declared Stephan Dolezalek, managing partner and GFA. “AeroFarms’ founders established the world’s most advanced vertical farming technology. We have now put in place changes needed to deliver on their vision. As an investor dedicated to creating a more sustainable global food supply chain, we see vertical farms as a critical part of the solution and are now focused on efficiently scaling our operations to deliver a market-leading product through a profitable business model.”

According to AeroFarms, its microgreens are available at more than 2,000 retail locations cross the United States, including Whole Foods Market stores and in regional locations of Ahold Delhaize, Harris Teeter, H-E-B and others. The business was founded in 2004.

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