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08-16-2021

Redefining Indoor Agriculture

Craig Hurlbert featured on RFD-TV

06-18-2021

Local Bounti, Disruptive AgTech Company Redefining the Future of Farming

A leader in controlled environment agriculture is transforming the production and delivery of local, fresh and sustainably-grown leafy greens produced across the U.S.

  • Local Bounti has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Leo Holdings III Corp. (NYSE: LIII)
  • Transaction to provide up to $400 million of gross proceeds to the combined company, including $125 million fully committed common stock PIPE at $10.00 per share anchored by existing and new investors, including institutional investors Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC and BNP Paribas Asset Management Ecosystem Restoration Fund, and strategic partners Cargill and Sarath Ratanavadi of Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited
  • Strategic partner Cargill will invest in the future of this leader in controlled environment agriculture to advance the production and delivery of local, fresh and sustainably-grown leafy greens produce for consumers across the U.S.
  • Pro forma equity value of the merger is approximately $1.1 billion, at the $10.00 per share PIPE price, assuming no redemptions
  • Cargill is separately expecting to provide a $200 million debt facility to accelerate Local Bounti’s expansion plans for this multi-billion-dollar market opportunity

Hamilton, MT – June 18, 2021 – Breakthrough U.S. indoor agriculture company Local Bounti Corporation (Local Bounti) has agreed to go public through a merger with Leo Holdings III Corp. (Leo or Leo Holdings) (NYSE: LIII), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, pursuant to a definitive business combination agreement. The transaction values the combined company at an equity value of $1.1 billion (assuming no redemptions) and upon closing of the transaction, the combined company is expected to remain listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “LOCL”.

Strategic partners include food and agriculture industry giant Cargill and Sarath Ratanavadi, CEO of Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited – Thailand’s largest private energy and infrastructure company and one of the world’s leaders in sustainable energy − which are investing in the combined company through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) arrangement. Cargill is also expected to provide $200 million in debt financing to accelerate Local Bounti’s expansion plans. Local Bounti plans to use the capital to build local strategically-located indoor farming facilities across the Western U.S. to provide fresh, superior-tasting, long-lasting and sustainably-grown produce with minimal carbon footprint.

Local Bounti Investment Highlights

  • Superior unit economics, with high yield and low-cost operations, enabled by unique hybrid facility configuration that addresses the challenges of conventional greenhouse and vertical farming
  • Producing leafy greens today at initial facility with pipeline to grow to eight facilities and the company expects to have over 30 SKUs by the end of 2025, which extends Local Bounti’s penetration, beginning in the largely untapped Western U.S. market
  • Superior brand and product that is local and sustainable across a growing number of SKUs, currently in more than 400 retail stores, including Associated Food Stores and URM served retail banners such as Rosauers, Super 1 Foods and Yoke’s
  • Strong commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices and standards, including an executive team member who is Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-certified to ensure aggressively transparent reporting per GRI and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
  • Best-in-class, established management team of seasoned veterans at scaling early-stage companies, with Fortune 500 and public company experience

“Today’s announcement takes Local Bounti to the next level in enabling local, sustainable production and delivery of fresh, delicious and nutritious produce, including in regions that traditionally don’t have access to local supply, starting in the Western U.S. and expanding globally,” said Local Bounti Co-Founder and Co-CEO Craig Hurlbert. Based on publicly available market research on CEA, Local Bounti believes the current Western U.S. market opportunity is approximately $10.6 billion, and estimates that the total U.S. market for vegetables and herbs will reach up to $30 billion by 2025.

“We look forward to leveraging our proven business model as we accelerate the building of cutting-edge local production facilities that feature our proprietary IP, referred to as Stack & Flow Technology TM, and transforming conventional agriculture practices for the benefit of all our customers, no matter where in the world they’re located,” he said, adding that the company’s growth plans include adding seven new facilities and local leadership in different geographic regions, as well as global expansion of its proprietary technology. 

An industry disruptor changing the way food is grown and re-imagining the Farm of the Future™, Local Bounti is a premier controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company redefining ESG standards for indoor agriculture. The company’s unique business model is based on building local facilities, operated by local teams, to deliver the freshest and highest quality produce to local communities while maintaining a limited carbon footprint. Using proprietary technology to grow leafy greens and herbs in a smart, indoor controlled environment – and with a cultivation process that uses 90 percent less water and land than conventional agriculture, free from herbicides or pesticides – Local Bounti delivers high-quality produce that not only has a longer shelf life, but is also superior in taste. 

“Local Bounti is set to be a transformational force in the AgTech industry with its demonstrated concept and model in food production and distribution,” said Lyndon Lea, President and CEO of Leo. “Combining Local Bounti’s emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and technology-driven approach with the institutional knowledge of the Leo Holdings team, we are confident in the company’s ability to expand in both reach and consumer offerings.”  

Leveraging its innovative proprietary modular and scalable building system, which is designed to easily and efficiently replicate the company’s sustainable indoor farm model, Local Bounti is more than doubling the size of its flagship facility in Hamilton, Montana, and plans to break ground on additional facilities in the Western U.S. before the end of this year. 

To learn more about Local Bounti’s unique growing process, diversified product offerings and experienced leadership team, please visit localbounti.com.

Transaction Overview

As a result of the transaction with Leo, Local Bounti will receive up to $400 million in gross proceeds (assuming no redemptions), including $125 million from a fully committed PIPE anchored by existing investors and new investors, including Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, BNP Paribas Asset Management Ecosystem Restoration Fund and Cargill.

The Boards of Directors of Local Bounti and Leo unanimously approved the transaction, and the transaction will require the approval of the stockholders of both Local Bounti and Leo and is subject to other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.

Additional information about the proposed transaction, including a copy of the merger agreement and investor presentation, will be provided in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by Leo Holdings III with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and will be available at www.sec.gov. For materials and information, visit the investor section of www.leoholdings.com for Leo, which can be found HERE.

Advisors

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Nomura Securities International, Inc. served as placement agents on the PIPE and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP served as legal advisor to the placement agents. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Leo. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Nomura Greentech served as financial advisors to Local Bounti and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP served as legal advisor to Local Bounti. 

About Local Bounti

Local Bounti is a premier controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company redefining conversion efficiency and environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards for indoor agriculture. The company operates an advanced indoor growing facility in Hamilton, Montana, within a few hours’ drive of its retail and food service partners. Reaching retail shelves in record time post-harvest, Local Bounti produce is superior in taste and quality compared to traditional field-grown greens. The company’s USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP Plus+) and non-genetically modified organisms (GMO) produce is sustainably grown using proprietary technology 365 days a year, free of pesticides and herbicides, and using 90 percent less land and water than conventional outdoor farming methods. With a mission to ‘bring our farm to your kitchen in the fewest food miles possible,’ Local Bounti is disrupting the cultivation and delivery of produce. The company is also committed to making meaningful connections and giving back to each of the communities it serves. To find out more, visit localbounti.com or follow the company on LinkedIn for the latest news and developments.

About Leo Holdings III Corp and Leo Holdings 

Leo Holdings III Corp is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that seeks to invest in entrepreneurially driven growth companies that seek to disrupt existing industries or business models. The management team has extensive experience owning and operating businesses on a global scale through its private equity vehicle, Lion Capital. Leo Holdings’ management team has collaboratively worked together for over 20 years.

Leo Holdings III Corp is part of a special purpose acquisition company initiative, Leo Holdings, which is focused on investing in disruptive, innovative business models. The initiative seeks businesses positioned to thrive in the evolving digital information age where changing consumer behavior creates the opportunity for outsized returns. In 2020, Leo Holdings Corp entered into a business combination with DMS, a disruptive performance marketing business which delivers high-intent customers while de-risking client advertising spend. Leo Holdings Corp II (LHC) and Leo Holdings III Corp (LIII) are currently listed on the NYSE. 

Leo Holdings was formed by the principals of Lion Capital, which is led by Founder and Managing Partner, Lyndon Lea. For more information, visit https://leoholdings.com/.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this Press Release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook,” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding estimates and forecasts of other financial and performance metrics and projections of market opportunity. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this Press Release, and on the current expectations of Local Bounti’s and Leo’s management and are not predictions of actual performance. These forward-looking statements are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to serve as, and must not be relied on by any investor as, a guarantee, an assurance, a prediction or a definitive statement of fact or probability. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict and will differ from assumptions. Many actual events and circumstances are beyond the control of Local Bounti and Leo. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including changes in domestic and foreign business, market, financial, political and legal conditions; the inability of the parties to successfully or timely consummate the proposed transaction, including the risk that any required regulatory approvals are not obtained, are delayed or are subject to unanticipated conditions that could adversely affect the combined company or the expected benefits of the proposed transaction or that the approval of the stockholders of Leo or Local Bounti is not obtained; failure to realize the anticipated benefits of the proposed transaction; risks relating to the uncertainty of the projected financial information with respect to Local Bounti; the effects of competition on Local Bounti’s future business; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Local Bounti’s business; the ability of Leo or the combined company to issue equity or equity-linked securities or obtain debt financing in connection with the proposed transaction or in the future, and those factors discussed in Leo’s final prospectus dated February 25, 2021 under the heading “Risk Factors,” and other documents of Leo filed, or to be filed, with the SEC. If any of these risks materialize or our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. There may be additional risks that none of Leo or Local Bounti presently know or that Leo or Local Bounti currently believe are immaterial that could also cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. In addition, forward-looking statements reflect Leo’s and Local Bounti’s expectations, plans or forecasts of future events and views as of the date of this Press Release. Leo and Local Bounti anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause Leo’s and Local Bounti’s assessments to change. However, while Leo and Local Bounti may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, Leo and Local Bounti specifically disclaim any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Leo’s and Local Bounti’s assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this Press Release. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements. Certain market data information in this Press Release is based on the estimates of Local Bounti and Leo management. Local Bounti and Leo obtained the industry, market and competitive position data used throughout this Press Release from internal estimates and research as well as from industry publications and research, surveys and studies conducted by third parties. Local Bounti and Leo believe their estimates to be accurate as of the date of this Press Release. However, this information may prove to be inaccurate because of the method by which Local Bounti or Leo obtained some of the data for its estimates or because this information cannot always be verified due to the limits on the availability and reliability of raw data, the voluntary nature of the data gathering process.

Important Information

In connection with the proposed transaction, Leo intends to file a registration statement on Form S-4, including a proxy statement/prospectus (the “Registration Statement”), with the SEC, which will include a preliminary proxy statement to be distributed to holders of Leo’s ordinary shares in connection with Leo’s solicitation of proxies for the vote by Leo’s shareholders with respect to the proposed transaction and other matters as will be described in the Registration Statement, and a prospectus relating to, among other things, the offer of the securities to be issued to Local Bounti’s stockholders in connection with the proposed transaction. After the Registration Statement has been declared effective, Leo will mail a definitive proxy statement/prospectus, when available, to its shareholders. Investors and security holders and other interested parties are urged to read the proxy statement/prospectus, and any amendments thereto and any other documents filed with the SEC when they become available, carefully and in their entirety because they contain important information about Leo, Local Bounti and the proposed transaction. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the preliminary proxy statement/prospectus and definitive proxy statement/prospectus (when available) and other documents filed with the SEC by Leo through the website maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. These documents (when they are available) can also be obtained free of charge from Leo upon written request to Leo by emailing brown@leo.holdings or by directing a request to Leo’s secretary at c/o Leo Holdings III Corp, 21 Grosvenor Pl, London SW1X 7HF, United Kingdom.

Participants in the Solicitation

Leo and Local Bounti and their respective directors and certain of their respective executive officers and other members of management and employees may be considered participants in the solicitation of proxies with respect to the proposed transaction. Information about the directors and executive officers of Leo in its final prospectus dated February 25, 2021. Additional information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitation and a description of their direct interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the Registration Statement and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction. Stockholders, potential investors and other interested persons should read the Registration Statement carefully before making any voting or investment decisions. These documents, when available, can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above.

No Offer or Solicitation

This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended to and shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for any securities or a solicitation of any vote of approval, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and otherwise in accordance with applicable law.

Contacts:

Kathleen Valiasek, Chief Financial Officer
Local Bounti
investors@localbounti.com

Chloe Gatta
Leo Holdings 
leoholdings@hstrategies.com

05-13-2021

Local Bounti, Strengthens Leadership Team

Disruptive Agriculture Company strengthens Leadership Team with Appointments of Kathleen Valiasek and Mark J. Nelson

Seasoned biotech and food industry executives are poised to propel the Company to the forefront of indoor agricultural innovation, as it reimagines fresh produce production and delivery across the U.S.

Hamilton, Montana – May 13, 2021 – Local Bounti Corporation, a breakthrough U.S. indoor agriculture company, today announced two exceptional appointments to its leadership team. Biotech veteran Kathleen Valiasek has assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer and food industry innovator Mark Nelson has joined the Company’s Board of Directors.

As Local Bounti’s CFO, Valiasek will help advance the Company’s bold plan to more than double the size of its flagship Bitterroot facility in Hamilton, Montana, and to break ground on several facilities in the U.S. before the end of next year. Valiasek brings more than three decades of experience across the life sciences, technology, real estate, retail and healthcare sectors, most recently serving as Chief Business Officer and, prior to that, CFO of Amyris, a publicly-traded global biotech and manufacturing company. Previously, she was Founder and CEO of Lenox Group, Inc., a finance and strategic consulting firm, where she guided industry leaders such as Kaiser Permanente and Albertsons Companies. Valiasek’s results-driven portfolio of work also includes key venture capital, real estate development and accounting roles, with expertise in SEC reporting, strategic planning, debt and equity financing, business development, and mergers and acquisitions. With her appointment, Dave Vosburg assumed the role of Local Bounti’s Chief Operations Officer.

Nelson – who recently retired as CFO and Treasurer of Beyond Meat, Inc. after successfully leading the company’s initial public offering in May 2019 – brings more than 30 years of leadership experience to Local Bounti, spanning both finance and operational roles in the technology, food and beverage, medical device and energy markets. Previously, he served as SVP and CFO of Biolase, Treasurer and CFO of Farmer Bros., and VP and Chief Accounting Officer at Newport Corporation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kathy and Mark to the exceptional Local Bounti leadership team, particularly at this pivotal time as we expand both our facilities and our business,” said Local Bounti Co-Founder and Co-CEO Craig Hurlbert. “Their extensive experience and full support of our company’s mission and vision will help to propel our growth as we continue to nourish local communities safely, responsibly and sustainably.”

An industry disruptor reimagining The Farm of the Future™ and changing the way food is grown, Local Bounti is a premier controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company redefining environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards for indoor agriculture. The Company’s unique business model is based on building local facilities, operated by local teams, to deliver the freshest and highest quality produce to local communities while still maintaining a limited carbon footprint. Using proprietary technology to grow leafy greens and herbs in a smart, indoor controlled environment, the Company strives to deliver high-quality produce that not only has a longer shelf life, but is also superior in taste and nutritional value. What’s more, Local Bounti’s cultivation process uses 90 percent less water and land than conventional agriculture, without herbicides or pesticides.

“I am thrilled to join the tremendous Local Bounti team, whose fervent focus on unit economics is proving to be a winning formula poised to reap significant benefits for our customers and stakeholders,” said Valiasek.

According to Nelson: “The passion, ingenuity and extraordinary vision of the Local Bounti management is what immediately drew me to the team, and I look forward to contributing to Local Bounti’s impressive blueprint for business growth and value creation at this pivotal time in the company’s trajectory.”

Leveraging its innovative modular building system, which is designed to easily and efficiently replicate the Company’s sustainable indoor farm model, Local Bounti is more than doubling the size of its flagship Bitterroot facility in Hamilton, Montana, and plans to break ground on several facilities in the U.S. before the end of next year. More growth is expected to follow as the company continues to build on its successful model.

To learn more about Local Bounti’s unique growing process, diversified product offerings and experienced leadership team, please visit localbounti.com.

About Local Bounti

Local Bounti is a premier controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company redefining conversion efficiency and environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards for indoor agriculture. A geographic first mover on an industry-leading path, the Company currently operates an advanced indoor growing facility in Hamilton, Montana, 100-300 miles from its retail and food service partners. Reaching retail shelves in record time post-harvest, Local Bounti produce is superior in taste, quality and nutrition compared to traditional field-grown greens. The company’s USDA Harmonized GAP Plus+ (GAP) and non-genetically modified organisms (GMO) certified produce is sustainably grown using proprietary technology 365 days a year, with no pesticides or herbicides and using 90 percent less land and water than conventional outdoor farming methods. With a mission to ‘bring our farm to your kitchen as part of our journey to deliver the freshest, highest-quality produce in the fewest food miles possible’, Local Bounti is disrupting the delivery and cultivation of produce. Local Bounti is also committed to making meaningful connections and giving back to each of the communities it serves by delivering superior products that support health, wellness and family. To find out more, visit localbounti.com or follow the company on LinkedIn for the latest news and developments.

Contacts:

Kathleen Valiasek
Chief Financial Officer
Local Bounti
investors@localbounti.com

Kimberly Esterkin
ADDO Investor Relations
310-829-5400
investors@localbounti.com

01-18-2021

Food for Thought

How Controlled Environment Agriculture Can Help Solve the World’s Food Waste Challenge

It may be hard to face the facts, but the world is experiencing an imminent agricultural crisis. With the onset of COVID-19 and the rationing of fresh eggs, milk and produce at your local markets, it has become increasingly apparent that we must make major shifts in how we grow our food if we want to be able to sufficiently feed the planet. The world will need 70% more food to feed our growing population by 2050, yet there will not be enough arable land and water to sustain traditional agriculture to meet these needs. 30% of arable land in the U.S. has been lost in the last 40 years. In addition, 60% of all available crop land today has been severely depleted from irrigation use.  More alarming, 25% of all people across the globe lack adequate nutrition, with nearly nine million deaths per year from hunger. 

Exacerbating the challenges of limited water and land resources is the growing amount of food waste. 130 billion tons of food (over $160 billion) is wasted annually, which represents one-third of our global food production. Nearly half of that food waste is fresh fruits and vegetables. How many households buy fresh cucumbers and apples only to let them rot in the fridge? How many grocery stores overstock their shelves with bagged lettuce to maintain an image of abundance, only to toss expired bags not purchased in time? How many farmers are unable to sell their produce because it looks imperfect or was not harvested properly?

Food waste is not a new challenge. In fact, it’s an age old crisis that the world continues to try to solve. Following nearly three years of intense fighting in World War I (WWI), on August 10, 1917, the United States established the U.S. Food Administration to manage wartime food supply and distribution and reduce food waste. Popular slogans at the time such as “Food will win the war” encouraged people not to waste their groceries and to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. The U.S. Food Administration encouraged: “Food: buy it with thought, cook it with care…serve just enough, use what is left, don’t waste it.” 

Food waste does not just result from fresh produce not being eaten. It also results from exposure to bacteria, animal feces and even human touch in the growing and packaging processes that cause our produce to spoil. Unlike traditional outdoor farming, controlled environment agriculture (CEA) significantly reduces exposure to bacteria, weather, animals, and other forces that can cause damage to crops. As a result, one of the largest sustainability-related impacts of CEA is that it offers a drastic reduction in food waste. During WWI, indoor victory gardens popped up across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany as governments recognized the ability to safely and abundantly grow fresh produce indoors and reduce the pressure on the public food supply in a time of extreme rationing.

Since the early 1900s, and the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture’s campaign “A Vegetable Garden for Every Home,” indoor farming has come a very long way. From customized genetics to state-of-the art technologies that monitor everything from climate to nutrient content, there’s no question that CEA disrupts conventional outdoor agriculture. Produce is grown indoors often with zero residue of pesticides or herbicides. Given its minimal exposure to the elements, produce grown indoors can have 10 times to 1,000 times less bacteria than food grown outdoors, further reducing spoilage. Due to the hyperlocal nature of CEA farms – think less than 100 miles to the grocer compared to over 1,100 miles, on average, for conventional agriculture – produce can be delivered to stores within hours or days of harvest, expanding shelf life significantly. Outdoor grown lettuce tends to have a three to five-day shelf life, while greens grown indoors can last up to five weeks! As an added bonus, the short distance from farm to retailer means lower greenhouse gas emissions during transit. Food grown in CEA facilities might just be the answer to preserving quality, freshness and value for consumers and retailers.

As our name implies, here at Local Bounti our product is hyperlocal and our harvests are bountiful. We are connected to our community, bringing fresh, local produce to the neighborhoods we live in and grow in. Our modular indoor facility provides an ideal controlled environment for our herbs and leafy greens to thrive. We grow hydroponically, submerging our plants’ roots in a nutrient-rich water solution rather than in soil, cutting down significantly on their exposure to bacteria. In addition, since we grow indoors, we can cultivate our produce 24/7, 365 days per year. 

Importantly, our growing methods are very sustainable. We use 90% less water than conventional outdoor farming with no run-off.  Our indoor facility leverages an ideal combination of natural and artificial light and is less than 100 miles from each of our retail partners, significantly reducing our carbon footprint when transporting food to retailers. In addition, given the hyperlocal nature of our facility, our produce is picked at the peak of freshness and nutrient density, landing on retail shelves within 48 hours of harvest.

Local Bounti is a win-win for both the consumer and the retailer. The consumer is able to purchase better quality food at the same price or lower than retail, while grocers reduce shrinkage, minimize their risk of recalls and have a more reliable, consistent supply chain.

Local Bounti’s process is a win-win for both the consumer and the retailer. The consumer is able to purchase better quality food at the same price or lower than retail; they can trust the safety of how their food is grown and packaged; and they are able to make fresh salads for weeks on end with just a single trip to the grocery store. Grocers reduce shrinkage as a result the longer shelf life of Local Bounti’s produce; they minimize their risk of recalls from bacteria exposure; and they have a more reliable, consistent supply chain that they can count on year round. These benefits, combined with shortened food miles, result in 10% to 30% less food waste for the grocer on average. 

At our Bitterroot facility in Hamilton, Montana, we grow living herbs, living lettuce and cut lettuce varieties. Given our highly replicable, but proprietary model, we anticipate that Local Bounti will be able to expand our product count and number of locations in the near future and bring our sustainable growing methods across the globe. Just like Bitterroot, each of our growing facilities will be designed for automation and efficiency, significantly reducing food waste, cost and miles, while increasing quality, quantity and reliability. While there is still much to accomplish before our world has enough food to feed a population of nearly 10 billion by 2050, CEA and Local Bounti will hopefully help begin to close the gap between food demand and food availability. As author Katherine Anne Porter once said, “You waste life when you waste good food.” Let’s take the next steps in reducing food waste and preserving good food. Our planet certainly needs it.

12-04-2020

Happy Workers = Happy Plants = Happy Taste Buds

A View into Local Bounti’s Incomparable Culture

At Local Bounti we love happy plants. Our plants are kept in the ideal environment from the initial seedlings to the packaged products, ensuring that our produce stays fresh and delicious for weeks. You will no doubt smell and taste the difference of Local Bounti herbs and leafy greens. In order to bring our farm to your kitchen and deliver the freshest, locally grown produce in the fewest miles possible, we must ensure that we not only cultivate our plants properly but also our culture. Our mission is rooted in sustainability and in turn human welfare, and we have a truly unique culture when it comes to the agriculture industry. 

So what is the traditional ag industry like? Unfortunately, traditional outdoor farming is often characterized by its harsh working conditions coupled with low wages. According to the Department of Labor, nearly 25% of farm workers today earn a family income below the federal poverty line – that is less than $22,000 a year for a family of three. With fewer than 1% of farm workers in the United States belonging to a union, there is often no one advocating on their behalf for a fair living wage. In addition, given the seasonality of industry, outdoor agriculture companies are frequently unable to provide workers with full-year employment or benefits. 

In addition to low pay, the working conditions can be grueling – long hours of manual labor, unfavorable weather conditions and overexposure to pesticides and herbicides. Farming is also one of the few industries where the entire family, who may also work on the farm or live on the premises, is at risk for injury and illness. As a result of these harsh working conditions, injury rates for U.S. farm workers are very high. In fact, agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  

We recognize that our industry has a long way to go when it comes to improving worker welfare, safety and pay. The controlled environment agriculture (CEA) space in which Local Bounti operates, however, is beginning to make important strides in improving working conditions. As we grow indoors, CEA provides full-time, full-year jobs versus the transient labor often associated with traditional outdoor agriculture. We are also able to establish our indoor farms (greenhouses, vertical farms, container farms, and more) in underserved Opportunity Zones. By building our farms in urban, economically distressed areas, we are able to create much needed employment for the region while also bringing food security to areas that are often 1,000 miles away from fresh produce. Salaries for indoor agriculture also tend to be higher than traditional outdoor farming. That said, based on our internal research of the competitive CEA landscape, CEA worker pay is still below the living wage.

Local Bounti employees are healthy and empowered. Our employees are valued and respected. They have a passion for their work and for Local Bounti’s success.

This brings us back to the beginning of our discussion – Local Bounti’s truly unique industry culture. Local Bounti employees are healthy and empowered. Our employees are valued and respected. They have a passion for their work and for Local Bounti’s success. This shared passion for achievement is the lifeblood of our company. 

Why are our employees so happy? Every single one of Local Bounti’s employees is offered a living wage and full benefits. In fact, full-time employees at our Bitterroot Facility in Hamilton, Montana make $2.00 more per hour than average for similar agriculture jobs in the state. In addition, unlike the grueling hours of outdoor farming, our team has standard working hours to ensure a work/life balance.

11-23-2020

A “Shared Blueprint for Peace and Prosperity”

A Brief Primer on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals & Local Bounti’s Unparalleled ESG Alignment

Did you know that in addition to being experts in controlled environment agriculture (CEA), Local Bounti is also a leader in sustainability? Local Bounti exhibits exceptional ESG performance, directly addressing over one-half of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Our Vice President of Strategy, Gary Gilbert, who is a certified Global Reporting Initiative reporter, is responsible for developing and implementing Local Bounti’s sustainability program, ensuring that we are a world leader in sustainable and efficient CEA.

So what are the sustainable development goals (SDGs)? In 2015, all U.N. Member States, which includes the United States, adopted a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the core of this agenda were 17 SDGs, “an urgent call to action by all countries – developed and developing.” These 17 goals are meant to advise companies and their nations on how to best run their businesses in a way that will address key issues from hunger and climate change to racial inequality, health and education, with an ultimate goal that all people across the globe can enjoy peace and prosperity by the year 2030.

The 17 SDGs follow a long-standing principle first spoken by Aristotle that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, 1+1=3. Each of the goals, and actions associated with achieving them, therefore affects the outcomes of the others; they build upon one another, rather than stand to be achieved individually. The SDGs ask for a balance of environmental, social and economic sustainability. 

2020 was an incredibly challenging year for the planet that reversed much of the progress previously achieved toward fulfilling the U.N.’s 17 SDGs. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, notes in the SDG 2020 Report, “Although the novel coronavirus affects every person and community, it does not do so equally. Instead, it has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities and injustices… Far from undermining the case for the SDGs, the root causes and uneven impacts of COVID-19 demonstrate precisely why we need the 2030 Agenda… At the start of this Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs, I call for renewed ambition, mobilization, leadership and collective action.” 

What are some of the key findings of the 2020 report? As you can imagine, the world is off-track to end poverty by 2030. COVID-19 resulted in the first increase in global poverty in decades. Over 71 million people, the 2020 report notes, were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020. Food insecurity was already increasing prior to the pandemic, with nearly 26% of the population affected by moderate or severe food insecurity at the end of 2019, an increase of ~60 million people since 2014. Small-scale food producers already facing challenges were only hit harder as a result of the pandemic when local markets were forced to close, and they could not get their products to consumers safely.

Maintaining a high-quality, safe and consistent food supply is only becoming a greater challenge. The U.N. notes that investments in agriculture, relative to its contribution to the economy, continue to decline. The 2020 Report concludes that “public investment in agriculture can enhance productivity, attract private investment and help reduce poverty and hunger.” The findings also show that there remain substantial gaps in assessing progress toward the sustainable goals and thus investments in “data and innovation are key to responding to the crisis and to supporting SDG acceleration.”

Local Bounti is actively addressing the world’s dire sustainability challenges. A rare breed, Local Bounti adheres to 10 of the 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals.

Public equity investors are investing in sustainable leaders, specifically those companies that follow superior environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, more than ever before. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investments’ (U.S. SIF) Biennial Trend Report from November 2020, concluded that sustainable investing assets now account for 1 in every 3 dollars of total U.S. assets under professional management today. That’s a 42% increase since 2018. Bloomberg Intelligence Global’s “ESG 2021 Outlook” predicts that ESG assets may top $53 trillion by 2025. This data shows that: 1) there is an unprecedented demand for investment in sustainable companies, and 2) by default there should also be a tremendous demand for those companies that are able to address key sustainability challenges, whether that be zero hunger, worker welfare, affordable and clean energy or climate change. Naturally, CEA companies fit right into that second category of companies addressing ESG challenges. As a result, in 2020, over $1 billion of growth equity was invested in U.S. CEA companies, and this figure only continues to grow. 

Local Bounti is one of those companies actively addressing the world’s dire sustainability challenges.  A rare breed, Local Bounti addresses 10 of the 17 SDGs:

  • SGG 2 – No Hunger – Local Bounti’s hyperlocal farm enables us to provide fresh produce to the Western United States, an area often considered a food desert.
  • SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation – Local Bounti’s indoor growing processes use 90% less water as compared to conventional outdoor agriculture. This drastic reduction in water usage conserves resources and, as is often the case in traditional agriculture, does not produce polluted water runoff. 
  • SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy – Our facility in Hamilton, Montana (Bitterroot), is energy efficient using the ideal combination of natural and artificial light to grow our plants.
  • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth – Local Bounti provides all employees full-time jobs with full benefits, a rarity in the agriculture industry. 
  • SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – We are investing in sustainable infrastructure and technologies that will improve efficiencies, decrease costs and reduce waste passing the benefit of lower-priced, higher-quality fresh produce to consumers and retailers.
  • SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities – By opening our Bitterroot facility in an underserved region of the country, we bring much needed employment, taxes and investment to Hamilton, Montana and the surrounding cities.
  • SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production – Local Bounti’s produce has a shelf life of three to five weeks, compared to three to five days for field-grown produce. This extended shelf life significantly reduces food waste. In addition, given our location, our fresh produce gets to retailers quicker. Shorter food miles reduce grocer waste by 10% to 30%, on average.
  • SDG 13 – Climate Action – The “local nature” of Local Bounti drastically reduces emissions from food supply chain transportation. Our farm is less than 100 miles from our retail partners, compared to over 1,100 miles, on average, for conventional agriculture. 
  • SDG 14 – Life Below Water – The only water lost in our growing process is through natural evaporation or absorption by our plants. This eliminates agricultural runoff that contributes to ocean pollution. We also grow our plants without the use of pesticides or herbicides, which have drastically impacted the quality of our global water supply.
  • SDG 15 – Life on Land – Our indoor farm uses 90% less land than outdoor farming, reducing the impact on wildlife and the overall environment. 

Our discussion today only touches the surface of Local Bounti’s commitment to sustainability. We look forward to continuing to share our sustainability achievements. In the meantime, you can read about how we are pioneering working welfare, SDG 8, here (link to other piece) and reducing food waste, SDG 16, here (link to other piece). We are excited to be part of the mission to bring our world closer to peace and prosperity by 2030. 

While COVID-19 may have set the overall U.N. SDGs’ progress back, it has only heightened our passion for strengthening the world’s food supply, giving back, connecting with our community and delivering products that support health, wellness and family. With goals as important as these, we know that the runway for Local Bounti and CEA is long and that the pathway to achieving our mission will be nothing short of extraordinary.