Founded in 2011, Natural Produce is a social enterprise that owns and operates state-of-the-art heated and cooled greenhouses in Brighton, Colorado. By creating a replicable and scalable manufacturing process for local produce, Natural Produce has become the fastest growing producer of local and organic greenhouse-grown tomatoes in Colorado, which can be found in stores under the Larry’s Local Organic brand. Currently, it has two fully operational greenhouses, and it just completed construction on a new, 65,000-square-foot greenhouse, along with two smaller research and development greenhouses to test different crops. By 2020, Natural Produce plans to expand its footprint to include 14 new greenhouses.
Why We Invested
Through our investment in Natural Produce, which will fund the addition of two greenhouses, Gary Community Investments has the opportunity to receive full market-rate returns while achieving tangible social impact aligned with our mission. In addition to producing local, healthy food in an energy-efficient greenhouse environment that uses 90 percent less water than conventional farming, Natural Produce is committed to employing single, working mothers and providing them with a healthy, ergonomic working environment that includes education and training for all employees and flexible working hours.
Since making this investment, Natural Produce has accelerated its commitment to social impact. By the end of 2018, Natural Produce estimates it will have donated more than 26,000 pounds of produce to local food shelters, nonprofits and public schools. In addition to helping to ensure healthy food access in Colorado, Natural Produce has continued to provide employment opportunities to single mothers, and the company is dedicated to helping all employees achieve upward mobility. As part of its efforts to support employees, Natural Produce provides navigation services, ESL classes, GED support, tax preparation guidance, child care references and one-on-one mentorship to help employees pursue their goals.