Organizers of Endless Harvest, the controlled-environment agriculture lettuce project planned for Jamestown, N.D., are looking for $2 million in loans from local development agencies to get the project off the ground.
Endless Harvest would construct a greenhouse near Jamestown to grow lettuce for the Northern Plains market. Lance Brower, a consultant for Endless Harvest, presented an update on the plans and the request for funding at a Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. executive board meeting.
"We could raise lettuce during the first phase at about 47 cents per head," Brower said. "We could have sold that lettuce wholesale in 2011 for $1.31 per head."
Brower said the first phase of the project would include an administrative and classroom building, living quarters and a 2.7-acre greenhouse where lettuce would be grown. Through phased expansion, the project would ultimately include 21.6 acres of greenhouse space and furnish about 45 percent of the lettuce consumed in North Dakota and Minnesota, according to Brower.
Costs for the project's first phase were pegged at about $12 million, Brower said. Construction of additional phases would be funded through profits from the project's early stages.
Endless Harvest has secured about $10 million in loans from the Small Business Administration, an unnamed local bank and the Bank of North Dakota, Brower said.
Steve Froehlich, one of the Endless Harvest project developers, said a local investment would guarantee local control.
"There are a lot of ways we can get this funding," he said. "This is your project. If you want to retain it, you can fund it."