Viraj Puri, Gotham Greens: With climate change, labor issues, food safety scares, rising transportation costs, and growing consumer interest in locally grown food, I believe we’ll continue to see a growing demand from consumers for greater traceability and sustainability along the supply chain.
There have been multiple food safety incidents this year involving leafy greens and lettuce coming out of CA and AZ, which can cause concern, confusion and distrust amongst customers. During the most recent romaine related illness outbreak, the CDC issued a blanket warning on ALL romaine lettuce because they weren’t able to trace the source of the issue. They did not distinguish lettuce in the market that had been grown and shipped from secure, controlled environment growing operations like those of Gotham Greens.
These incidents underscore the need for more transparency and traceability in our food systems. Most consumers don’t realize it but the majority of packaged salads coming from CA and AZ are contract farmed and co-packed. This means that one package of these salads, may contain leaves grown on multiple farms.
At Gotham Greens, we’re disrupting the traditional supply chain by building a network of regional urban greenhouses across the country. When customers buy a package of our salads or herbs, they know exactly where the produce is coming from and how it’s been grown.