Lee - who has been a member of the board at AppHarvest since August 2020 - will leave Impossible Foods, where he has served as chief financial officer since 2015, on January 22. Impossible Foods’ VP and chief accounting officer David Borecky will become interim CFO.
During his tenure at Impossible Foods, Lee helped secure more than $1.3bn in funding to accelerate the company's manufacturing, product development, and national and international distribution into retail, restaurant, and hospitality channels.
“His skillset will help us build AppHarvest into an iconic brand and sustainable foods company that disrupts traditional agriculture to deliver responsibly grown American products with social impact,” said AppHarvest founder & CEO Jonathan Webb.
Since the ag tech company launched in 2018, AppHarvest has attracted more than $150m in investment, and in September 2020 announced a merger with publicly-traded Novus Capital Corporation, which is anticipated to close early in the first quarter of 2021 and provide $475m of gross proceeds to the company.
"AppHarvest offers a unique solution to building a more resilient and responsible food system. I have seen firsthand that when given sustainable options, consumers will be the market force that helps address climate change and food supply issues, ensuring success of companies that are putting the planet first, and I am eager to invest my time in a mission-driven company with so much potential to grow,” said Lee.
Indoor farms throughout the Appalachian region
AppHarvest has built large indoor farms throughout the US Appalachian region where the company combines conventional and cutting-edge farming practices to grow fresh fruit and vegetables using 90% less water (using recycled rain water) and zero chemical pesticides, 30x higher yields compared to traditional open-field agriculture on the same amount of land.
Its fresh produce is able to reach 70% of the US population within a single day's drive cutting down on diesel consumption by up to 80% compared to produce shipped from Mexico and the Southwest of the US, according to AppHarvest.
In January, AppHarvest expects to begin the first harvest from its flagship farm – a 60-acre facility growing tomatoes – in Morehead, Kentucky. The company has two additional facilities under construction – a similar 60-plus acre facility outside Richmond, Kentucky, and a 15-acre facility to grow leafy greens in Berea, Kentucky.
AppHarvest also is planning for more facilities across Kentucky and Central Appalachia, with nine potential projects in the pipeline through 2025.