Craig Hurlbert and Brian Cook Discuss Texas Expansion and Vision for Local Bounti
HAMILTON, MT - It’s all in the name: Local Bounti. As a company that prides itself on year-round, sustainable, flavorful, and abundant produce options—Local Bounti is scaling up that “local” element even more this year, setting the operation apart in a highly competitive controlled environment agriculture (CEA) space.
With construction underway for a new six-acre, state-of-the-art indoor facility in Mount Pleasant, Texas, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Craig Hurlbert tells me that this recent move amplifies and supports the company’s messaging, offerings, and value to customers and consumers. And I was all ears as he introduced me to his vision for excellence.
“The expansion in Texas fortifies Local Bounti’s distribution in markets across Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. Local is a common concept that is internationally relevant. And, so, Local Bounti is really focusing on being present in the local community, being able to bring better tasting, more sustainably grown products to consumers,” Craig says. “If you think about it in those terms, then almost everything we do comes from that idea—getting things that are better for the consumer, closer to the consumer, so that they can enjoy the products with their families consistently.”
Craig elaborates on this idea, explaining to me how all four corners of Local Bounti’s business are focused on that mission. And, right now, that mission is solely in the United States. However, one day, it will be beyond the U.S. borders.
“Wherever we go, we experience a heavy dose of consumer and customer voices echoing back to us, telling us, ‘This would be a good place for a facility,’ and so we are keeping tabs on a constantly shifting horizon,” he shares. “At a very high level, it all starts with the consumer by providing additional capacity to meet existing demand from Local Bounti’s direct relationships with blue-chip buying operations.”
Meeting the needs of consumers and customers is where Local Bounti’s state-of-the-art technology and resources come in as it leverages its own proprietary Stack & Flow Technology™ to grow and sell its indoor-grown line of packaged leafy greens.
The first varieties to make a home in the new facility include spring mix, butter lettuce, Romaine crisp, green leaf, and additional blends.
President Brian Cook reflects on what all this means for Local Bounti’s mission and the future of the company as it continues to grow.
“Being state-of-the-art allows us to support the state-of-the-heart for consumers. Taking both the head and the heart into consideration has given us the opportunity to connect in ways that provide value for our team and for our customers,” Brian expresses. “We try and do everything in the most efficient way possible. Really, the idea behind CEA is that automation and mechanization of pushing innovation from idea to execution—and getting beautiful produce through to the plate.”
What Brian is speaking of is best-in-class economics—from providing a more sustainable price point to being able to pivot on a dime, especially in a time where food sovereignty and climate change are impacting resources and needs.
Local Bounti is a team built upon a vision that goes beyond the bottom line—directed at the heart—but also does not ignore it. Walking that tightrope is the great feat of every company and this team does it well.
As the company’s strategic expansions take root in 2023, I cannot wait to hear more of this story—and I am sure, Local Bounti’s customers feel the same.