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Celebrating Self - 80 Acres

Fifth-graders took the lion's share of the headlines and TV time, but the Jan. 11 Celebrating Self luncheon at the Fitton Center went way beyond elementary education.

Following a lunch crafted by Two Women in a Kitchen with 80 Acres Farms ingredients - and acoustic guitar music by David Thornton - 80 Acres CEO Tisha Livingston spoke to a packed Carruthers Signature Ballroom.

She shared stories of a global food revolution setting up headquarters in Hamilton.

"Did you ever have one of those perfect days," she asked? "Because we can control the environment, we give our plants a perfect day, every day. That's why our produce is so good."

The company got its name because all those perfect days added up to 80 acres worth of food grown on a traditional farm, all planted, raised and cultivated indoors at a building sitting on a quarter-acre lot.

How? They went vertical.

More than a vertical farming company, 80 Acres is a technology company. It only takes 10 people in the grow rooms to care for and harvest tons of food because of the technology used to automate - and optimize - the growing process.

And more than a technology company, 80 Acres is a logistics company, streamlining not only the growth process, but also the supply chain process that puts food on the shelf at the peak of freshness.

Speaking directly to the students, Livingston said 80 Acres will require a wide range of skills - from engineers to geneticists, from marketing professionals to maintenance technicians and everything in between - to keep the company moving forward.

"The best thing is we are all learning and training together," she said. "We're doing something completely new, so we're kind of making it up as we go along."

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