April 8, 2020
AeroFarms Update: Safety and Policies around COVID-19
Dear AeroFarms Community,
As we continue to monitor COVID-19 (coronavirus) developments, we want to emphasize the importance of taking care of ourselves, our loved ones, and our customers. As a food producing company, we believe we have a greater societal obligation to feed people particularly during these times of need when we see empty food shelves at the markets.
We want to take a moment to acknowledge the hero’s work that our selling partners are doing, staying open, and ensuring access to food and supplies. We join them with a resolute resolve to continue our farm operations to grow safely, locally, every day of the year.
We especially want to thank our team for their incredible commitment. Thank you, thank you, thank you – only begins to capture the gratitude we have for our team of over 165 people, all aligned with making a positive impact. We are very appreciative of how the team is balancing everything particularly on the home front with family and closed schools. We are proactively working on appropriate coverage strategies to ensure continuity of our farm.
As more information becomes available from the CDC, we will take all appropriate actions, and we wanted to provide you an update on all of the steps that we are already taking.
What We Know
- COVID-19 is not considered to be a foodborne illness, and there is no evidence that it is transmitted through food according to the CDC.
- AeroFarms farms are audited for Good Agriculture Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices, and we have high levels of safety built into our indoor vertical farms with robust food safety standard operating procedures that includes our team members wearing personal protective equipment including hairnet, face cover, safety gloves and glasses, and overcoat. We have elaborate HVAC filtration systems in place with a MERV rating of 13.
- AeroFarms Team Members are on the Board of Directors for the Produce Marketing Association and the Controlled Environment Agriculture Food Safety Coalition, and we have open lines of communication with the FDA and CDC for the latest developments.
In addition to our comprehensive food safety procedures, we have enhanced even further our daily activities by:
- Closing our facilities to only essential personnel.
- Reminding team members to stay home from work if they are sick.
- Evaluating every team member with an infrared thermometer before accessing our farm.
- Sending home any team member who is symptomatic.
- Implementing heightened sanitation practices that includes making sure surfaces and work areas are being sanitized multiple times every day.
- Installing additional hand sanitation stations.
- Reinforcing our existing training on effective handwashing and the use of personal protective equipment.
Ensuring social distancing throughout our operations.
- Asking team members who have traveled to impacted areas to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Promoting working from home where possible and limiting face-to-face meetings.
- Equipping our drivers with more sanitation supplies in addition to their practice of replacing their food safety gloves after each delivery.
- Automating Accounting including electronic payment and emailing of invoices.
- Ensuring our supply chain and farming inputs to be able to operate without any interruptions.
Our mission of “growing the best plants for the betterment of humanity” takes on even greater resonance in these times of change and uncertainty. What is unwavering is our deep commitment to maintaining a safe, working environment for our farms so we can continue to serve you, our community, with locally-grown produce.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments at Ask.David@AeroFarms.com.
Co-Founder and CEO