Vegg Inc. celebrates first harvest of lettuce grown with carbon recycling technology – WVTF

Vegg Inc., a company in Pulaski, recently celebrated the harvesting of their first lettuce, which was grown using an innovative technology that utilizes recycled carbon.

Inside a historic and previously vacant school building in downtown Pulaski, spring mix lettuce was cut and offered to a group of supporters and collaborators, like Michael Evans, the director of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech. The university is partnering with Vegg Inc. to help train agriculture students.

“This technology is actually pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere, concentrating it and bringing it in,” Evans said. “So, we’re actually removing the CO2 from the atmosphere.”

Steve Critchfield, one of the funders for MOVA technologies and Vegg Inc., stands holding spring mix that was harvested after growing inside a former school building. The lettuce was grown using MOVA's carbon filtration system. Vegg Inc. is redeveloping the former school building and was loaned money to purchase the building for $1 million.

Roxy Todd

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Radio IQ

Steve Critchfield, one of the funders for MOVA technologies and Vegg Inc., stands holding spring mix that was harvested after growing inside a former school building. The lettuce was grown using MOVA’s carbon filtration system. Vegg Inc. is redeveloping the former school building and was loaned money to purchase the building for $1 million.

Evans says in the future, because of climate change and growing populations around the world, more food will need to be grown in controlled environments, like indoor greenhouses and vertical farms. Not all plants will grow this way, and those that do often need CO2 pumped into the air to optimize production. Most lettuce grown indoors is given CO2 from natural gas, he says. This lettuce is different.

The group that designed this technology, called MOVA and also based in Pulaski, received funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, as well as state funding and private investment.

Also there to celebrate the first harvest of lettuce was Pulaski County Administrator, Jonathan Sweet. He said he’s excited to see this technology growing inside a former school building.

“And also, be a teaching center, which it’s pretty cool, cause it comes right back around to what the original facility was here for,” Sweet said.

Virginia Tech is collaborating with Vegg Inc. to use the site as a training facility to teach agriculture students how to use vertical farming that utilize the recycled carbon technology.

Sweet said the county and the town of Pulaski loaned, Vegg Inc. a million dollars to purchase this school building. They gave them a year to pay back that loan, but have extended the deadline.