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Hamilton's Local Bounti to double facility size and staff

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Hamilton's Local Bounti to double facility size and staff

Sheryl Belford, office manager for Hamilton's Local Bounti, holds some of the lettuce harvested at the greenhouse on Foley Lane. The company plans to double in size and will be looking to hire 50 people over the next six months.

Greenhouse leader Local Bounti is doing more than growing greens in its Hamilton headquarters. The company is also significantly growing its operations and is in hiring mode to support its rapid expansion.

With construction currently underway to more than double the size of its current 40,000-square-foot state-of-the-art greenhouse facility, Local Bounti has announced that it is looking to also double the size of its workforce — from 50 to 100 employees over the next six months — and is committed to hiring locally.

“Since day one, Local Bounti has put the emphasis on ‘local’ and we’re excited to be in a position to offer excellent job opportunities to the community,” said Lisa Whitmore, vice president, people and safety at Local Bounti.

An industry disruptor, changing the way food is grown and re-imagining the future of farming, Local Bounti — which launched several years ago — is a controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company. Using proprietary technology to grow leafy greens and herbs in a smart, controlled environment greenhouse all year round — and with a cultivation process that uses 90% less water and land than conventional agriculture, free from herbicides or pesticides — Local Bounti is focused on delivering the freshest and highest quality produce to local communities while maintaining a low carbon footprint.

The company’s products, currently sold at more than 200 supermarkets throughout the Northwest and available locally at all major grocers in Ravalli and Missoula counties, include living butter lettuce and cut green leaf, red leaf, butter and romaine lettuce, with living basil and cilantro to be available in the fall.

Range of jobs available

“The company is growing quickly and as a result, employees have the opportunity to rotate through various areas of our operations, expand their skills and enjoy a variety of work,” Whitmore said, adding that job openings range from farm technicians and growers, to shipping/warehouse, quality, engineering, and support roles — with many positions not requiring specialized skills or previous experience.

“Not only do our employees get to be part of a growth organization that is disrupting norms to improve how food is grown and delivered to consumers, but they also benefit from above-market starting wages, an excellent benefits package — five health plans and a 401(k) program with company match, paid time off, a casual, comfortable work environment, complimentary weekly team lunches, and much more,” she said.

For Olivia, who joined Local Bounti in August as a farm technician and in eight short months worked her way up to a leadership role, the company’s investment in its people was a major attraction in her decision to join the team. “The team is heavily invested in working with employees to find the right fit for their skills and interests, and help them develop and move up in the company,” she said.

Equally motivating for is the passionate mindset of the company’s employees, she explained. “We have a really good group of people who all share a common goal and passion to provide greenhouse fresh delivery of local, sustainable produce to the community we live in and many grew up in,” she said.

Giving back to community

This goal also includes feeding those in need, explained Office Manager Sheryl Belford, who spearheads the company’s community outreach program.

Throughout the year, Local Bounti provides fresh, nutritious produce to a wide range of community organizations and initiatives, including community food banks in Missoula, Darby and Stevensville, the Montana Food Bank Network, Ravalli County Meals on Wheels and commodities programs, Hamilton churches’ community meal programs, and local men’s homeless shelters and youth programs, among others.

“It feels amazing to be able to have such a direct impact on the community that we can see on a daily basis,” Belford said. “All of us at Local Bounti are so proud that we’re able to give fresh and delicious produce to those who need it and everyone who receives it is so thankful.”

Belford’s role also involves giving back to Local Bounti employees. “I love my job and the people I work with,” she said. “On top of my everyday office management responsibilities, it’s my job to come up with ways to thank our employees for their hard work and commitment, and that includes organizing birthday parties, lunches, breakfasts and all kinds of events to keep our team engaged, happy and connected.”

Clearly, these efforts are working, as Belford describes the Local Bounti work environment as “a tight-knit family community where everyone cares about each other and their wellbeing.”

General Manager Mitchell Kirby couldn’t agree more. “I’ve worked in agricultural facilities and management for 40 years and I’ve never experienced such an extraordinary culture like the one at Local Bounti,” he said.

“Everything about us is local and our focus is on people — growing produce and people so they can thrive locally and raise families here with a promising future,” he explained. “We are one big, extended family — we’re all for one and we’re all for the company.”

Those interested in applying for a position with Local Bounti can stop by the facility at 490 Foley Lane, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or visit the careers page at localbounti.com.

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