Fast Company Honors AppHarvest in World Changing Ideas Awards

AgTech leader’s educational program for Appalachian students recognized in 2021 food category.

MAY 4, 2021 — MOREHEAD, KENTUCKY — Fast Company has honored AppHarvest, a leading AgTech company, Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp focused on farming more sustainably using 90% less water than open-field agriculture, as part of its 2021 World Changing Ideas contest. 

AppHarvest was an honorable mention in this year’s food category for its educational container farm program, which places high-tech farms retrofitted from shipping containers at Appalachian schools to offer students a hands-on opportunity to grow their own food. To date, AppHarvest has placed four container farms at Central Appalachian high schools with hundreds of students learning to farm and the importance of eating healthy. 

Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards honor the businesses, policies, projects and concepts actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation in solving health and climate crises, social injustice or economic inequality. A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners, finalists and honorable mentions from a pool of more than 4,000 entries received from across the globe. 

“Our mission to increase access to healthy, sustainably grown food is being realized on a hyper-local scale with our AgTech educational program,” said AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb. “To address failing food infrastructure effectively, the entire country will need to band together with more innovative solutions like those highlighted in this year’s Fast Company World Changing Ideas Awards. This honor is a testament to the crucial work we’ve achieved with Appalachian high schools so far.” 

This week’s World Changing Ideas award announcement follows the expansion of AppHarvest’s educational container farm program into Madison County, Ky., during Earth Week last month. The newest container farm at Madison Central High School includes space to grow up to 4,608 seedlings and 8,800 mature plants all at once using 440 vertical crop columns. The container’s unique design uses cutting-edge LED lighting and a closed-loop irrigation system to allow students to grow significantly more than traditional open-field agriculture in less space. 

The announcement also follows the release of AppHarvest’s 2020 Sustainability Report, which details the company’s ongoing efforts to create positive environmental change in agriculture, empower employees and improve the communities in which it operates.  

About AppHarvest 

AppHarvest is an applied technology company building some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms in Appalachia that grow non-GMO, chemical pesticide-free produce using 90 percent less water than open-field agriculture and only recycled rainwater while producing yields up to 30 times that of traditional agriculture on the same amount of land with zero agricultural runoff. The Company combines conventional agricultural techniques with cutting-edge technology including artificial intelligence and robotics to improve access for all to nutritious food, farming more sustainably, building a domestic food supply, and increasing investment in Appalachia. The Company’s 60-acre Morehead, Ky. facility is among the largest indoor farms in the U.S. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statements  

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