Hamilton’s growing 80 Acres Farms among Newsweek’s ‘Most Loved Workplaces’

Newsweek magazine recently named Hamilton-based 80 Acres Farms, which grows all its crops indoors on an industrial scale, among “America’s Most Loved Workplaces 2021.”

The magazine, which produced its study with the Best Practice Institute, based its findings on sentiment of employees toward their company. The institute in recent studies found employees who love their companies can be up to four times likely to be extra productive, and are more likely to remain with those companies.

The magazine ranked 80 Acres No. 81 on a list that included such respected brands as Spotify (No. 1), Dell Technologies (No. 2), Deckers (No. 6), IBM (15), FedEx (33) and Twitter (45).

That’s just some of the good news for the fast-growing company, which now has about 225 employees, most of them in Hamilton. Among other highlights:

  • 80 Acres Farms this summer raised $160 million Series B financing, a process in which investors help companies expand their markets. That was the largest amount ever raised by a Greater Cincinnati startup, City Manager Joshua Smith recently said. That and other investments, he added, make 80 Acres a “unicorn” company, a term used to describe a privately held startup company with a value of more than $1 billion, according to Investopedia.com.
  • The company, which grows its crops completely indoors, without the need of pesticides or herbicides, and recycles about 97 percent of water used in its processes, also in recent weeks planted berries for the first time, not in Hamilton but at its Este Avenue indoor farm in Cincinnati. “We did plant, and we’re starting to get berries,” and should be available in stores in the “first quarter of 2022,” said company spokeswoman Rebecca Haders. Berries eventually will also be grown in Hamilton.

Louis Carter, the founder and CEO of BPI, said it’s free for companies to be considered among the favorites, employees of the companies are interviewed, and the businesses also write essays about themselves.”

For this year’s selection process, “More than 800,000 employees were surveyed,” Carter said.

He said he appreciated that the 80 Acres founders, Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston, offer “Mike Minutes” and “Tish Talks” so all employees can learn about the company directly from them.

The company is striving to change the world of agriculture locally and around the globe, particularly in places where it’s difficult to grow food.

“So far, our team members have helped save 3,425,693 miles of trucking and 1,908,291 pounds of food waste, and those numbers grow by the minute,” 80 Acres wrote about its positive vision for the future.

The company also listens to every employee, it wrote: “Every voice matters in our company, regardless of title or level. We want to push boundaries, fail fast and learn from everything we do. Our success is about doing a thousand little things right every day and that means every employee matters.”

80 Acres also has given employees stock options as it has grown, “and we encourage employees to chase their dreams with career goals and training,” it wrote.

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