Cox Enterprises launches indoor farming division
Cox Farms produces about $1B annually, employs 2,500.
Cox Enterprises announced new division Cox Farms on Tuesday, a venture focused on the future of sustainability in food and farming.

One the largest privately held companies in the U.S. is launching a new division focused on sustainability in food and farming.

Cox Enterprises announced the new venture, Cox Farms, that combines indoor agriculture businesses Cox has invested in over the past several years and will serve as a platform for future investment in the sector.

Cox, which has its headquarters in Sandy Springs, has core businesses that include broadband provider Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and media companies including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But the family-owned company has spent billions in recent years diversifying its holdings. Among those new ventures are more than $2 billion that Cox has invested in sustainable businesses and technologies, including indoor agriculture companies Mucci Farms and BrightFarms.

Company executives said that figure is likely to grow as Cox seeks other investment opportunities in indoor agriculture.

“We are excited to build and scale a better future for farmers and consumers by ensuring a safe, secure and sustainable food supply, regardless of calendar or climate,” Steve Bradley, president of Cox Farms, said in a news release. “This is a significant milestone for us, as we are disrupting traditional agriculture and bringing the promise of indoor agriculture to fruition at a scale never seen before.”

The Cox Farms business now ranks among the largest indoor farming companies in North America, the company said, with its farms harvesting 360 million pounds of produce a year. Growing crops indoors increases yields with longer growing seasons and allows the companies to not use pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The farming business now generates about $1 billion in annual revenue, the company said, and employs about 2,500.

Mucci Farms operates growing facilities in U.S., Canada and Mexico, producing a variety of produce under multiple brand names.

BrightFarms operates greenhouses in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Illinois, that grow leafy salad greens and other vegetables.

The company said the produce is clean and non-GMO, grown without pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

Other recent Cox investments include government software and services company OpenGov and DSD Renewables, which develops major solar arrays for commercial and industrial businesses and governmental agencies.