Tech-Driven Vertical Farming Company Kalera Announces New CIO, VP of Sales

The appointment of these executives coincides with Kalera’s recent expansion into new markets

ORLANDO, Fla., June 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, technology-driven vertical farming company Kalera announced that it has hired two new executives to fill the positions of CIO and VP of Sales. New Chief Information Officer Jeremy Johnston brings over 15 years of experience in a broad range of fields, including technology, manufacturing, and retail. The newly appointed VP of Sales Jeff Larsen brings with him 23 years of sales experience from a diverse set of industries with Fortune 100 companies.

With over 15 years of experience, Jeremy Johnston has spent his career leading information technology for the world’s largest companies including Deloitte, Amazon and National Oilwell Varco. Most recently, Johnston worked in technology as the CTO of Qoreboard and PH6 Labs. He has also worked with global technology at Deloitte, where he managed several massive technology transformations in the oil & gas and healthcare verticals. At Amazon, Johnston led the design and implementation of Amazon’s internal HRIS system responsible for the timekeeping and payroll for over 250,000 employees across nine countries. Johnston spent eight years at National Oilwell Varco early in his career where he oversaw custom application development, data warehousing, and ERP implementation for over 40,000 employees in 21 countries. Johnston will manage Kalera’s Information Technology policies, procedures, strategies, standards, and roadmap. At Kalera, being a data-driven company, advanced automation and data collection with IoT, Big Data Analytics and AI capabilities are essential.

“I am thrilled to be joining a company as forward-thinking and exciting as Kalera. I believe my global experience with diverse, complex companies will inform and accelerate Kalera’s rapid growth plans as we change the way produce is grown around the world,” said Jeremy Johnston, Kalera’s new Chief Information Officer.

Kalera has also named Jeff Larsen the Vice President of Sales. A multi-faceted and seasoned sales professional, Larsen has achieved many awards and accolades across a diverse range of industries. Larsen has over 20 years of experience in sales across various industries with Fortune 100 companies. Larsen has excelled at both regional and national levels in large scale distribution, business development, and account management. 

“From foodservice and hospitality to grocery, I am excited to be supporting this groundbreaking business with my years of sales expertise,” noted Jeff Larsen, Kalera’s new Vice President of Sales. “People need safe, delicious and affordable produce now more than ever. Kalera is leading the charge in supplying the public with the freshest, most delicious lettuce on the market.”

"As Kalera continues to focus on our rapid national and international expansion, building a world-class executive team has been among our top priorities, and we are beyond excited to welcome Jeremy and Jeff to the Kalera family,” noted Kalera CEO Daniel Malechuk.

Kalera has experienced significant growth in recent months, with plans of its new growing facility in Atlanta being announced only months after the opening of its facility in Orlando. Its Orlando facility is currently the single largest indoor vertical farm in the Southeastern United States, and the Atlanta facility will be even larger. Kalera also made headlines after pivoting their business strategy amidst the COVID-19 crisis, shifting from a foodservice-focus to land their produce in the aisles of Publix. During this time, Kalera also organized giveaways for the Orlando community, giving away tens of thousands of heads of lettuce to provide access to fresh, local, produce to residents.

Central to Kalera’s business is good science. The company is planting non-GMO seed, and over the past several years has perfected plant and data science-driven methods to naturally optimize the factors that make plants thrive. Kalera manages these natural factors in a way that makes plants reach their maximum potential, resulting in the highest quality produce, grown locally with consistent high yields year-round.

By using a closed-loop irrigation system, Kalera’s plants grow while consuming 95% less water compared to field farming. While a head of lettuce grown in a field may use as much as 60 gallons of water, Kalera’s systems result in a healthier plant with less than five gallons.

The company utilizes cleanroom technology and processes to eliminate the use of chemicals and remove exposure to pathogens. With indoor facilities situated right where the demand is, Kalera is able to supply an abundance of produce locally, eliminating the need to travel long distances when shipping perishable products and ensuring the highest quality and freshness.

About Kalera

Kalera is a technology driven vertical farming company with unique growing methods combining optimized nutrients and light recipes, precise environmental controls, and clean room standards to produce safe, highly nutritious, pesticide-free, non-GMO vegetables with consistent high quality and longer shelf life year-round. The company’s high-yield, automated, data-driven hydroponic production facilities have been designed for rapid rollout with industry-leading payback times to grow vegetables faster, cleaner, at a lower cost, and with less environmental impact.

Elka Karl
Phone: 510-508-7328

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:

jjohnston Jeff Larsen headshot