The Indian River County (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Office is pleased to announce that the IRC Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a Local Jobs Grant incentive application for Lemnature AquaFarms. Lemnature AquaFarms is a business to business plant-based food ingredient supplier to the food, beverage and nutrition markets, currently expanding its operations in Indian River County.
The Indian River County Local Jobs Grant is a performance-based incentive program that pays up to $7,000 per new job created, based on the average wages paid to new hires. At least five new jobs must be created, paying a minimum of 75% of the county’s average annual wage. Based on county staff calculations, the company is eligible for up to $200,000 in Jobs Grant funds. The award is paid out over a period of 3-5 years, after the jobs are in place and confirmed by county staff.
Lemnature AquaFarms has three locations in Indian River County, including its corporate headquarters, an R&D facility in Fellsmere, plus a large aquafarming and processing operation in western Indian River County. The company anticipates adding 46 employees to its current base of 115 workers by the end of the calendar year, at an average annual wage of $59,800, excluding benefits.
Expressing his appreciation, Frank Jimenez, CEO of Lemnature AquaFarms, states “We appreciate and value the partnerships with the Chamber and its Economic
Development Office, and the Board of County Commissioners, as we build and scale our highly sustainable, plant-based food business and aquafarm within Indian River County.” Further explaining, he adds, “We believe in building innovative farming solutions to help accelerate the transition to a regenerative food system, while assisting our customers in the achievement of sustainability development goals through a more efficient agricultural process based on aquaculture.”
The company grows and processes the all-natural Lemnaceae aquatic plant, aka water lentils, which grows naturally – and rapidly - in Indian River County. This aquatic plant doubles its biomass every 48 hours so harvesting can be done daily, year-round in the county’s tropical type of climate. The company will be producing a plant-based protein and fiber to be included as ingredients within superfood drinks, protein powders, and nutritional beverages.
As a way to promote the company and its mission, Helene Caseltine, the Chamber’s Economic Development Director, arranged for the company’s CEO to give a presentation to the Commissioners at their regular meeting of April 5, 2022. “The County Commission is excited to see Lemnature AquaFarms expanding in Indian River County,” said Commission Chairman Peter O’Bryan. ““We are very pleased that programs like our Local Jobs Grant can assist local companies with their expansion plans. We’re not only interested in attracting new business to Indian River County, but also encouraging our local businesses to expand and add jobs.”
Helene Caseltine echoed Mr. Jimenez’ appreciation of the County Commission, adding “We thank the Commissioners for their continued support of our economic development activities. The Board’s actions demonstrate that, indeed, Indian River County, FL is ready and open for business.”
For more information on locating or expanding a business in Indian River County, call Helene Caseltine at the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, 772-567-3491 or visit www.indianrivered.com.