Vertical-farming company Bowery Farming is continuing to grow its leadership team with the appointment of Robert Ybarra as director of business development, reporting to Elayne Dudley, VP of new business development.
Bringing extensive food and produce industry experience in retail, manufacturing, procurement, and distribution to his new role at Bowery, Ybarra will develop new grocery retailer relationships to further expand access to the company’s produce in stores across the United States.
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A native Texan who received his MBA from the University of Texas at Brownsville, Ybarra spent more than 30 years at H-E-B, where he was director of produce sales and merchandising. His most recent role was director of business development at Pharr, Texas-based Villita Avocados, one of the top five importers of Mexican Avocados to the United States, where he spearheaded new business opportunities with big-box retailers. Earlier, he was director of produce at Rouses Inc. and Coborn’s Inc.
“It’s been an unprecedented time of growth at Bowery as we’ve launched the next chapter in climate-smart agriculture and broken ground on new farms beyond the Northeast,” noted Katie Seawell, chief commercial officer at New York-based Bowery. “As we continue our national expansion, Robert’s role in expanding retail partnerships will further Bowery’s commitment to reimagine the fresh food supply chain and help build resilient communities with local sources of fresh produce.”
With five indoor farms in operation, Bowery is on track to double its number of farms in 2023 and has doubled revenue for the second consecutive year. Bowery is now available at 1,400-plus stores and e-commerce partners and has moved beyond offering just leafy greens and into other categories of pesticide-free produce, including strawberries and salad kits.
San Antonio-based H-E-B, with more than 420 stores and 145,000 employees in Texas and Mexico, is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Coborn’s and Rouses are Nos. 82 and 83, respectively, on PG’s list.