A new indoor vertical farm in Compton, Calif., is set to produce more leafy greens than any other farm of its kind in the world, using less water, land and pesticides than conventional agriculture.Embed from Getty Images
The farm, which was officially unveiled on Thursday, is operated by Plenty, a company that specializes in indoor vertical farming. It covers an area of about 95,000 square feet and can grow up to 4.5 million pounds of greens annually on vertical towers that are nearly two stories high. That’s equivalent to about 720 acres of farmland, according to the company.
Plenty says its technology allows it to grow produce without any pesticides or GMOs, using 99% less water and 99% less land than traditional farms. It also claims to deliver fresher and more flavorful greens to consumers, since it can grow them closer to where they are eaten.
“Plenty is an indoor growing company so we grow plants inside without the sun in controlled environments,” said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai. “We are producing leafy greens and we also produce tomatoes, in the future, we’ll be producing strawberries and other fruit and produce.”Embed from Getty Images
The company chose Compton as the site for its flagship farm because of its rich history of farming, its central location and its need for more access to fresh food. Compton Mayor Emma Sharif said the farm will bring more jobs and health benefits to the community.
“They were very committed to making sure that the people that they hired actually came from the city, came from this community, and this is what they’ve done,” Ms. Sharif said. “They’ve kept the community and to the city and 30% of the people that are hired comes from the community.”
Plenty has hired about 50 full-time workers for the Compton farm, ranging from entry-level to technical and management positions. It plans to hire more as it expands its production and distribution. The company said it pays above-market wages and provides benefits and training opportunities for its employees.
Plenty’s greens are now available at Bristol Farms, Whole Foods Market stores and local grocers in Compton. The company also partners with nonprofit organizations and food banks to donate some of its produce to low-income families.
Plenty is not the only company that is betting on indoor vertical farming as a way to transform food production. Other startups, such as AeroFarms, Bowery Farming and Gotham Greens, have also built large-scale indoor farms in various locations across the U.S. and abroad. They all aim to use technology to grow more food with fewer resources and environmental impacts.
However, indoor vertical farming also faces some challenges, such as high energy costs, scalability issues and consumer acceptance. Some critics argue that it is not a viable solution for feeding the world’s growing population, especially in developing countries where access to electricity and infrastructure is limited.
Mr. Kukutai said he believes that indoor vertical farming can complement other forms of agriculture and provide a more resilient and diverse food system. He said Plenty’s goal is to make its produce affordable and accessible to everyone.
“We think this is a very important part of how we’re going to feed people better in the future,” he said.
- Plenty Unveils World’s Most Technologically Advanced Indoor Vertical Farm in Compton | Business Wire | May 19, 2023
- Plenty’s new indoor vertical farm will grow 4.5 million pounds of greens in Compton | Fast Company | May 20, 2023
- How Plenty’s indoor vertical farm in Compton could transform food production | Los Angeles Times | May 21, 2023