Produce-grower Plenty has opened what it is calling the world’s most technologically advanced indoor vertical farm, designed to grow up to 4.5 million pounds of leafy greens annually in California. The new facility, called the Plenty Compton Farm, uses the company’s unique 3D vertical architecture, and Plenty says it drives yield of up to 350 times more per acre than a conventional farm.
The Plenty Compton Farm is initially growing four varieties of leafy greens: baby arugula, baby kale, crispy lettuce, and curly baby spinach.
Plenty’s 3D approach to vertical farming differs from other companies that grow on flat planes and mimic a traditional field. By comparison, Plenty’s vertical towers are nearly two stories high and uses an architecture that the company says makes indoor farming increasingly efficient, growing more produce in less space and easily automating every step of growing from planting to harvest. Additionally, the company says farm in Compton has the potential to save millions of gallons of water annually compared to field farming.
According to documents posted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, there is a large threat to California farmland, with the underlying causes of farmland loss in the state being rapid population growth and development and the inefficient use of land.
The chosen location for Plenty’s farm is important because one end goal is to make affordable produce accessible to every community.
“After investing nearly a decade into research and development, Plenty has cracked the code on a scalable platform for indoor farming,” said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai. “With Plenty’s first commercial farm, we’re proving that our uniquely vertical indoor farms can deliver a reliable, year-round supply of fresh produce with positive unit economics. This is the first step in putting indoor-grown produce on a path to becoming a meaningful part of the global food supply, and we’re honored to be taking that step in our home state of California with the community of Compton.”
The curly baby spinach is a new product that has launched out of Compton. Plenty says its the first vertically grown, pesticide-free spinach available in the U.S. and the result of more than two years of development in Plenty’s advanced plant science research center. From designing a new filtration system to analyzing nearly 2 billion data inputs from trials, Plenty’s spinach has a distinct sweet flavor and unique crunch.
Compton is just the start of more growth for Plenty. The company is currently building the world’s first vertical farm to grow strawberries indoors at scale near Richmond, Virginia, and the world’s largest vertical farming research center in Laramie, Wyoming.
Plenty’s retail footprint will continue expanding throughout the state of California and beyond this summer.