Vertical farming is bringing local produce to California’s densest cities

We’ve written extensively about vertical farming as a solution to make fresh food more sustainable, efficient, and localized. Now, sustainable agriculture company Plenty is hoping to expand the reach of vertical farming in California with two new sites in San Francisco and Compton. 

At their San Francisco headquarters, Plenty is working on perfecting vertical farming of kale, arugula, bok choy, beet leaves, fennel, and mizuna. According to chief executive and co-founder Matt Barnard, Plenty’s technology uses a fraction of the land and one to five percent of the water compared to traditional agriculture. Additionally, all of Plenty’s facilities are powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

After launching their successful initial farm in South San Francisco, the company is now gearing up to start planting at a 95,000-square-foot facility in Compton. The LA farm is expected to be ready to bring food to market in late 2021 and Plenty has already partnered with restaurants like Nancy Silverton’s Osteria Mozza and hundreds of grocery stores to bring fresh, local produce to the greater Los Angeles region. 

Plenty doesn’t plan on stopping in California. Eventually, the company plans to bring 500 farms to densely-populated urban areas all around the globe. Each location will serve as a source of jobs in the community it feeds, but as it turns out, no human hands ever touch the produce. This eliminates the need to wash the produce which comes out of Plenty facilities. 

It’s estimated that Earth will need almost 70 percent more food by 2050. Vertical farming facilities like Plenty are a solution for not only growing organic food with a small footprint, but also reducing shipping emissions, promoting crop diversity, and offering high-quality produce in food deserts where communities would otherwise not have access to affordable nutritious food. 

Image source: The Spoon

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