In a significant advancement for urban agriculture, agricultural technology company Plenty has announced the opening of its new Plenty Compton Farm, a sophisticated indoor vertical farm in Compton, California. The farm is designed to produce an estimated 4.5 million pounds of leafy greens per year within the confines of a single city block, making it 350 times more efficient than a traditional farm per acre.
The innovation comes from the incorporation of Plenty’s patented 3D vertical architecture, resulting from a decade’s worth of research and development, which enables the company to maximize space usage and automate all stages of the farming process, from sowing to harvesting.
“This is the first step in making indoor-grown produce a significant part of the global food supply,” said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai. “We are honored to be taking that step in our home state of California with the community of Compton.”
Plenty’s distinctive farming approach eschews the flat planes traditionally used in greenhouses and other vertical farms, instead favoring two-story high vertical towers. This shift towards a 3D farming architecture allows the farm to produce higher yields with a less spatial footprint, pushing the boundaries of efficiency in indoor farming.
Local Mayor Emma Sharif praised the farm’s impact on the local community, noting that over 30% of the farm’s staff were hired from Compton. “Plenty’s Farm is a model for how we can increase access to fresh, locally grown food for urban populations while supporting cities’ economic development,” she stated.
The development of the vertical farm in Compton comes at a crucial time for agriculture worldwide, as climate change poses unprecedented challenges and soil erosion threatens the viability of conventional farming methods. Plenty’s vertical indoor farming technique, requiring significantly less land and water than traditional farming, could be crucial to developing sustainable food systems.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross echoed this sentiment, highlighting the farm’s potential to conserve natural resources. “Plenty’s new indoor vertical farm provides an important additional method to grow fresh produce in urban centers, closer to consumers, reducing the draw on our natural resources,” she said.
Initially, Plenty Compton Farm will cultivate four varieties of leafy greens: Baby Arugula, Baby Kale, Crispy Lettuce, and a newly developed product, Curly Baby Spinach. The spinach, in particular, is the result of over two years of in-depth research and development, and it is one of the few vertically grown, pesticide-free spinach varieties available worldwide.
Plenty’s freshly harvested leafy greens will be distributed through several channels, including local grocers in Compton, Bristol Farms, Northern California Whole Foods Market stores, and as part of a new brand in Southern California Walmart stores. Additionally, the product will be included as meal ingredients on all Singapore Airlines flights departing from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Image provided by Plenty