Foodable has reported on indoor vertical farming in the past, but this startup is getting a major boost early on as it expands to compete in new markets.
Plenty, a Bay Area-based, vertical farming startup, will be expanding into Washington state with the help of a $200 million investment from this summer.
The company is backed by Jeff Bezos among other investors, and it has set plans to open a 100,000-square-foot warehouse in greater Seattle area— in Kent, Washington, to be exact— to become Plenty’s second vertical farm location. The new facility will be twice the size of the original one.
Out of all the vertical farming startups, this company has been able to raise the most money. However, what is most significant about Plenty is not its ability to appeal to investors, but the fact that it will be able to grow 4.5 million pounds of greens annually.
As reported by “Business Insider,” the amount of produce that will be grown in this new facility will be “enough to feed around 183,600 Americans, according to the USDA.”
Founded in 2014, Plenty “claims to grow up to 350 times more greens than conventional farms of similar size, while using much less water and land,” according to “Business Insider.”
The Washington-based farm, which is certified organic, not only aims to grow herbs and leafy greens, but also will later venture into growing fruits like strawberries, tomatoes and watermelons.
“Plenty's strawberries will be smaller, less pulpy, and higher in sugar and acidity levels than the ones most consumers are used to,” Plenty CEO Matt Barnard told “Business Insider.”
The farm is to start the plant-growing operations in spring 2018. Plenty’s vertical farms uses LED lights to grow crops on towers that are as tall as 20 feet. Through this method, crops are grown indoors, therefore, they don’t require soil, pesticides or natural sunlight.
Bernard expects to continue opening new facilities around the world. The goal is to sell the produce at a reduced price to compete with regular produce that is not necessarily certified organic. To achieve this the company plans to continue expanding its automation efforts to help reduce operational costs in order to sell at a competitive price-point.
Will this company and others like it revolutionize agriculture as we know it?