Walmart-backed Plenty opens high-tech vertical farm in California

Billed as the “world’s most technologically advanced indoor vertical farm,” the Plenty Compton Farm is designed to grow up to 4.5 million pounds of leafy greens per year in one city block.
Plenty Compton Farm-Walmart
Walmart-backed Plenty recently opened a high-tech vertical farm in Compton, California, to grow leafy greens. / Photo courtesy: Plenty

Walmart-backed vertical farm Plenty has opened a high-tech indoor farm in Compton, California, to grow leafy greens to sell at retail outlets and other channels.

Plenty Compton Farm, which opened late last week, is billed as the “world’s most technologically advanced indoor vertical farm,” and is capable of growing up to 4.5 million pounds of baby arugula, baby kale, lettuce and curly baby spinach each year on a single city block, the farm said.

In January 2022, Walmart was among the investors in a $400 million Series E funding round for the San Francisco-based vertical farm. The deal granted Walmart the right to start sourcing leafy greens for all of its California’s stores from Plenty’s farm, as well as a seat on its board.

In 2020, Plenty announced a distribution partnership with Albertsons to provide produce to more than 300 of the grocer’s stores in California.

Greens from the new farm are available at Bristol Farms and Whole Foods Market stores in Northern California, Plenty said, as well as at local grocers in Compton. A new Walmart brand of indoor-grown, pesticide-free produce supplied by Plenty has started appearing in Southern California Walmart stores, the farm said.

“We believe Plenty is a proven leader in a new era of agriculture, one that offers pesticide-free, peak-flavor produce to shoppers every day of the year,” Charles Redfield, who was then Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, said in announcing Walmart’s investment last year. “This partnership not only accelerates agricultural innovation but reinforces our commitment to sustainability by delivering a new category of fresh that is good for people and the planet.”

Plenty has spent a decade on research and development to create 3D vertical architecture that can grow up to 350 times more yield per acre than a conventional farm. Plenty’s greens are grown on vertical towers that are nearly two stories tall, boosting efficiency and cutting down on space requirements, the company said. Plenty also said its new farm could potentially save millions of gallons of water each year, compared to farming in fields.

“Plenty has cracked the code on indoor farming,” CEO Arama Kukatai said in a statement. “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.”

Plenty is currently at work building a vertical, indoor strawberry farm near Richmond, Virginia, and what it says will be the world’s largest vertical farming research center in Laramie, Wyoming.



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