Vertical farming is seen as a good Engineering solution to grow organic food within cities.
These “farms” grow grow crops in inside using LED lights. While this method of farming has grown in recent years it is still seen as inaccessible by many people and available only in high-end specialty stores.
This might quickly change on the other side of the Atlantic with America’s biggest retailer Walmart as it has just bought an equity stake in South San Francisco-based vertical farming startup Plenty.
The US superstore wants its customers in California to be able to buy vertical-farm-grown greens.
The move brings vertical farming in the mainstream as Walmart is the first major US retailer to make a significant investment into vertical farming.
The company believes that Plenty has developed its tech enough to produce consistently high yields – impressively the company increased yields in its leafy green growing rooms by 700% in the last two 2 years. It hopes its investment will allow the company to start developing growing fruits and vegetables in its farms alongside its current crop of greens.
Plenty might be a vertical farming company but its tech is slightly different than others in the industry. Many vertical farms rely on grows grown horizontal layers of stacked trays. Plenty actually grow their greens vertically with crops sprouting off modular towers.
Plenty’s technology is slightly different from that of other vertical farms, most of which grow crops in horizontal layers of stacked trays.
Instead its tech sees robots to plant, feed, and harvest its crops which actually grow vertically, sprouting off tall towers with a modular setup.
The company have stated that it is this system enables them to use just one percent of the land required by traditional farming.
The company will use the investment as it builds a new 95,000-square-foot facility in Compton, California and hopes to start production later this year.