Walmart invests in indoor vertical growing startup Plenty

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart said Tuesday it has bought a stake in agricultural startup Plenty, becoming…

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart said Tuesday it has bought a stake in agricultural startup Plenty, becoming the first major U.S. retailer to make a substantial investment in indoor vertical farming such as a way to deliver fresher produce to its stores.

Upright farmers advertise their high quality produce which yields higher yields while using less water and land. This method also uses no pesticides and the product can be grown year-round near the point of distribution, helping to increase supply reliability.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, declined to comment on the size of the investment or the financial terms of the deal. But the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said it would join Plenty’s board at the close of the transaction.

The deal comes as grocers are under pressure to adopt more eco-friendly practices. Plenty, based in San Francisco, is one of many players in the rapidly growing indoor growing sector. Others include Morehead, Kentucky-based AppHarvest, and New York-based Gotham Greens.

In a recent global survey, consulting firm Agritecture – which works with urban farmers – found that at least 74 indoor farming companies were established in 2020 alone.

Plenty, which was founded in 2014 and has a vertical farm in South San Francisco, also operates an indoor plant science research facility in Laramie, Wyoming. It’s currently under construction in Compton, California, which it says will be the world’s highest-yielding vertical indoor farm, scheduled to open in the second half of this year.

Plenty says its vertical farming towers are designed to grow a variety of crops on a single platform in a building the size of a big-box retail store. Its system features vertical plant towers, LED lighting and robots to grow, feed and harvest crops. It says its farms use 1% of the land an outdoor farm requires while providing 150 to 350 times more feed per acre.

Walmart said that under the agreement, Plenty’s Compton Farms will send greens to Walmart stores in California starting later this year. It says vertical farms will complement, but will not replace, traditional farming practices and help increase food supplies in a sustainable way.

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According to Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio

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https://wtop.com/consumer-news/2022/01/walmart-invests-in-indoor-vertical-farming-startup-plenty/ Walmart invests in indoor vertical growing startup Plenty

James Brien

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