Walmart Puts Indoor Farming Investment To Use, Sources Produce from Newly-Opened Vertical Farm

indoor farm plenty

Walmart is making good on its investment plans in vertical farming technology. 

The Walmart-backed
vertical farming platform Plenty has opened an indoor vertical farm in Compton, California. Built across a single city block, the platform is designed to produce 4.5 million pounds of leafy greens annually – a yield of up to 350 times that of conventional farms.

The Plenty Compton Farm will initially grow four varieties of leafy, pesticide-free greens – baby arugula, baby kale, crispy lettuce, and curly baby spinach – and will also supply Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, and local Compton grocers, in addition to Walmart. 

Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai called the move the “first step in putting indoor-grown produce on a path to becoming a meaningful part of the global food supply,” adding that Plenty had now “cracked the code” on scalable indoor farming technologies after over a decade of research and development.

Plenty’s indoor farming technique is unique among other indoor farms or vertical farming platforms in its integration of sustainable crop science and leading-edge software which allows for the production of multiple crops simultaneously at high speed. 

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By extensively automating farming processes, the company is able to gather billions of data points which can then be used to improve flavors and textures. Vertical farming also uses significantly less water than traditional farming techniques, making it a win for the environment as well – particularly in dry climates such as Southern California.  

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In January, the retail giant announced plans to “significantly invest” in vertical farming, signing an agreement to invest in Plenty as part of their $400M Series E funding round. At the time, the retailer said the plan was to “market-leading product category in vertical farming by delivering the freshness and quality that Walmart customers expect, year-round,” with Walmart also coming on as one of Plenty’s board of directors as part of the partnership and investment.

“At Walmart, we are focused on identifying and investing in innovative food solutions to bring our customers the freshest, highest-quality foods at the best prices,” said Charles Redfield, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S, at the time. “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. 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.”

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