Plenty is an ag-tech startup in San Francisco, co-founded by Nate Storey, that is reinventing farms and farming. Storey, who is also the company’s chief science officer, says the future of farms is vertical and indoors because that way, the food can grow anywhere in the world, year-round; and the future of farms employ robots and AI to continually improve the quality of growth for fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Plenty does all these things and uses 95% less water and 99% less land because of it.
In recent years, farmers on flat farms have been using new tools for making farming better or easier. They’re using drones and robots to improve crop maintenance, while artificial intelligence is also on the rise, with over 1,600 startups and total investments reaching tens of billions of dollars. Plenty is one of those startups. …
Plenty’s climate-controlled indoor farm has rows of plants growing vertically, hung from the ceiling. There are sun-mimicking LED lights shining on them, robots that move them around, and artificial intelligence (AI) managing all the variables of water, temperature, and light, and continually learning and optimizing how to grow bigger, faster, better crops. These futuristic features ensure every plant grows perfectly year-round. The conditions are so good that the farm produces 400 times more food per acre than an outdoor flat farm.
Another perk of vertical farming is locally produced food. The fruits and vegetables aren’t grown 1,000 miles away or more from a city; instead, at a warehouse nearby. Meaning, many transportation miles are eliminated.
The energy input is all those LED lights. With bio-engineering, one day perhaps we’ll be able to cut out the lights and leaves, and grow the fruit and veg. directly from some power source.