LOS ANGELES – A startup named Plenty is pioneering a new way to grow leafy greens – inside a high-tech indoor farm run almost entirely by robots!
I recently got to tour their facility in Compton, California to see how it works and sample the produce.
Spoiler alert: it was some of the freshest and most flavorful lettuce I’ve ever tasted!
So how does Plenty grow vegetables without sun, soil, or even human hands touching the plants? It’s a highly automated process that looks more like a factory than a traditional farm.
It starts with seeds being robotically planted and moved into a giant eight-story nursery room to germinate. The rooms are lit by LEDs and optimized for each specific crop.
Once the seedlings are mature enough, they are transplanted by more robots into vertical frames that are then placed by more robots into giant vertical growing rooms.
Since no pesticides are used and no human contact during the growing process, the vegetables are extra clean and safe to eat right out of the bag with no washing required.
I was able to taste-test some “farm” fresh arugula and crispy lettuce straight from the robotic harvester and packaging machine. The textures and flavors were incredible and way better than bagged lettuce.
I could taste the spice of the arugula and the crunch of the crunchy lettuce was distinct.
Plenty’s indoor robotic farm uses a fraction of the water that traditional agriculture requires and can grow greens year-round.
This high-tech approach could make local farming feasible just about anywhere.
As for the price? At the store, I saw it’s on par with organic greens. You can find Plenty on the shelves at Whole Foods and Gelson’s. I highly recommend you try what greens grown by a robot taste like. At least you’ll have a fun story to tell at the dinner table.