How technology is changing the future of agriculture

How technology is changing the future of agriculture

We got a tour of a new vertical farming facility in Compton, California, to learn about the potential benefits of growing food in towers rather than fields, and the technological innovations required to make it happen.

The indoor facility is run by Plenty, a company that specializes in this style of farming. With food security under threat from climate change and extreme weather events, the folks at Plenty believe they've developed a compelling alternative that uses less land than traditional farming.

Since Plenty's produce can be grown closer to where it'll be consumed, the energy-cost of transportation goes down. The company's vertical system also allows plants to be grown at times of the year when they might not otherwise be available. However, growing indoors also poses some unique challenges.


The sun shines for free, but re-creating a comparable nourishing light source indoors requires energy (not to mention all the power-hungry robots shuttling Plenty's plant towers around). Plenty buys its power from the grid. Nate Storey, the company's chief science officer and co-founder, tells me that Plenty specifically seeks out areas where renewable power such as wind and solar are either readily available or set to become a key source for the grid in the future. Storey says he sees Plenty as offering a new source of demand for the growing renewable energy sector's supply and demand equation.

Continue reading.

Photo: Plenty



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