Plenty, a pioneering startup in Compton, California, has introduced an innovative method of cultivating leafy greens – within a state-of-the-art indoor farm almost entirely operated by robots. I recently had the opportunity to visit their facility and witness this groundbreaking technology in action. The result? The lettuce I sampled was some of the freshest and most flavorful I have ever tasted.
Unlike traditional farms, Plenty’s automated process eliminates the need for sun, soil, and human intervention. The farm resembles a factory, with seeds being robotically planted and transported to a vast eight-story nursery room where they germinate. These rooms are equipped with LEDs that are optimized for each specific crop.
Once the seedlings are sufficiently developed, robots transplant them into vertical frames, which are then placed into large vertical growing rooms by yet more robots. Not only are no pesticides used during this process, but the absence of human contact ensures that the vegetables are exceptionally clean and safe to consume straight from the bag, without the need for washing.
During my visit, I had the opportunity to try fresh arugula and crispy lettuce harvested and packaged by the robotic machines. The textures and flavors were remarkable, surpassing those of bagged lettuce. I could taste the distinct spiciness of the arugula and the satisfying crunch of the lettuce.
One of the most significant advantages of Plenty’s indoor robotic farm is its reduced water consumption compared to traditional agriculture methods. Additionally, this high-tech approach allows for year-round production, making local farming feasible in almost any location.
Despite the cutting-edge technology involved, the price of Plenty’s produce remains on par with organic greens found in stores. Their products are currently available at Whole Foods and Gelson’s. I highly recommend trying these greens grown by robots for a unique and fascinating story to share at the dinner table.
– LED: Light-emitting diode, a semiconductor light source that emits light when an electric current passes through it.
– Pesticides: Chemical substances used to kill or control pests that can damage crops. In this case, no pesticides are used in Plenty’s farming process.
– Article originally written by Rich DeMuro.