In Compton, California, a startup called Plenty is revolutionizing the way leafy greens are grown – inside a state-of-the-art indoor farm that is almost entirely operated by robots. During a recent tour of their facility, I had the opportunity to witness this groundbreaking approach and even taste the produce firsthand. The lettuce I sampled was exceptionally fresh and flavorful.
Plenty’s process is a highly automated one, resembling a factory more than a traditional farm. The entire operation is devoid of sunlight, soil, and human interaction. It begins with robotic planting of seeds, which are then moved to a massive eight-story nursery room for germination. Equipped with LED lighting specifically optimized for each crop, these rooms ensure optimal conditions for growth.
Once the seedlings reach maturity, additional robots transplant them into vertical frames. These frames are then placed by robots into giant vertical growing rooms. With no pesticides used and no human contact throughout the growth process, the vegetables are incredibly clean and safe to eat without the need for washing.
I had the opportunity to taste test some of the arugula and lettuce harvested by the robots. The textures and flavors were exceptional, surpassing even bagged lettuce. The arugula had a noticeable spice, while the lettuce provided a satisfying crunch.
In addition to its efficiency, Plenty’s indoor robotic farm consumes only a fraction of the water required by traditional agriculture and can produce greens year-round. This high-tech approach has the potential to make local farming viable in any location. While the price of these robotic-farmed greens is on par with organic options, they can now be found on the shelves of stores like Whole Foods and Gelson’s.
Experiencing the taste of greens grown by robots can be a fun and unique story to share at the dinner table. It’s evident that Plenty’s high-tech indoor farm is paving the way for a new era of sustainable and efficient farming, all made possible by robotics and automation.
– Robotics: The branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots.
– LED: Light-emitting diode, a semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes through it.
– Pesticides: Chemical substances used to kill or control pests (such as insects, weeds, and fungi) that can damage crops.
– Vertical farming: A method of growing crops in vertically stacked layers, typically in a controlled indoor environment, to maximize space and efficiency.
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