As demand for fresh fruits and vegetables continues to increase along with the world’s growing population (7.3 billion and counting), and with only so much arable farmland to go around, some food producers have been rethinking traditional methods of agriculture.
Matt Barnard, co-owner and CEO of Plenty, a San Francisco–based indoor farming company, is one of them. This year his company will open its biggest indoor farm yet, a 100,000-square-foot facility in a Kent warehouse that’s expected to achieve yields many times greater than a similar footprint in a field. The produce will grow soil-free on 20-foot-high, wall-like towers, warmed by LED lights in a climate-controlled environment. This certified-organic farm can also grow crops year-round, while offering varieties that are often shipped in from other countries (a factor that contributes to global warming).
The goal, Barnard says, is to provide the “most delicious, nutrient-rich and local produce as possible,” with items spending only a few hours—as opposed to days or weeks—on a truck or in a warehouse. The first wave of varieties—spring mix and kale—will be available to consumers in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, in mid-2018.