As the world’s population grows and farming space is at a premium, we are quickly running out of land to grow enough crops to feed everyone.

For years, we’ve been told that the future of farming was vertical, growing crops indoors in more space-efficient buildings. But this revolution has not yet come to pass, with currently only 30 hectares of vertical farming space worldwide. An increase in energy costs around the world has led to several nascent projects being scrapped.

But now a new agricultural company called Plenty, based in San Fransico, believes it has the answer. Using new unique 3D architecture that grows crops up to two stories high in huge towers, they believe that they can revolutionise farming.

Plenty believes they can grow 350 times more yield from the same amount of land as conventional farming, and they can do it almost anywhere in the world. Their aim is to grow up to two million kilograms of leafy greens annually.

Join us as we take a look around their state-of-the-art facilities, and see how farming might look in the future.

Sewing the seeds

seeds in tray from above
Seeds are planted in trays using automated systems, and given a precise mix of nutrients to help begin the growing process. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

The propagation room

indoor bed of green plants
Here, the young plants sit in the humid conditions of the propagation room. Currently, Plenty is growing four varieties of edible plants on site. These are baby arugula, baby kale, crispy lettuce and curly baby spinach. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

Growing up fast

close up of edible green leaves
With the ability to change the amount of light, nutrients and water each plant receives, Plenty can control many aspects of the final product. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

Transplantation

Metal robot arms grip plants with roots
Once the plants reach a certain size, robot arms transplant them to the growing wall. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

The grow room

Spinach plants growing on a wall
Plenty’s indoor farm uses vertical grow towers and innovative LED lighting, water and nutrient systems to grow produce efficiently. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

Shining light

Spinach plants and lights
A close-up of one of the LED lights used to help grow crops. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

Welcome to the jungle

Worker in white protective suit walks between lights and crops
A worker at Plenty’s facility in Compton, California, USA, walks between the lights and the tower where lettuce is being grown. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

Getting ready to harvest

yellow metal robot arm
A robot arm holds one of the shelves from the growing tower. Once they reach a certain size, plants are transplanted into the holes and mounted in the growing tower. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

The harvest room

Yellow metal robot arm worker and spinach plants vertical
A worker supervises a robot in the growing room. Every aspect of food production on the farm is automated, making the system very efficient. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

Optically sorting the crops

Machinery with green plant crop
Once fully grown, the produce is picked and sorted using this hi-tech optical sorting machine. The machine uses blue light to check for damaged leaves before sending the crops off for packing. Photo by Plenty Unlimited

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