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Walmart is backing a new, cutting-edge method for growing leafy greens — and it can produce 350 times more than traditional farms

The new deal means Walmart will receive fresh produce from Plenty's facility in Compton.

Walmart truck, Vertical farming

Photo Credit: iStock

An indoor vertical farming company called Plenty has opened a huge facility in Compton, California, backed by investments from Walmart, RIS News reports.

Plenty's technology is a brilliant and efficient use of space and water. Instead of growing plants in a flat bed on the ground, it plants them in vertical columns arranged in long rows inside its massive indoor farms to soak up as much light as possible. 

Climate control and LED lights allow the company to grow healthy crops no matter what the weather is like outside. High-tech robots and cutting-edge software monitor the plants, automating much of their care.

Thanks to all these advances, Plenty says it can produce 350 times as much food as a traditional farm and twice as much as other vertical farming models.

Now it will have the chance to prove its claims, RIS News reports. This January, Walmart announced it would invest in vertical farms, and now it has put its money in Plenty.

The new deal means Walmart will receive fresh produce from Plenty's facility in Compton, a massive indoor farm the size of a city block. Plenty says it will grow 4.5 million pounds of baby arugula, baby kale, crispy lettuce, and curly baby spinach every year. The crops will go to Walmart, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, and even some local grocery stores in Compton, RIS News says.

This is great news for shoppers, who will be able to enjoy fresh local produce year-round without the added cost and damage from long-distance shipping.

Meanwhile, RIS News says that Plenty's vertical farming methods conserve water, an essential environmental move in the midst of California's long-lasting drought.

Plenty also grows its leafy greens without any pesticides, RIS News reports. Growing indoors and quickly harvesting helps protect crops from pests, so these chemicals are unnecessary. This means Plenty's methods won't pollute the surrounding soil and water.

"At Walmart, we are focused on identifying and investing in innovative food solutions to bring our customers the freshest, highest-quality foods at the best prices," Charles Redfield, Walmart's chief merchandising officer in the U.S., said in the company's press release in January. "We believe Plenty is a proven leader in a new era of agriculture, one that offers pesticide-free, peak-flavor produce to shoppers every day of the year."

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