San Francisco, CA

Walmart invests in SF vertical farming startup Plenty

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(SAN FRANCISCO) Retail giant Walmart announced Tuesday that it has invested in San Francisco-based vertical farming startup Plenty.

While the company declined to comment on the size of the investment or terms of the deal, they did note that it will get an undisclosed number of board seats as part of the deal, according to the East Bay Times.

The retail conglomerate is ostensibly investing in the startup as a way of delivering fresher produce to consumers at less cost.

Vertical farming has garnered popularity in areas like Utah, Wyoming and Nevada for its efficiency and effectiveness. Supporters highlight how it can bring high quality products to consumers, using far less water.

While this is a sign that commercial grocers are looking toward start-up vertical farming companies to fill a delivery need amid staffing shortages and supply chain issues, the push for more sustainable farming has been growing in popularity for years.

In 2020, according to consulting firm Agritecture, at least 74 indoor farming companies were founded. Gotham Greens, based out of New York, Morehead and Kentucky-based App Harvest are among the other prominent vertical farming companies.

Plenty was founded in 2014 and still operates a vertical garden in South San Francisco as well as a facility in Laramie, Wyoming. Additionally, the startup is now building what it calls the world's highest output vertical farm in Compton.

Walmart noted that as a part of the deal, Plenty's Compton facility would provide leafy greens to the retailer's California stores starting later in 2022.

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