Ag Startup and Walmart Building Tech-Operated Indoor Farm In Compton – CBS Los Angeles

COMPTON (CBSLA) – A massive indoor farm in the heart of Compton may eventually become the new standard when it comes to growing fresh produce, and some already call it the agriculture of the future.

Walmart and startup Plenty said it’s environmentally friendly that the products will taste better and that the fruits and vegetables will be on the shelves at the end of the year.

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“I see what we’re doing is … we’re just using new tools,” said Nate Storey, co-founder of Plenty, an agricultural technology startup.

Even the farm equipment looks different, with robotic arms and LED lights to recreate the best part of the sun, and a facility capable of avoiding the weather and seasonality. Storey said they are able to bring the crops indoors and out of the elements, allowing the products to grow at the best possible speed in the perfect daily environment.

“We’m pretty excited to bring pesticide-free food to people, in many cases, for the first time,” Storey said.

The multi-million dollar partnership between Plenty and Walmart will work indoors and use a fraction of the space they need to plant the crops outdoors.

Plenty already has an indoor farm in San Francisco, but another is being built in Compton to serve Walmarts in Southern California.

“Agriculture, as we know, is not disappearing for the time being,” said Joshua Viers, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Merced.

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The professor said that this new technology will not only create new jobs but improve the old ones.

“It is not to displace agricultural labor. It is, in fact, to retrain and retrain these individuals so that they can operate in the agriculture of the future, ā€¯Viers said.

Shopper Kenya Allen said she is not thrilled with her current Walmart products.

“As soon as you buy it, it’s going bad in a few days.”

She said she welcomes the change, that is, if it is not too good to be true.

“If it’s something that will better serve the planet, like reducing emissions and allowing more people to actually need the food, if it will make it more affordable, then yes, I would be interested in trying it,” he said. Allen.

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According to Plenty, the new Compton farm will be up and running by the end of this year.

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