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Morning Briefing: Vertical Farming Is Coming To Compton

A farm operations associate tends to plants in the grow space at Plenty's vertical farming facility in South San Francisco.
(Spencer Lowell/Courtesy of Plenty)
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Good morning, L.A.

Mark your calendars: As of next year, Compton will become a hub for the future of agriculture. A San Francisco start-up is constructing a 95,000-square-foot vertical farming operation inside a former warehouse in the area, and once it’s up and running, the operation will grow non-GMO, pesticide-free fruits and veggies under the warmth of LED lamps. Robots will serve as their plant parents (and a few humans, too).

Vertical farming is just what it sounds like — rows and rows of plants that are grown indoors, on walls, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. (Learn more here.) The company, known as Plenty, chose Compton as a way to reach underserved communities, and also because it, like so much of Southern California, has a rich history of farming.

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Places such as New Jersey, Dubai, Belgium and San Francisco already have vertical farming facilities, and interest is growing. Investments in the industry grew nearly eightfold between 2016 and 2017, reports LAist contributor Stefan A. Slater, with money coming in from such high-profile individuals as Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt.

The first Plenty facility opened in the Bay Area in 2018. We’ll see how it fares here soon enough.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

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