Plenty brought the farm indoors to create a better future for people and our planet. We need to triple the production of fruits and vegetables if we want to provide a healthy diet to everyone on the planet. This is an eye-opening statistic based on a Harvard study and data from the United Nations. Decades of research and development in outdoor farming have solved primarily for calories through yield gains while largely neglecting nutrients and flavor. This has led to the predominant global diet being low in nutrients and high in calories, driving the global pandemics of obesity and diabetes.
Farmers have relatively little control over the crops they grow. They select which seed, when to plant, and when to harvest. They can apply water, fertilizers, and chemicals to encourage growth and fend off pests. For crops to be profitable, they are typically chosen and grown to survive travel on trucks and for easy storage. Crops from different climates are shipped thousands of miles to customers. The end result is expensive, lower quality, and less delicious fruits and vegetables.
Plenty’s goal is to grow the best possible produce and to make it more accessible than ever before. We want to sustainably offer people the healthiest, happiest lives possible. Our new farm, codenamed Tigris, represents our largest and most ambitious leap forward. It demonstrates our ability to grow delicious produce using less than 5% of the water and less than 1% of the land compared to outdoor farms. By developing reliable, indoor, vertical farms that control everything our plants experience, we can reach people around the world with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables that consumers will actually crave.
In order to change consumers expectations and to compete with flavorful processed foods, we grow the most delicious version of every crop that we sell. Can kale be decadent? Can mustard greens create the same binge response that we find in a bag of Doritos? Can we do this without genetic modification or pesticides? The short answer is a resounding yes. If you control the growing environment, you can find the world’s most delicious varieties and remove geography and seasonality as limitations.
Strawberries are more delicious in California because California is one of five Mediterranean climates in the world that has the ideal environment in which to grow produce. The Italian tomato isn’t the best because Italian farmers are magical, but because Italian tomatoes benefit from the most perfect tomato-growing environment in nature. Inside the walls of our indoor farms, Plenty is able to create the perfect environment for almost fruit or vegetable to create the perfect flavor. We can build local farms and replicate the ideal environment near any city in the world. By eliminating long-distance transportation, we can harvest and put these foods in consumer’s hands the same day.
Most importantly, Plenty can grow produce that people to eat. The human brain evolved to associate flavor with nutrients. Many processed foods are engineered to have the flavors our brains crave, but lack the nutrients that our bodies need. The intense artificial flavors don’t actually satisfy our bodies and our cravings drive us to eat more calories than we need. There are many communities around the world where there is enough food, but without balanced nutrition the result is excess consumption that leads to obesity and related diseases. Plenty is reestablishing the connection between flavor and nutrients to put an end to this cycle.
Building a new form of agriculture at a scale that can impact people around the world while using fewer resources and delivering mind-blowing flavor and nutrition is incredibly difficult. At Plenty, we have assembled an amazing team of the world’s leading Plant Scientists, Flavor Experts, Hardware and Software Engineers, Growers, Operations experts, and people from many related fields. We have built dozens of farm prototypes to attack this challenge from every angle. We have grown hundreds of varieties of plants to find the highest yielding plants with flavors that will change expectations. Tigris isn’t just a story about robots or climate control or LED lights or hydroponics. It is the first instance of a new way of feeding people that can deliver on the promise of each of these individual technologies when every detail is optimized.
Inside Tigris is the technological opportunity to revolutionize human health. We give plants the perfect environment to be the best and most craveable versions of themselves, so that we can all be the best, most nourished versions of ourselves. I hope people enjoy the photos and videos of Tigris, but I really can’t wait for people to taste our amazing produce.
SVP of Engineering