Sustainability

Walmart becomes first large US retailer to ‘significantly invest’ in vertical farming

The Associated Press/Plenty via Walmart

Story at a glance

  • The nation’s largest retailer announced Tuesday that it is investing in indoor vertical farming company Plenty.
  • Walmart did not disclose the size of its own investment or the financial terms of the deal.
  • Plenty, a San Francisco-based startup, uses indoor warehouse facilities in California to house rows of hydroponic towers to grow leafy greens like lettuce, kale and arugula.

Walmart is partnering with a vertical farming startup to help deliver fresh produce to its stores year-round. 

The nation’s largest retailer announced Tuesday that it is investing in indoor vertical farming company Plenty as part of a $400 million round of funding for the startup.  

Walmart did not disclose the size of its own investment or the financial terms of the deal, but said a Walmart executive will join Plenty’s Board of Directors as part of the partnership.  

Plenty, a San Francisco-based startup, uses indoor warehouse facilities in California to house rows of hydroponic towers to grow leafy greens like lettuce, kale and arugula. The operation incorporates engineering, software and “sustainable crop science” to grow several crops on one platform at “unprecedented speed,” according to Walmart.  


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The company says it can condense hundreds of acres of farmland into the size of a big box retail store and deliver up to 350 times more food per acre. The crops are also grown without pesticides and aren’t affected by unpredictable weather.  

“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, chief merchandising officer at Walmart, said in a statement.  

“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,” Redfield said.  

Walmart plans to carry Plenty’s leafy greens in its California locations later this year. 


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