This Company Wants To Solve The World's Hunger Problem. Here's How

Photo: BONNINSTUDIO

While we love bringing you functional recipes and sharing the latest in superfood trends, it's hard to ignore the fact that some people simply don't have access to the most basic elements of healthy food. In line with our newly shared You. We. All. mission, it's abundantly clear that if some—many—of us can't find or purchase healthy food, the system isn't working for all of us, and something needs to change.

Plenty, a new San Francisco–based startup, hopes to step up to that plate. The Jeff Bezos–backed endeavor, which has raised $200 million to date, is dedicated to bringing healthy food to everyone in the world, thanks to a unique system of vertical farms. Vertical farming is the perfect antidote to many of the problems that plague the modern agricultural world: It doesn't require land (it goes up, not out); soil (which is often depleted of nutrients from over-farming); sunlight (special low-energy UV lamps are used); or pesticides (Plenty will seek official organic certification within the next calendar year). While vertical farming is incredibly effective in all types of environments, it's especially change-making in urban regions, where thousands of gallons of fuel are typically used to ship produce from more far-flung farms (the time in transit significantly reduces the nutrient contents of produce as well), and countries with environments that don't typically lend themselves to agriculture (many mountainous and desert regions). Vertical farming crops can yield up to 530 times more than typical fields, a huge boon when it comes to quickly getting vegetables to the world's ever-expanding population.

Photo: @plenty_farms

The company has opened two vertical farms thus far, in the Bay Area and Wyoming, with plans for a third to debut in Seattle in spring 2018. The new warehouse is twice as large as the company's first and will grow 4.5 million pounds of greens annually—enough to feed nearly 200,000 Americans. With its large investment, the company hopes to eventually have a vertical farm in every major city in the world.

While there is speculation about the company's future plans—rumors include direct-to-consumer delivery done by robots, among other things—one thing is certain: Plenty is poised to quickly revolutionize the way the world eats.

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