The vertical farming startup Plenty just announced that it plans to build 300 organic, indoor farms in or near Chinese cities.
In late 2017, the company scored $200 million in the largest-ever ag-tech deal. The funding round was led by Softbank Ventures and included DCM Ventures as well as funds that invest on behalf of Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Due to rising concerns surrounding food safety, middle-class Chinese consumers are increasingly willing to pay a premium for organic produce.
In the past two decades, China has experienced several food scandals. Between 2001 and 2006, toxic mushrooms killed 148 people and poisoned over 500 others in Yunnan. In 2010, Hunan police shut down a large operation that produced “green beans” from dyed soybeans.
As a result, a growing number of Chinese residents are turning to organic produce, which is considered safer since its production is more regulated, according to The Guardian.
A Jeff Bezos-backed indoor farming company called Plenty will soon harvest some of this organic produce. But unlike traditional farms, it will grow crops on LED-lit 20-foot-tall towers, which do not require soil, pesticides, or even natural sunlight. The technique is called vertical farming.
Plenty says it …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Technology