RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday that California-based Plenty Unlimited Inc. will build the world’s largest indoor vertical farming campus, a $300 million investment, in Chesterfield County’s Meadowville Technology Park.
The company recently secured $400 million in a Series E financing round, the largest investment to date for an indoor farming company. Plenty has developed the world’s most advanced indoor farm, powered by the company’s more than 200 patent assets, to efficiently and sustainably grow clean, flavorful produce year-round on its more than 30-foot grow towers. Plenty will complete its Richmond Farm Campus in multiple phases over the next six years, creating more than 300 full-time jobs. The company’s first farm on this site, a dedicated Driscoll’s berry farm to be completed by winter 2023-2024, will be the first to grow indoor, vertically farmed strawberries at scale.
Virginia successfully competed with five other states for the project, which further advances the commonwealth’s reputation as a leader in the fast-growing industry of Controlled Environment Agriculture.
“Plenty’s decision to establish its first major east coast vertical farming campus in Virginia shines a spotlight on the advantages that make the Commonwealth the best location in the nation for companies growing our food safely and sustainably indoors,” said Youngkin. “This transformational project further bolsters Virginia’s agriculture and technology industries and positions the Commonwealth as a leader in this next generation of agriculture. I am pleased to welcome Plenty to Virginia and look forward to the company’s growth and success in Chesterfield County.”
“At Plenty, we’re on a mission to sustainably grow fresh food for everyone, everywhere,” said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai. “This campus will raise the bar on what indoor vertical farming can deliver. The scale and sophistication of what we’re building here in Virginia will make it possible to economically grow a variety of produce with superior quality and flavor. We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the government of Virginia as we endeavor to rewrite the rules of agriculture.”
Founded in 2014, Plenty is rewriting the rules of agriculture through its advanced technology platform that can grow fresh produce anywhere in the world, year-round, with peak-season quality and up to 350x more yield per acre than conventional farms. Plenty’s proprietary approach preserves the world’s natural resources, makes healthy produce available to all communities, and creates resilience in our food systems against weather, location, pests, and climate.
Plenty operates the largest-of-its-kind indoor plant science research facility in Laramie, Wyoming, and is currently building the world's most advanced, vertical indoor farm in Compton, California.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Chesterfield County, the Greater Richmond Partnership, and Dominion Energy to secure the project for Virginia. Youngkin approved a $2.4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, as well as a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist Chesterfield County in winning this project for Virginia. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program, as well as the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.
Support for Plenty’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Governor’s administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.