According to a press release from the office Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Plenty is building a vertical farming campus in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The facility will cost $300 million and will be housed in the Meadowville Technology Park.
The campus, the release states, will be built out over the next six years and eventually create over 300 jobs. The first farm, set to be completed in the winter of 2023-24, will grow Driscoll's strawberries at scale. The release also states that the campus will be the largest of its kind.
“At Plenty, we’re on a mission to sustainably grow fresh food for everyone, everywhere,” said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai, per the release. “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.”
“There will come a day when we look back in disbelief that we would source fresh produce from half a world away, when companies like Plenty are proving that we can grow that same produce right here, year-round, in a way that not only tastes better, but that is also dramatically better for our environment,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr, per the release. “Technological advancement is what drives the industry of agriculture forward, so I am thrilled Virginia is playing a leading role in the indoor farming revolution that is changing, for the better, where much of our food is coming from.”
Plenty is the latest CEA operation to move into Virginia. In 2021, AeroFarms began building its farm and announced expansion plans this year. Greenswell Growers, a hydroponic operation, also opened a 77,000-square foot facility in 2021. Virginia Tech is also home to a CEA research center than opened in 2020.
Gov. Youngkin, a Republican elected in 2022, 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. Five other states made bids from the project, although they were unnamed in the announcement.