RICHMOND, VA – On September 14, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that California-based Plenty Unlimited Inc. will build the world’s largest indoor vertical farming campus, a $300 million investment in the county’s Meadowville Technology Park of Chesterfield. The company recently secured $400 million in a Series E funding round, the largest investment yet for an indoor farming company. Plenty has developed the world’s most advanced indoor farm, powered by over 200 of the company’s patented assets, to efficiently and sustainably grow clean, great-tasting produce all year round on its 30+ foot grow towers. Plenty will complete its Richmond Farm Campus in 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 vertically grown strawberries indoors on a large scale.
Virginia successfully competed with five other states for the project, further solidifying the Commonwealth’s reputation as a leader in the fast-growing controlled-environment agriculture industry.
“Plenty’s decision to establish its first major vertical farming campus on the East Coast in Virginia highlights the advantages that make the Commonwealth the best location in the country for companies that grow our food safely and sustainably in the environment. interior,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said. “This transformational project further strengthens Virginia’s agriculture and technology industries and positions the Commonwealth as a leader in this next generation of agriculture. I am delighted to welcome Plenty to Virginia and look forward to the growth and success of the business in Chesterfield County.
“Indoor farming is fundamentally transforming agribusiness with environmentally and socially responsible agricultural technologies that make local, sustainable products accessible to more communities,” said Commerce and Commerce Secretary Caren Merrick. . “Plenty will easily be able to grow and distribute fresh produce to thousands of customers from its new campus in Chesterfield County, reinforcing the advantages of Virginia’s strategic location and dedicated workforce. We are proud to welcome Plenty to the Commonwealth and thank the company for advancing the controlled environment agriculture industry in Virginia.
“There will come a day when we look back in disbelief at the thought of buying fresh produce from the other side of the world, when companies like Plenty prove that we can grow those same produce here, all year round, in a way that not only tastes better, but is also significantly better for our environment,” Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Matthew Lohr said. “Technological advancement is what drives industry forward. agriculture, so I’m thrilled that Virginia is playing a leading role in the indoor farming revolution that’s changing, for the better, where much of our food comes from.”
“At Plenty, we are 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 has to offer. The scale and sophistication of what we are building here in Virginia will make it possible to economically grow a variety of products with superior quality and flavor. We look forward to to continue to work closely with the government of Virginia as we strive to rewrite the rules of agriculture.
“Bringing the world’s largest indoor vertical farming facility to Chesterfield is a huge achievement for the county,” said Chris Winslow, chairman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors. “Indoor vertical farming is an important and growing way to bring locally grown, fresh produce to consumers year-round, and Plenty Unlimited is the national leader in this area. We couldn’t be happier to welcome them to Chesterfield.
“Innovation, technology, and agriculture go hand in hand in Virginia, and we’re excited that Chesterfield County will soon be home to the world’s largest indoor agriculture campus,” said Jennifer Wakefield, president and CEO. management of the Greater Richmond Partnership. “We are delighted that Plenty is the latest sustainable company to have chosen Greater Richmond to develop its business. »
“We are delighted that Plenty has chosen Chesterfield County for its first East Coast facility,” said Felicia Howard, Vice President of Economic Development Strategy, Dominion Energy. “Dominion Energy looks forward to providing them with the energy they need to successfully reach new markets.
“It is clear that access to an expanding international business gateway was key to Plenty Unlimited’s strategic decision to come to Chesterfield County, and we look forward to partnering with them as a global gateway,” said said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and Executive Director of the Port Authority of Virginia. “Plenty is building a one-of-a-kind, environmentally conscious vertical farming operation, and this company’s sustainability philosophy aligns with the Port of Virginia’s larger goal of becoming completely carbon neutral by 2040. Virginia is the best place for agriculture-related goods, and we welcome the announcement of Plenty’s investment in Virginia.
“Plenty Unlimited Inc.’s decision to expand into Chesterfield County is welcome news,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “This significant investment in our Commonwealth will create hundreds of jobs, strengthen our agricultural industry and increase the production of healthy food while doing it in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. I’m proud that Virginia helps lead in indoor farming, and I look forward to the success of Plenty Unlimited in our Commonwealth.
“I am beyond proud to learn that Plenty will be making Virginia’s largest vertical agricultural investment,” said Senator Joseph D. Morrissey. “Not only is Plenty investing $300 million, but it will also create 300 much-needed jobs. It is initiatives like this that will prosper Central Virginia and the Commonwealth as a whole for generations to come.
“Access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a key component of healthy and thriving communities, so I’m thrilled to welcome Plenty to Meadowville, where they will lead the way in vertical farming technology right here in the 62nd District.” , said delegate Carrie Coyner. “Families in our community can’t wait to pick up a box of strawberries at our local grocery stores and have peace of mind knowing they were grown right here in our own backyard and that every time we buy your products, we support our local economy. ”
Founded in 2014, Plenty is rewriting the rules of agriculture with its state-of-the-art technology platform that can grow fresh produce anywhere in the world, all year round, with peak season quality and up to 350 times more yield. per acre than conventional farms. Plenty’s proprietary approach conserves the world’s natural resources, makes healthy products available to all communities and builds resilience in our food systems against weather, location, pests and climate. Plenty operates the largest indoor plant scientific research facility of its kind in Laramie, Wyoming, and is currently building the world’s most advanced vertical indoor plant 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. Governor Youngkin approved a $2.4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to help Chesterfield County win this project for Virginia. The business is eligible to receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Area Grant Program and the Large Business Employment Tax Credit for new full-time employment.
Plenty’s job creation support will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in conjunction with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners. , with financial support from the Governor’s Administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates the start-up of new facilities by directly providing recruiting and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards and culture. All program services are provided free of charge to qualified new and expanding businesses as an incentive for job creation.