San Francisco-based vertical farming company Plenty is to make its debut at Outside Lands, a music festival in the city’s Golden Gate Park.
The environmentally-conscious farming company will set up camp in the Farmers Market, temporarily designated as “Eco Lands” for the festival, and hand out samples of its leafy green produce, such as arugula and kale. While the samples will be served as prepared hors-d’oeuvres and include other ingredients such as figs, zucchini, tofu, and more, the produce is also a substantial snack on its own, according to co-founder Matt Barnard. “I’ve seen people just snacking on [our arugula] like a potato chip,” he told Eater.
Musicians and performers, such as headliners Janet Jackson, Florence + The Machine, and The Weeknd, will also have an opportunity to get a taste of the action. Plenty has commissioned former “Top Chef” contestant, Whole Foods ambassador and celebrity chef Melissa King to create dishes for the big names.
According to Barnard, the music festival is the perfect spot for the vertical veg farming company to make its debut. Only 24 percent of grocery store produce is identified by brand, he told Eater, and this way, the Plenty name is more likely to be remembered. Following its festival appearance, the company, which has already raised over $200 million in funding, will begin a veg box delivery service around the San Francisco Bay Area. After that, it’s Seattle’s turn, which the company will service with produce from its farm in Kent, Washington.
Plenty’s aim is to create sustainable “food for people, not trucks,” according to Barnard. Speaking to Fast Company earlier this year, he explained, “30% to 45% of the value [of produce] at shelf is trucks and distribution centers. And that to us doesn’t make any sense when we can be getting people better food that tastes better, is more nutritious, with less pesticides.”
Indoor farms are becoming more popular. In New York, Bowery is working on opening up its second location. However, what makes Plenty different, according to co-founder Nate Storey, is that it grows its produce vertically.
Storey noted, “Shifting to the vertical plane makes us usually four to six times more efficient spatially than a stacked system – like someone from Aerofarms or someone like Bowery. Ultimately we’re able to have a much higher space-use efficiency than we could if we were trying to stack our equipment. So everything in the system serves that end, which is how can we pack more plant production into the space without sacrificing plant health.”
Outside Lands festival is taking place from August 10th – 12th.