If you live in the U.S., the last time you ate a salad, the lettuce inside it almost certainly came from California or Arizona. But the geography of leafy greens is very slowly starting to change as the trend of indoor farming—growing greens in large warehouses using artificial light and automated technology—expands. The latest farm to open is in Baltimore. It’s the largest, so far, from the New York-based, tech-heavy startup Bowery.
The company, which just announced that it raised another $50 million from investors, grows what it previously called “post-organic” produce in sprawling warehouses (it no longer uses the phrase, but the greens are grown without any pesticides). It’s one of a handful of startups trying to make a dent in some of the challenges of traditional agriculture. The industry isn’t moving as quickly as some predicted. Aerofarms, for example, said in 2015 that it hoped to build 25 farms over the next five years; so far, it has two large farms, an R&D farm and a small farm at a school. The same year, FarmedHere said that it planned to expand to 18 farms but went out of business two years later. Boston-based Fresh Box Farms said in 2017 that it planned to expand to 25 farms in five years but still has only one farm. Plenty, a Silicon Valley-based indoor farming startup that has raised $226 million, has one farm.
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