Plenty Hires VP of Plant Science and Architecture Firm to Advance Development of World's Largest Vertical Farming Research Center
Wyoming facility – which will double Plenty's R&D space – enters next phase, progresses toward 2025 opening
Today, Plenty Unlimited Inc. announced significant updates supporting the development of its new R&D facility, which will be the largest and most technologically advanced indoor vertical farming research center in the world. Following the announcement of the project earlier this year, made possible by Wyoming's largest economic development grant ever given, the project steering committee has achieved its first major milestone, selecting MOA Architecture as the architecture and engineering (A&E) firm. Plenty is also adding top talent to its Laramie leadership team - Sasha Preuss has joined the company as its Vice President of Plant Science. Building on decades of experience heading up biology and biotech programs and labs for some of the world's largest agriculture companies, including Bayer and Monsanto, Sasha is now leading Plenty's team of more than 75 scientists in scaling up the company's R&D work.
"What drew me to Plenty was not just the company's leading technology and runway for innovation and scale, but the genuine passion of everyone on the team to find actionable solutions for one of today's most important, global issues: feeding people," said Sasha Preuss, Plenty Vice President of Plant Science. "I'm excited to join Plenty to move more crops from conceptualization to production in our farms, and I'm fortunate to be working with a diverse team of talent as we leverage science and technology to secure the future of food."
Growing more crops indoors is essential to make indoor agriculture a meaningful part of the global food supply, increase food security and improve supply chain resiliency. The Laramie research center will significantly expand Plenty's new crop research, which has grown more than 50 different crops in Plenty's 3-D vertical growing system. The new facility will also support the ongoing development and new releases of core Plenty technology - including Plenty's custom LED lights, which play a pivotal role in increasing yield. The addition of the new facility will also enable Plenty to scale its leading teams of scientists and engineers, and to deepen its long-standing relationship with the University of Wyoming through additional partnerships and recruitment opportunities.
"Since day one, Plenty's investment in R&D and our work to develop a transformational new method of growing plants has been what set us apart. Building the most advanced vertical farming research center in the world will make it possible for us to further scale our innovation and to continue advancing the fields of agriculture and plant science in the face of an increasingly volatile climate," said Dr. Nate Storey, Plenty cofounder and Chief Science Officer. "As we ramp up our cutting-edge crop research to scale what Plenty farms can deliver in the U.S. and beyond, we're fortunate to have Sasha's expertise and leadership shaping the future of plant science at Plenty."
Plenty's new facility was made possible thanks to the support of a $20 million economic development grant through the Wyoming Business Council to the City of Laramie. The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance (LCBA) is also providing additional funding, land and support for the project, bringing total support for the project to $22.5 million. The project steering committee conducted a thorough, statewide review and chose MOA Architecture as the A&E firm. The selection was based on MOA's capabilities and expertise from two decades of experience in Wyoming, as well as its commitment to achieving the project's vision and objectives.
"As a proud Wyomingite, I'm excited to see the innovation and technological advances Plenty has made here, and the massive growth and research potential on the horizon as we begin our work together in Laramie," said Brandon Daigle, Director of MOA Wyoming. "We're honored to have been chosen as the A&E firm on this project, and look forward to leveraging our expertise and experience to design this groundbreaking new research facility."
"Home-grown tech companies like Plenty and redefining projects like this research facility are helping put Laramie on the map for those who want to pursue studies or a career in STEM," said Brad Enzi, CEO and President of the LCBA. "We're excited to see this project's forward momentum as it progresses into the next phase."
Following the installation of MOA as the A&E partner, the steering committee will move forward with the process to secure a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) to support the team on design and manage the shift to the building phase.
For more information about career opportunities at the Plenty Laramie research center, please visit www.plenty.ag/careers.
Plenty is rewriting the rules of agriculture through its technology platform that can grow fresh produce almost 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 is designed to preserve the world's natural resources, make fresh produce available to all communities and create resilience in our food systems against weather, location, pests and climate impacts. Plenty operates the world's most advanced indoor farm in Compton, California, and is currently building the world's first vertical farm to grow strawberries indoors at scale near Richmond, Virginia, and the world's largest vertical farming research center in Laramie, Wyoming. For more information, visit www.plenty.ag.