Plenty, Inc.

Beta Farms

The world’s most technologically advanced indoor vertical farm – revolutionizing agriculture and promoting food security.

Today, agriculture and food systems are fragile due to climate change, soil depletion, and diminishing farmland. Global water scarcity is a growing concern, and reducing household water usage alone isn't sufficient without reevaluating plant cultivation methods. With climate change, extreme weather, and the agriculture industry’s demand for limited land and water resources threatening the world’s food security, humanity must seek alternatives to safeguard food supplies and nutrition.

Plenty, Inc., an innovative agriculture startup based in South San Francisco, presents a solution: indoor vertical farming. With the mission to enhance plants, people, and the planet’s well-being by cultivating top-quality produce and increasing its accessibility, Plenty has set out to establish a worldwide network of indoor farms.


South San Francisco, CA


  • Borges Architectural Group - Architect of Record
  • KPFF Inc. - Structural Engineer
  • Pacific Ridge Builders, Inc. - General Contractor

Building Size

60,000 square feet

To refine its indoor farming technology, Plenty renovated its South San Francisco warehouse into a 60,000-square-foot beta farm, known as Tigris, designed to produce organic leafy greens, such as spinach and lettuce. The beta farm served as a testing ground for Plenty’s proprietary vertical growing system, aimed at informing the company’s future indoor vertical farm facilities – operating with lower energy costs while delivering healthy and affordable produce at target profits. Providing mechanical, electrical, piping/plumbing (MEP), process, and instrumentation and controls engineering design services, AEI designed MEP systems and controls for the beta farm’s grow room, including air heating and cooling systems, ductwork, airflow distribution, and centralized heat recovery chillers, and supporting spaces.

To regulate humidity in the grow rooms, AEI designed a system that removes the moisture plants continually transpire by cooling the air with heat recovery air handling units and then circulating the condensed water to the plant irrigation/fertilization system, creating a perpetual regenerative cycle. To validate the required MEP engineering systems for these state-of-the-art indoor vertical farms, the beta farm’s testing concentrated on overall MEP system selection, economic efficiency, ease of maintenance, and scalability. The insights acquired from the beta farm expedited Plenty’s subsequent indoor farm developments.

The indoor vertical farms are designed to grow leafy pesticide-residue-free greens you can eat without washing (stock image).

the land that conventional farming occupies

Plenty’s pioneering approach to farming leverages plant science principles and proprietary technologies, enabling Plenty to cultivate and deliver premium produce on a scale never seen before and at prices comparable to current market rates. Being one of the only farms that grow produce vertically in tall towers rather than in horizontal slats stacked vertically, Plenty’s indoor farms reach over 20 feet tall in a climate-controlled environment illuminated by cutting-edge LED lights designed to mimic sunlight.

The vertical farms feature sophisticated MEP control systems and micro-sensor technology, enabling continuous plant monitoring and precise environmental adjustments, such as humidity, temperature, air pressure, air velocity, carbon dioxide, light exposure, irrigation, water pH and temperature levels, and nutrient levels. The farm’s advanced data process capabilities collect and record data to enhance future growing conditions for each plant species.

However, the cutting-edge technology integrated into Plenty's indoor farming operations extends beyond lighting and climate control. Advanced robotics are crucial in ensuring efficient automated processes handling tasks such as planting and harvesting. Specifically, a plant’s journey in the indoor vertical farm begins with planting the seeds in trays carefully nurtured with the proper water and nutrient mix to facilitate germination. Once ready, a conveyor belt transfers the seedlings to the propagation room, where warmer and humid conditions encourage sprouting.

With the ability to regulate light, nutrients, and water, in addition to carefully selecting plant varieties, Plenty wields an unparalleled degree of control over the final product (stock image).

After sprouting, the plants are transplanted into tall vertical towers and moved to the grow rooms, where they reach full maturity under the glow of Plenty's specialized LED lighting system. This lighting, integrated within the ventilation systems, emits a spectrum specifically designed to drive photosynthesis efficiently. Additionally, the lighting system's programming effects enable precise control over plant growth. When it’s time to harvest, a conveyance system guides the plants to a large robotic arm. This robotic arm loads the towers into the harvester, where high-pressure compressed air flows through tiny nozzles cut off the greens.

The harvested produce then undergoes quality control packaging and distribution, facilitated by a blue light and computer vision system that detects any compromised leaves. A sanitation team monitors the indoor vertical farm throughout the process to maintain cleanliness and sanitation standards. Quality control measures are also in place, as water management is critical to Plenty’s indoor farming. Plant-specific watering and condensation systems, such as AI-powered robotics that assess produce quality without requiring washing or pesticides, significantly reduce water usage compared to traditional farming methods.

more yield per acre than traditional farming

Plenty’s innovative indoor vertical farming solves traditional farming’s seasonal and geographic limitations. Conveniently located near urban centers, Plenty’s indoor farms shorten the supply chain, reducing food spoilage during transit and storage and allowing farmers to prioritize crop flavor over transportation durability. Additionally, indoor vertical farms operate year-round, unaffected by seasonal changes, and can consistently produce high-quality, nutrient-rich organic produce within their controlled environments.

fresh produce is spoiled before it reaches the supermarket shelves due to rotting in transit and storage

A sanitation team, along with AI-powered robotics, monitors the indoor vertical farming to maintain cleanliness and sanitation standards (stock image).

Vertical farming eliminates geographic and seasonal limitations and maximizes land use efficiency by growing crops vertically. The vertical farming approach utilizes less than one percent of the land and less than five percent of the water, in comparison to conventional farming, significantly increasing crop yields while conserving water and eliminating the need for pesticides. Despite the higher energy costs associated with maintaining the indoor farm’s airflow, air temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels, Plenty strives to minimize its carbon footprint by developing future production in areas where renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, are prominent or predicted to grow in the near future.

Plenty is revolutionizing agriculture with its one-of-its-kind technology, enabling the year-round growth of fresh organic produce worldwide with exceptional quality and yields surpassing traditional farms by up to 350 times per acre. Its vertical farming system conserves natural resources, promotes access to nutritious food, and bolsters the food system’s resilience against diverse challenges for future generations to come.

the amount of water consumed by conventional outdoor farms

Plenty opted against organic certification due to its distinctive indoor growing technology, which allows it to regulate growing conditions in ways that surpass even outdoor organic farms' capabilities (stock image).

After surpassing its capabilities and acquiring the needed insights, Plenty closed the beta farm, Tigris, in 2023. With the Beta Farm’s success, AEI continues to support Plenty in its mission of developing a worldwide network of indoor farms. AEI is providing MEP, technology planning, instrumentation and controls engineering design and commissioning services along with Pivotal Lighting Design’s architectural lighting solutions for Plenty’s new 60,000-square-foot research facility in Laramie, Wyoming.

Currently under design, the facility is poised to become the world’s largest vertical farming research center and will consolidate Plenty’s current research initiatives in Laramie. Furthermore, Plenty is establishing the world's most expansive indoor vertical farming campus near Richmond, Virginia, for which AEI has been actively involved in the early concept design, providing MEP engineering design services, load calculations, energy modeling, and equipment sizing. Expected to span 300,000 square feet, the Virginia indoor vertical farm will comprise multiple identical grow rooms dedicated to strawberry production.