The city of Laramie and local business organizations are applying for a $20 million grant to build a new research building for Plenty Unlimited. Plenty has been heralded as an innovator in farming and has Laramie business leaders hopeful about its potential for the local business community.
Plenty co-founder and University of Wyoming graduate Nate Storey started commercializing vertical farming methods in Laramie in 2011. He joined Plenty in 2017. The company operates in Compton and San Francisco, California, in addition to Laramie. If a grant for the company’s new facility is approved, the business could expand, even more, retaining 71 pre-existing local jobs and creating 125 more.
He explained that indoor farming is the easy part of the job. The hard part is finding a way to do it as efficiently as possible. The proposed research and development center would be located in the Cirrus Sky Technology Park, near 22nd Street and Asphalt Lane. It would be used for conducting plant science research to streamline Plenty’s farming methods.
While food from the research and development facility would be experimental in nature and not U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved, it would be available for local farmers to use as compost, Storey said. “It’s a rapidly growing company in a globally important marketplace with how we are going to feed the world in a water, energy, and space-efficient manner over the next generations,” said Brad Enzi, president of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance.
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