People, power costs keep indoor farming down to Earth
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) — Indoor farmers aim to solve the problem of limp lettuce and tasteless tomatoes in America’s supermarkets.
By growing crops in urban buildings instead of outdoors, they hope to avoid prematurely harvesting produce for a long, bumpy ride to consumers in colder climes.
More than 30 high-tech companies from the U.S. to Singapore are working to turn indoor farming into a major future food source, if only they can clear a stubborn hurdle: high costs.
Real estate around cities is pricey. Electricity and labor don’t come cheap. And unlike specialty crops like newly legal marijuana, veggies rarely command premium prices.
The best-funded indoor farming company on the planet — Plenty, which has raised nearly $230 million so far — has embraced a longtime farmers’ crutch: government handouts. But no takers yet.