Controlled Environment Agriculture Companies in Virginia

Virginia Companies Going Beyond Traditional Farming

Controlled Environment Agriculture companies have called Virginia home for years, attracted to the Commonwealth's diverse ecosystem of partners and suppliers for food and beverage processors, numerous universities and research centers, and a notable abundance of natural resources.

Plenty Unlimited Inc.

Plenty Unlimited Inc. will build the world’s largest campus for advanced indoor vertical farming in Virginia, a $300 million investment that will create 300 jobs in the Greater Richmond region. The company recently secured $400 million in a Series E financing round, the largest investment to date for an indoor farming company. Plenty’s proprietary climate-control, LED lighting, and growing technologies allow for the efficient and sustainable production of a variety of clean, flavorful produce on its 52-foot grow towers year-round. The company’s first farm will be completed by 2024 and will focus on strawberry production.


AeroFarms uses proprietary aeroponic growing technology to produce highly flavorful leafy greens at a rate 390-times more productive than field-grown plants. A mission-driven company, AeroFarms is committed to growing the best plants possible with processes that use significantly less water and no pesticides while offering extremely high levels of food safety. By hiring locally and creating year-round employment, AeroFarms is able to grow all year to nourish its communities with high-quality produce that delivers optimal nutrition and flavor.

Greenswell Growers

Greenswell Growers uses a fully automated, indoor system with both natural and artificial light to produce leafy greens year-round, prioritizing food safety, freshness, consistency, and reliability. The company has worked with Dominion Energy to utilize 100 percent of its energy from zero carbon sources. The hydroponic greenhouse is expected to produce nearly 3.7 million pounds of leafy greens for distribution in the mid-Atlantic during its first three years of full production. The facility will be able to produce 28 times more product per acre than a traditional growing operation.

Red Sun Farms

Headquartered in Michoacán, Mexico, Red Sun Farms is a producer of high-quality hydroponic vegetables founded in 2001 as part of a family owned agro-industrial group. The company erected state-of-the-art, climate-controlled greenhouses on 45 acres of land in the New River Valley Commerce Park to grow quality greenhouse-grown, non-GMO, pesticide-free vegetables. 


Herndon-based Beanstalk created a vertical farming technology capable of growing lettuces, spinach, basil, carrots, lavender, and more. The company’s technology is vertically integrated from infrastructure to hardware and software. This deep integration empowers Beanstalk to quickly create, test, and iterate growing environments, robotic automation, and value-added processing – all working together to make produce exciting, tasty, and convenient. Beanstalk currently grows and sells a variety of fresh produce to local customers.

Babylon Micro-Farms

Babylon Micro-Farms develops and produces remotely controlled, indoor hydroponic systems for growing fresh herbs, vegetables, and salad greens. Babylon’s location in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition will enable the company to expand its capabilities in manufacturing, software development, and research and development so it can begin distributing nationally and internationally.


Plenty Puts Down Roots in Virginia with World’s Largest Vertical Farm Campus

Plenty Unlimited Inc. is an indoor vertical farming technology company capable of growing clean produce year-round, anywhere in the world. Plenty is changing the agriculture game by taking the variables out of farming and using indoor technology to create peak season-quality produce with up to 350x more yield per acre than conventional farms. 

Click here to read the Plenty case study

Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center (CEA-IC) is a joint project between Virginia Tech and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). By developing strategic partnerships with both industry and academia, the goal of the Innovation Center is to conduct research and educational programming to develop, promote, and advance the controlled environment agriculture sector in the U.S. and internationally.

Discover more about CEA-IC

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center Workforce Development Program

The CEA-IC in Danville is designed to utilize a variety of on-line techniques (e.g. recorded lectures, Powerpoint presentations, synchronous Zoom sessions, etc.) as well as intensive face-to-face boot camps (providing hands-on training) to prepare students for a career in controlled environment agriculture.

From the incredibly supportive universities and food businesses to the rapidly growing startup community, we found ourselves surrounded by the right people we needed to make Beanstalk a reality.

Mike Ross Co-Founder and CEO
VER Cover Q2 2023

Virginia Economic Review

In this issue of Virginia Economic Review, we take a deep dive into the controlled environment agriculture industry’s past, present, and future, while highlighting traditional agricultural operations in Virginia.


Agricultural Innovation Helps Controlled-Environment Farms Scale Up (and Up, and Up)

While greenhouses have the benefit of growing with natural sunlight, indoor vertical farms have the ability to deliver the exact environmental conditions required by specific plants, including the optimum temperature, humidity, and light levels –– and allow producers to multiply their crop outputs significantly without expanding their physical footprint. CEA operations can produce more food using fewer resources while reducing dependency on arable land.

There is an incredible spirit of partnership here that made us feel right at home as we built our latest world-class commercial indoor vertical farm to serve the community with fresh, safely grown, nutritious, and delicious leafy greens all year round.

David Rosenberg Co-Founder and CEO
Drive-time map

An Optimal Location to Serve East Coast Markets

Virginia’s central East Coast location enables companies to efficiently access major U.S. economic hubs east of the Mississippi and across the continental U.S. Located within a one-day drive of nearly half of U.S. consumers, Virginia offers companies a single gateway into critical customer markets along the affluent Northeast corridor, across the high-growth Southeast, and throughout the Midwest. Virginia also offers international companies streamlined communication and operations thanks to ample travel options and a four- to six-hour time difference with Western Europe. 

The Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID)

AFID is a discretionary incentive designed to grow Virginia’s agriculture and forestry industries. AFID grants are made to localities at the discretion of the Governor with the expectation that the grant will be critical to the success of a project that will result in the creation of new jobs and investment from companies that add value to Virginia-grown agriculture and forestry products.