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Vertical Farming Podcast
56 minutes | Jan 17, 2022
S4E49: s4e49 - Dandridge Melton - Solving Worldwide Agricultral Challenges through Hydroponic Technology & Shipping Containers
Episode Summary: Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Dandridge Melton, founder of Vertical Growth Farming Systems, an organization that’s seeking to change the way that the world approaches hunger, malnutrition, natural disasters and the effects traditional farming has on our environment through their unique container farms. Today, Harry and Dandridge discuss the vertical farming landscape, competitors to Vertical Growth Farming Systems and how Dandridge’s entrepreneurial spirit has contributed to his success in this immensely important field. They talk about the future of farming and why education is critical if we as a planet are going to be able to adapt to agricultural challenges we soon may face. Dandridge shares his profound belief in this project and talks more about his mission to change the way the world feeds itself. Episodes Sponsor: Global Vertical Farming Show – https://verticalfarmingshow.com/ Cultivatd – https://www.cultivatd.com/ What We Covered: 03:41 – Harry welcomes to the show Dandridge Melton who shares his fascinating journey as a serial entrepreneur and what inspired him to launch Vertical Growth Farming Systems 21:31 – Dandridge recalls the first time vertical farming came on his radar 26:52 – Competitors in the vertical farming landscape and the work Dandridge is doing at VGFS 34:18 – The importance of educating the youth on vertical farming 45:32 – A tough question Dandridge has had to ask himself recently and an ask Dandridge has for the audience 51:30 – Harry thanks Dandridge for joining the show and reiterates where listeners can go to learn more about VGFS and connect with Dandridge Tweetable Quotes: “I have learned this from playing hoops in the pickup gym. Every genre of occupation is represented. You’ve got your brain surgeon, your HVHC guy, your lawyer, your plumber, your restaurant owner, your barber. So, over time, you just never know when those relationships are gonna manifest into something you never even thought about.” (17:43) (Dandrige) “So, I think that we are gonna be a gamechanger in the vertical farming space. And I say that for a couple of reasons. So yes you’ve got your industrial-sized guys in vertical farming, the venture capitalist money, where they’re putting it in vertical farming. It’s all these behemoth implementations.” (27:32) (Dandrige) “We have a grow room in our shipping containers, so we can go from seed to seedling, and we have a walk-in cooler. And it’s all driven by solar, so we’re completely off the grid.” (31:40) (Dandrige) “The population continues to grow. We are losing farmable land. So those are diametrically opposed to each other. So, what’s a viable solution? You’re running out of space. You’re running out of good soil. Vertical farming is just going to continue. Whatever it is today, it’s gonna be more important tomorrow. I firmly believe that.” (35:01) (Dandrige) Links Mentioned: Dandridge’s LinkedIn Vertical Growth Farming Systems Website Vertical Farming Show Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production & Marketing by FullCastSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
52 minutes | Jan 8, 2022
S4E48: s4e48 - Eric Levesque - Overcoming Obstacles When Starting an Indoor Farm, Finding the Right Partner & Raising Funds
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes back to the show Eric Levesque, co-founder and Managing Partner at Cultivatd, an organization that works with some of the indoor farming industry's best product developers and technologies to help people discover which vertical farm tech is best for their projects. Since he was last on the show, Cultivatd has made some incredible strides, including raising $3.5 million in funds during the past year. Today, Harry and Eric discuss the increasingly evolving vertical farming industry, what makes a great team and the process of educating larger, more entrenched corporations in the field of vertical farming. Eric expounds on how Cultivatd’s business model has changed in the past year and a half and their expansion efforts into the United States (USA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Australia. Finally, Eric speaks to what continues to drive and motivate him and speculates on new technologies that excite him about the future of vertical farming. Episodes Sponsor Cultivatd – https://www.cultivatd.com/ What We Covered: 03:41 – Harry welcomes back to the show Eric Levesque who provides an update on the insightful work he and his team are doing at Cultivatd and how they identify companies to partner with 12:13 – How Cultivatd’s business model has changed over the past year and how it has changed the trajectory of Cultivatd 17:38 – Massive Fundraising 25:12 – Eric shares what he’s seeing in the vertical farming environment in places like Dubai 32:09 – How Eric approaches building an effective team 33:48 – More and more vertical farming companies entering the industry 35:47 – New tech that has Eric excited about the future of AgTech 37:19 – Educating larger corporations on vertical farming 41:24 – Eric speculates on the evolution of the industry and how it impacts Cultivatd’s role 45:14 – The importance of continual education in the vertical farming space 46:33 – What keeps Eric driven and motivated 50:15 – Harry thanks Eric for joining the show and reiterates where listeners can go to learn more about Cultivatd and connect with Eric Tweetable Quotes: “The majority of our clients, on the small side at least, are telling us, ‘I want to grow something but I’m not sure how to get there.’ And so what we do is we will tailor a solution that we feel adequately resembles what they are trying to accomplish. And then we can tailor it from there depending on what they actually want to do. Do you have a building? Do you have funding? What scale do you want to start at? What market are you trying to serve? What crops in your area are commanding a price and then we can just give them some tips.” (09:22) (Eric) “Any entrepreneur knows that, at least in the beginning, you have to be a little bit agile with your business. Sometimes the model seems to pivot quite a bit and that’s definitely what we’re seeing here.” (14:33) (Eric) “One of the biggest issues for funds is that usually there’s not enough projects for it and you’re always searching for something. In this industry it seems to be the complete opposite where we have too many projects that need funding and too many great businessmen with good ideas who are in great locations.” (21:02) (Eric) “There’s definitely never a lack of companies coming into this space, but that makes it super exciting. We’re bumping into new partners, new innovations.” (34:13) (Eric) “We’re actually looking to potentially open up a hybrid farm that we’re gonna turn into a vertical farming university, hopefully this year. That’s kind of an ambitious plan that we have.” (45:40) (Eric) Links Mentioned: Eric’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-levesque-a03a33163/?originalSubdomain=ca Cultivatd Website – https://cultivatd.com/ Link to Upstart University – https://university.upstartfarmers.com/ Link to Agritecture – https://www.agritecture.com/ Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website – https://www.cultivatd.com/ Cultivatd Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cult_ivatd/ Cultivatd’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/cultivatd Cultivatd’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cultivatd/ 🎙️ Podcast Production & Marketing by FullCast: https://fullcast.coSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
56 minutes | Jan 3, 2022
S4E47: s4e47 - Scot Bryson - Integrating Advanced Technologies to Address Climate Change & World Hunger
Episode Summary: Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Scot Bryson, founder of Orbital Farm, a global agri tech company supplying fresh vegetables, fish, and vegan protein to local markets around the world. Scot has spent his life and career as a problem solver, from picking stones and baling hay in farm fields, to becoming an entrepreneur at 22 and building a multi-million dollar advertising agency over a decade. Today, Harry and Scot dive deep into the fascinating and honorable work Scot is doing to address existential threats such as climate change and other massive issues like world hunger. Scot gets technical and talks about the process by which he builds a team and how he and his team are integrating advanced technologies in vertical farming. Finally, Scot shares his vision for the future of Orbital Farm, which will include building 200 circular mega projects around the planet to support and feed billions of people here on earth today, and spend the next 20 years prototyping and developing the technology to feed people in space in the future. Episodes Sponsor: Freight Farms – https://www.freightfarms.com/ Global Vertical Farming Show – https://verticalfarmingshow.com/ Cultivatd – https://www.cultivatd.com/ What We Covered: 03:42 – Harry welcomes to the show space farmer and founder of Orbital Farm, Scot Bryson, who joins the show to discuss his passion for problem solving everything from Climate Change to World Hunger 19:32 – Orbital Farm’s origin story 24:04 – Scot breaks down ‘daily protein’ in layman’s terms 28:02 – How Scot approaches the team building process 38:09 – The complexities of solving issues like hunger and homelessness 46:27 – Scot’s vision for the future of Orbital Farm and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Orbital Farm and how to help 50:44 – Another critical piece of the vertical farming story 54:18 – Harry thanks Scot for joining the show and reiterates where listeners can go to learn more about Orbital Farms and connect with Scot Tweetable Quotes: “We have the same capacity and capability to get through these challenges and struggles. And that was really what I wanted to address and what kept me down this entrepreneurial pathway.” (06:49) (Scot) “The way that we get through climate change is to look at wastestream sources as revenue streams. And if we can make that leap, if we can identify technologies, if we can enable capabilities to where wastestreams look like valuable resources, we can mobilize global capital to invest in the solutions that are needed to address the challenge at the pace and the scale required.” (08:39) (Scot) “Really at the heart of what Orbital Farm is is we are a project development firm. We are integrating proven, existing technologies, and developing these business models and developing these project opportunities in different places that will come in a whole bunch of different forms. We have a very clear architecture, and that architecture is driven so that, in twenty years’ time, we want to have the ability to support hundreds of people living and working in space.” (15:42) (Scot) “The attraction of people to a big vision - when I say two hundred facilities is enough to provide a billion people with food and end World Hunger - that’s an achievable goal in a short enough time frame to adjust the problem. That’s enough motivation for people to volunteer.” (29:13) (Scot) “It’s gonna take a brilliant financial mind who has done significant work and raised significant capital for other purposes. And this [Orbital Farm] is a great opportunity to now come in and help lead that investment vehicle decision.” (49:01) (Scot) Links Mentioned: Scot’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/scotbryson/?originalSubdomain=ca Orbital Farm Website - https://orbital.farm/ Orbital Farm Email - firstname.lastname@example.org Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website – https://www.cultivatd.com/ Cultivatd Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cult_ivatd/ Cultivatd’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/cultivatd Cultivatd’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cultivatd/ 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production & Marketing by FullCastSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
49 minutes | Dec 24, 2021
S4E46: s4e46 - Simon Deacon of Light Science Technologies on AI, Sensors & the Future of LED Technology in Vertical Farming
Episode Summary: Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Simon Deacon, founder and CEO of Light Science Technologies, an organization that provides integrated solutions for the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) market. A dynamic and forward-looking entrepreneur, Simon has founded and grown businesses in Lighting, Electronics and Display manufacture markets. Today, Harry and Simon discuss the intricate and exciting work Simon is doing to disrupt the vertical farming industry. Simon talks in depth about his lighting products, the research his company does and the future of his company, including sensor technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Simon speaks to how Light Science Technologies differentiates themselves from their competitors, the impact supply chain issues have had on his business and how they are approaching customer relations through a lens of partnership. Episodes Sponsor: Freight Farms – https://www.freightfarms.com/ Global Vertical Farming Show – https://verticalfarmingshow.com/ Cultivatd – https://www.cultivatd.com/ What We Covered: 03:41 – Harry welcomes to the show Simon Deacon, who joins the show to discuss his roots growing up in Derby, his entrepreneurial spirit and what inspired him to launch Light Science Technologies 09:55 – Milestone moments in lighting technology 12:54 – Simon recalls some of the projects he worked on during his time at UK Circuits and Electronics Solutions 18:07 – Defining what it means to truly be ‘organic’ 20:33 – The inspiration to launch Light Science and growing more for less 27:03 – Why sustainability is so vital now more than ever 30:49 – How Light Science is differentiating themselves from their competitors 34:30 – Supply chain issues 37:31 – What’s next for Light Science 40:32 – A tough question Simon had to ask himself recently 45:50 – Harry thanks Simon for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Light Science Technologies and connect with Simon Tweetable Quotes: “People talk about recipe of light to grow plants, which is obviously extremely important because there’s lots of different species of plants around. But generally there’s about a thousand that we might consume as humans to eat.” (15:39) (Simon) “I think we’re more conscious now of what we’re eating, where it comes from and how far it’s travelled to get to your plate. I think we abandoned quite some time ago that idea of being happy just to go to the supermarket and buy the produce without knowing where it comes from.” (18:48) (Simon) “One of our lines is, ‘Grow more for less.’ And that’s what we’re trying to do: grow more for less locally using our technology.” (23:14) (Simon) “When we talk to our customers and the general public, the most important thing to them is food security. And then the second thing is sustainability. So, where is it coming from, how far has it travelled, has it been in an aircraft and why has it been in an aircraft to get to us. So, we thought that we would make a range of products to suit 2021.” (29:20) (Simon) “A lot of our competitors were selling the lighting product. Others are just doing lab work. Others are just doing sensory work. We’ve got all of those, under one roof, where we manufacture our product, we design our own product, but we create that long-term partnership with you. We’re there for the next twenty, thirty, forty years of being in that partnership with you. And that’s what really makes us stand out from all our competitors is the uniqueness of our products and being reusable and recyclable.” (33:51) (Simon) “The sensor technology comes out in the first half of next year where we started to use that AI data, which really, I think, is the key to our growing success.” (40:02) (Simon) Links Mentioned: Simon’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-deacon-6a7b3440/ Light Science Technologies’ Website – https://lightsciencetech.com/ Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website – https://www.cultivatd.com/ Cultivatd Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cult_ivatd/ Cultivatd’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/cultivatd Cultivatd’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cultivatd/ 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production & Marketing by FullCastSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
56 minutes | Dec 17, 2021
S4E45: s4e45 - Matt Ryan CEO of Soli Organic on Identifying a Clear Vision & Fulfilling a Vision
Episode Summary: Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Matt Ryan, CEO of Soli Organic. Formerly known as Shenandoah Growers, a name inspired by their start in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Soli Organic is a controlled environment agriculture company that grows exceptional organic produce, at an affordable price, nationwide. Today, Harry and Matt do a deep dive into Matt’s incredible business background, from working at Disney and Starbucks to eventually pursuing an exciting opportunity at Soli Organic. Matt talks about the high growth in the indoor agriculture sector, what Soli Organic is doing to differentiate themselves in this market and the importance of fulfilling the vision of a brand. Episodes Sponsor: Freight Farms – https://www.freightfarms.com/ Global Vertical Farming Show – https://verticalfarmingshow.com/ Cultivatd – https://www.cultivatd.com/ What We Covered: 03:41 – Harry welcomes to the show Matt Ryan, who joins the show to discuss his experience as a business leader going through Covid-19, what he learned from his time at Disney and Starbucks and the journey that brought him to Soli Organic 13:02 – Understanding markets and fulfilling the vision of a brand 19:27 – Matt’s vertical farming origin story and his first 90 days as CEO 29:49 – Matt explains how Soli Organic is differentiating themselves in the world of controlled agriculture 35:03 – From Shenandoah Growers to Soli Organic 42:32 – A tough question Matt has had to ask himself recently and how he thinks about expansion and growing Soli Organic 47:22 – Mentors who have inspired Matt along his journey and something that Matt has changed his mind about recently 50:36 – Harry thanks Matt for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Soli Organic and connect with Matt Tweetable Quotes: “There’s no such thing as a simple business I learned. And certainly that’s true at soli Organic as well. There’s complexity everywhere and understanding the nuances of business is really important. But, if you don’t understand what the consumer and the customer want, you’ll never get anywhere.” (12:27) (Matt) “I also knew, way back when, as soon as I started doing advertising that I felt like I understood markets. And I think that understanding markets is what business is all about.” (14:52) (Matt) “I’m starting to feel like I’m in that sweet spot where I have all of the perspective of somebody who’s joined from the outside who sees the opportunities, who sees the challenges, who knows the world from a different angle, plus real understanding of what the business is like and how it operates and how the technology and the science work and the people at the company and everything else.” (27:49) (Matt) “The problem with developing brands and marketing in a business like produce is you can’t have a brand if you don’t have consistency. And the way you get consistency is by having a standardized product. And the only way you can get a standardized product in agriculture is to grow stuff indoors.” (39:24) (Matt) Links Mentioned: Matt’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattryancmo/ Soli Organic’s Website – https://www.soliorganic.com/ Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website – https://www.cultivatd.com/ Cultivatd Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cult_ivatd/ Cultivatd’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/cultivatd Cultivatd’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cultivatd/ 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production & Marketing by FullCastSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
55 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
S4E44: s4e44 - Aja Atwood - Plant-Training Robotics
Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Aja Atwood. Aja is the co-founder and CEO of Trella Technologies, an organization that provides technical, innovative solutions to make indoor and urban farming a sustainable, long-lasting industry. Today, Harry and Aja talk about the amazing technologies they’re developing at Trella, including automated plant-training robotics. Aja shares her entrepreneurial origin story which started with her natural curiosity and analytical mind and led her to building a company that aiming to change the vertical farming industry. She discusses the incredible work they’re doing with Trella’s partnership with Jean Charles Academy and speaks to the importance of fostering diversity in the workplace. Finally, Aja talks about what’s next for Trella and what excites her about the future of AgTech. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATDFreight Farms Key Takeaways 03:41 – Harry welcomes to the show Aja Atwood, who joins the show to discuss her company, Trella, and her vertical farming origin story 11:00 – A curious and analytical mind 13:15 – Aja’s podcast origin story 18:39 – Partnering with Jean Charles Academy 25:33 – The Trella Story and the idea to grow plants horizontally 32:22 – No More Mondays: the decision to pursue entrepreneurship 35:35 – Biggest lessons Aja learned throughout her career 38:57 – Aja speaks to the market response to Trella 41:38 – What excites Aja most about the future of Trella and vertical farming 43:42 – Aja talks about some of the successful partnerships they’ve developed at Trella and some of the AgTech conferences she’s attended 46:55 – Aja comments on the lack of diversity in the AgTech industry 50:48 – A tough question Aja has had to ask herself recently 52:38 – Harry thanks Aja for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Trella and connect with Aja Tweetable Quotes “This is the time if you’re curious or you like to try new things. The world is open for you right now.” (13:07) (Aja) “What’s interesting is there are some youths and some children that already know the importance of growing their own food.” (21:10) (Aja) “So, we got into what’s called ‘low-stress’ plant-training. We were trying to figure out how to do that with robotics and not having to rely on that manual operation so much. What we came up with is a system that will automatically train a plant to grow horizontally. Essentially what it does is trick the top of the plant by light with no chemical violation of the plant.” (26:18) (Aja) “I want to be a good leader. I want to create a company where people are thrilled and excited to come to work; they feel like they’re a part of something. I’m trying to create something that I never had. And, that’s what fuels me today.” (34:43) (Aja) “I feel like my entire adult life has been working with people who don’t look like me, and the vertical farming indoor farming industry is no different.” (47:23) (Aja) Links Mentioned Aja’s LinkedIn Trella Website Aja’s Podcast Aja’s Website Trella’s YouTube Trella’s Instagram Link to Jean Charles Academy Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s FacebookFreight Farms Website Freight Farms Facebook Freight Farms Twitter 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
54 minutes | Oct 29, 2021
S4E43: s4e43 - Samantha Johnson - Nudging Students into an Aquaponics Tank
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Samantha Johnson. Samantha is the Director of Aquaponics Programs at Commonwealth Charter Academy, a top accredited K through 12 public cyber charter school located in Pennsylvania. Samantha is a highly skilled and student-focused leader who possesses a strong commitment to the development of students and staff through differentiated, innovative and individualized learning experiences Today, Harry and Samantha talk about the work she is doing educating young men and women on the AgTech industry, specifically through the aquaponics program at CCA. She talks about the partnerships CCA has with AeroFarms and Vertical Harvest and the goals they are striving to achieve together. Samantha also speaks to the importance she places on preparing her students for the professional world and the challenges they are likely to face in the vertical farming space. Finally, Samantha discusses what continues to motivate and drive her throughout her teaching and vertical farming journey. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATDFreight Farms Key Takeaways 01:13 – Harry welcomes to the show Samantha Johnson, who joins the show to discuss her background in education and the challenges COVID-19 has brought to her profession 10:36 – Commonwealth Charter Academy 12:23 – Samantha’s vertical farming origin story 18:07 – Partnering with AeroFarms and Vertical Harvest 19:40 – Student feedback on the Aquaponics Program 26:49 – Learning through mistakes 31:23 – Changes and trends Samantha has noticed in the vertical farming industry 35:48 – Companies and organizations Samantha would like to partner with in the future 39:51 – Challenges in AgTech and education 46:39 – Something Samantha has changed her mind about recently 48:49 – What motivates and drives Samantha 51:59 – Harry thanks Samantha for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about CCA and connect with Samantha Tweetable Quotes “Commonwealth Charter Academy is a public cyber charter school located in Pennsylvania. We have numerous building across the state because, although we’re a cyber school, we very much understand that some learners learn best in person or even in a blended model.” (10:41) (Samantha) “Our school itself is very large. We’re up to about sixteen to seventeen thousand students and our mantra is workforce development. We want students to have skills necessary to either enter the workforce after they graduate. Or, if they want to go to college, we want to help them through that entire process from start to finish.” (11:27) (Samantha) “At the end of the day, I want to give them skills that they can use when they graduate. And there are some basic ones that everyone needs to know. You have to show up on time. You have to show up appropriately dressed. Those kind of very basic skills.” (25:07) (Samantha) “I feel like the vertical farming industry changes a mile a minute.” (31:31) (Samantha) “For us it’s more how do we make sure that we meet the needs of all of our students, and on top of that we work with community members too.” (46:11) (Samantha) Links Mentioned Samantha’s LinkedIn Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s FacebookFreight Farms Website Freight Farms Facebook Freight Farms Twitter 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
54 minutes | Oct 16, 2021
S4E42: s4e42 - Rosario Iacono - What a Tomato Should Be
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Rosario Iacono. Rosario is the Founder of Kasveista, a concept stage startup aiming to produce open-source seeds and seedlings for vertical farming. Their goal is to help modern vertical farms expand their range of products by providing seeds and seedlings of tomato of varieties specifically selected for vertical farming. Today, Harry and Rosario talk about the incredible work Rosario is doing at Kasveista and why he chose to focus on the tomatoes as his first crop. Rosario talks about the incredibly vast varieties of tomatoes and shares tips for those who want to grow tomatoes at home. They explain the open source model and why it’s critical to Rosario’s business. Finally, Rosario talks about what’s next for Kasveista, what excites him about the future and how we can educate the masses on vertical farming. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATDFreight Farms Key Takeaways 05:02 – Harry welcomes to the show Rosario Iacono, who joins the show to discuss his company, Kasveista, and his vertical farming origin story 11:13 – The incredible vast variety of tomatoes 16:18 – Tips for people growing tomatoes at home 17:01 – What Rosario has discovered about tomatoes throughout the years 20:54 – Intensive research and experimentation in vertical farming 28:24 – Rosario’s team at Kasveista 31:59 – The Open Source Model explained and why it is so critical 39:44 – Surprises and challenges from Rosario’s vertical farming journey 44:27 – What’s next for Kasveista 47:54 – Something Rosario has changed his mind about recently 51:52 – Harry thanks Rosario for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Kasveista and connect with Rosario Tweetable Quotes “I was getting tomatoes from Sicily in London. But there is no compromise. You either make a tomato that can travel for sixteen hour on a truck, or you make a tasty tomato.” (09:42) (Rosario “What I learned is you can influence a lot of the taste and you can change a lot by the techniques you use to grow the tomatoes.” (17:47) (Rosario) “I try to not think about what a tomato is. I try to think in terms of what a tomato should be now and redraw it from scratch.” (19:01) (Rosario) “Everyone should have access to food. And access to food is access to seeds.” (34:39) (Rosario) “Assuming we can get the funding, I have many ideas that I would like to see happening. First of all, expanding to more and more crops that can be grown in vertical farming. I see the world asking for it.” (44:42) (Rosario) “I think where the education could really start is at school. I think children are really the key to make vertical farming cool. Because through children, you educate their parents.” (49:36) (Rosario) Links Mentioned Rosario’s LinkedIn Kasveista Website Kasveista Instagram Kasveista Facebook Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s FacebookFreight Farms Website Freight Farms Facebook Freight Farms Twitter 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
57 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
S4E41: s4e41 - Craig Hurlbert - Going Slow To Go Fast
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, co- founder & co-CEO at Local Bounti, Craig Hurlbert. Local Bounti is an organization that strives to deliver the freshest, locally grown produce in your neighborhood. Local Bounti sustainably grows fresh greens and herbs 365 days a year in their greenhouses, using 90% less water and 90% less land than conventional agriculture. Today, Harry and Craig talk about Craig’s extensive background in energy, from his time at General Electric (GE) to the origins of Local Bounti. Craig discusses the recent extreme weather and climate and how it has impacted the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry. Craig shares his views on leadership and why he chooses to lead through a centralized vision and goal. Finally, Craig speaks to the work Local Bounti is doing to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and why he’s rooting for all of his competitors in the CEA industry. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATDFreight Farms Key Takeaways 01:14 – Harry welcomes to the show Craig Hurlbert, who joins the show to discuss his background in energy and the challenges we’re facing with the recent extreme weather and climate 10:12 – Mentors that shaped Craig’s career trajectory 14:45 – How Craig met his fellow co-founder, Travis Joyner and how their partnership has evolved 18:21 – Leading through foresight and vision 19:34 – Local Bounti’s origin story 25:10 – Key factors in scaling a business 28:53 – Working remotely vs. working in the office 32:12 – Lessons Craig learned throughout his journey at Local Bounti 35:52 – Supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 40:20 – Multiple winners in the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry 46:12 – Never too high, never too low 47:33 – Something Craig has changed his mind about recently 50:42 – Harry thanks Craig for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Local Bounti and connect with Craig Tweetable Quotes “Our desire to move more rapidly into renewable energy has cut out a bunch of what I would call ‘reliable 24/7/365 power supplies’ that are less renewable but more reliable. And that has created some challenges for the different grid systems across the United States.” (05:40) (Craig) “I think when you approach every room you walk into in this manner – park your ego at the door, walk in, roll up your sleeves, we’re all peers, let’s move things forward – I think things work better.” (18:03) (Craig) “Without unit economics, you don’t have a business.” (21:56) (Craig) “I don’t like people who dabble. I don’t like dabbling. I think dabbling is the enemy of progress.” (24:45) (Craig) “It’s important for the listeners to hear, as well, that there will be multiple winners in the CEA space. It’s not Local Bounti or nothing. We’re rooting for all of our competitors and really rooting for the while industry.” (40:20) (Craig) Links Mentioned Craig’s LinkedIn Local Bounti Website Local Bounti LinkedIn Local Bounti YouTube Channel Local Bounti Facebook Local Bounti Pinterest Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
58 minutes | Sep 10, 2021
S4E40: s4e40 - Shannon O'Malley - Creating Your Neighborhood Farm
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, co- founder & CEO at Brick Street Farms, Shannon O’Malley. Brick Street Farms is a hydroponic, indoor city farm that grows leafy greens year-round in technology based, climate controlled environments. Their mission is to grow the most nutritious produce at the heart of consumption. Today, Harry and Shannon talk about how Shannon became an ‘accidental co-founder’ within the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry. Shannon discusses the key differentiating factor of Brick Street Farms and shares some of the amazing work they are doing to educate society on this growing segment. Harry and Shannon talk about the recent extreme weather, most notably the deep freeze in Texas, and how more of these climactic events are impacting how our food is grown, harvested and delivered to us. Finally, Shannon speaks to the initiatives Brick Street Farms is involved with, including combatting food deserts. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 02:58 – Harry welcomes to the show Shannon O’Malley, who joins the show to discuss her engineering background and her passion for building and creating 13:39 – An accidental co-founder 17:18 – Extreme weather and vertical farming 21:11 – Brick Street Farms’ origin story and a key differentiating factor about them 25:51 – An amazing reaction from the community 27:32 – Educating the masses on career opportunities within the vertical farming industry 32:30 – Challenges that the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry faces, including contamination 35:57 – Taking on a leadership role at Brick Street Farms and facing new challenges such as COVID-19 41:59 – Connecting with other CEA companies 44:08 – What’s next for Brick Street Farms as the grow and expand their team and organization 51:09 – Harry thanks Shannon for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Brick Street Farms and connect with Shannon Tweetable Quotes “I definitely think my passion for science and engineering laid the foundation for me today to at least have the curiosity to try.” (13:08) (Shannon) “A key differentiating factor for Brick Street Farms is that our focus is wholesale hospitality and direct-to-consumer and not mass distribution through grocery stores or food supply companies.” (22:29) (Shannon) “We would not have been able to get where we are today if we didn’t have the amazing reaction and support of our community.” (26:25) (Shannon) “We like to use a phrase called, ‘Advanced Simplicity.’ We build our machines so that anyone can operate them because you have to be able to build this labor force and this workforce. And we get folks from all walks of life, former delivery drivers and warehouse workers to plumbers to science students. And so we want people to be able to come in and be effective right away.” (30:58) (Shannon) “Brick Street Farms is only as successful as we build our Thrive Containers. And Thrive Containers is our manufacturing brand. Brick Street Farms can only be as successful as good of a machine that we build. So, we work to build a machine with highest ROI with the lowest inputs.” (43:00) (Shannon) “We’re focused on expanding our brand, our marketing, our consumer outreach and governmental affairs.” (46:03) (Shannon) Links Mentioned Shannon’s LinkedIn Brick Street Farms Website Brick Street Farms Twitter Brick Street Farms Instagram Brick Street Farms Facebook Thrive Containers Website Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
42 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
S3E39: s3e39 - Austin Webb - Transforming Modern Agriculture
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, CEO and co-founder of Fifth Season, Austin Webb. Fifth Season is a consumer tech company and indoor farming pioneer with Carnegie Mellon University roots that is creating a new era of fresh foods. Its commercial-scale indoor vertical farms use proprietary robotics, AI, and smart operations technology to grow leafy greens and herbs at affordable prices year-round. Today, Harry and Austin talk about the origin story of Fifth Season, the relationship he has with the city of Braddock and how Austin initially got involved in vertical farming. Austin expounds on the concepts of smart manufacturing and pest pressure and speaks to the learning curve he’s experienced as a first-time CEO. Finally, Austin speaks to the mission of Fifth Season and what excites him most about his future endeavors. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 03:14 – Harry welcomes to the show Austin Webb, who trends he’s noticed post-pandemic, his relationship with Carnegie Mellon University and the origin story of Fifth Season 08:53 – Austin speaks to when he first got involved in vertical farming 11:50 – How Fifth Season is applying robotics to the vertical farming industry 16:27 – Austin reflects on some of the memorable challenges and obstacles Fifth Season overcame throughout its journey 20:18 – Austin talks about Fifth Season’s accomplishment of achieving a 100% Food Safety Audit ranking 25:32 – Austin explains what ‘pest pressure’ means 28:21 – Austin talks about the relationship Fifth Season has with the city of Braddock and the impact they have had on the community 34:44 – Austin speaks to the learning curve he’s experienced as a first-time CEO 37:41 – A tough question Austin has had to ask himself recently 38:07 – Harry thanks Austin for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Fifth Season and connect with Austin Tweetable Quotes “We wanted to create this whole new platform to really change the way we think about vertical farming, to therefore make it an economic reality today instead of just a pipe dream for the future.” (08:43) (Austin) “We don’t really consider ourselves a vertical farming company. We’re a new food system pioneer that’s creating a whole new era of fresh foods and we started that journey with vertical farming.” (19:18) (Austin) “The first Carnegie Library was in Braddock. So when you think of how we’re changing the way that we think about growing food and then creating this whole new consumer experience around changing the definition of what fresh food should taste like and making it fun again. And then creating this joy and delight around eating healthy because again you’re just creating this whole new category of fresh food and making it more ubiquitous and making it easier to eat healthier.” (29:37) (Austin) “It [the CEO role] is just a very hard job. And, you just think about your team, your key responsibilities that are both internal and external, and you just have to learn to manage the time. And decision making has to be at the forefront because you don’t help your team if you’ve gotten yourself into a position of decision fatigue.” (35:51) (Austin) Links Mentioned Austin’s LinkedIn Fifth Season Fresh Website Fifth Season LinkedIn Fifth Season Twitter Fifth Season Instagram Fifth Season Facebook Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
52 minutes | Jul 10, 2021
S3E38: s3e38 - Marc Oshima - Business as a Force for Good: Indoor Farming
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at AeroFarms, Marc Oshima. AeroFarms is an award-winning indoor farming company that is on a bold mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. Today, Harry and Marc talk about Marc’s background in marketing and how it has impacted his work at AeroFarms. Marc provides his thoughts on the concept of ‘speed breeding,’ speaks to his passion for food and expounds on the concept of utilizing business as a force for good Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 02:37 – Harry welcomes to the show Marc Oshima, who discusses the impact COVID-19 has had on his business, his background in marketing and the power of telling the story behind the food 08:23 – Marc talks about the value of AeroFarms being a Certified B Corporation 11:51 – Marc explains the concept of ‘speed breeding’ and how he got involved in marketing and food 17:22 – Marc reflects on the work he did at Toys R’ Us 20:54 – Marc expounds on the vision and mission of AeroFarms and the importance of food literacy 27:30 – Marc talks about the journey of AeroFarms and potential future expansions 29:06 – Marc speaks to the experience of AeroFarms going public 32:23 – Marketing trends Marc has noticed throughout his career and the impact of social media marketing 35:43 – Where Marc sees companies get it wrong in their approach to customer relations 37:48 – Marc speaks to some of the initiatives AeroFarms prioritizes 43:49 – A tough question Marc has had to ask himself recently 46:22 – Harry thanks Marc for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about AeroFarms and connect with Marc Tweetable Quotes “This idea that business can be a force for good expands beyond just the world of agriculture. This is about other verticals and we’re hoping that we can be an inspiration and a catalyst for other companies as well.” (09:04) (Marc) “Thinking about key genetic traits plus the rapid growing process, that’s really leading to this rapid cultivation, this speed breeding. This is what we think about as the next generation of the indoor farming opportunities that we continue to unlock.” (12:15) (Marc) “For us, what we’re doing and have been doing in the category of leafy greens is we’re creating different flavor experiences.” (20:54) (Marc) “We’ve been very specific about how to build our brand. And I think that’s a very important part of the equation today without question. And part of that is the journey with the consumer hand-in-hand and how do we collectively get them to be our brand advocates and brand ambassadors.” (33:30) (Marc) Links Mentioned Marc’s LinkedIn AeroFarms Website AeroFarms Twitter AeroFarms Instagram AeroFarms Facebook Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
6 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
S3E1: Season 3, Bonus 1 – Harry Duran
Episode Summary Harry takes a moment to thank the listeners and provide updates on the remaining Season 3 episodes. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATDIndoor A-Con - save $100 w/ promo code VFPOD2021 Links Mentioned VFP Chat Room Weekly Newsletter Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
66 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
S3E37: s3e37 - Thomas Oberlin - Micro Greens: A Gateway Vegetable
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, co-founder at Fazenda Urbana, Thomas Oberlin. Fazenda Urbana is the producer of the MightyGreens brand of vegan microgreens and mushrooms. Today, Harry and Thomas talk about the origin story of Fazenda Urbana and how Thomas became involved in controlled environment agriculture. Thomas provides his thoughts on the evolution of entrepreneurship and why that spirit is so prominent in Brazillian culture. Finally, Thomas speaks to what excites him about the future of micro greens, the Mighty Greens brand and the AgTech industry as a whole. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 02:37 – Harry welcomes to the show Thomas Oberlin, who shares the story of how heended up living in Brazil and how he got involved in controlled-environment agriculture 11:33 – Thomas speaks to how shocked he was to learn about food deserts in many wealthy countries 13:49 – Thomas reflects on the origin story of Fazenda Urbana 18:00 – The initial response Thomas and his team received after launching their micro greens 24:43 – Thomas explains why he approached chefs and restaurants first and foremost 28:28 – Thomas speaks to the evolution of the entrepreneur movement 34:27 – The relationship between Fazenda Urbana and the Mighty Greens brand and how Thomas and his company got involved in mushrooms 53:31 – Thomas explains the difference between fogponics, hydroponics and aeroponics 56:19 – What excites Thomas the most about the future of micro greens and the vertical farming industry 1:01:21 – Harry thanks Thomas for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Fazenda Urbana and connect with Thomas Tweetable Quotes “The reality is I grew up on a farm. Rodrigo’s a vegetarian. But beyond that, we didn’t have any touch with agriculture.” (15:32) “And so, our restaurant business grew literally by going door-to door in the start. And then combined with word of mouth from one well-known chef and then another well- known chef.” (26:09) “I think entrepreneurship is very strong here. Brazilians always have this spirit of figuring out a way to do something.” (28:44) “The best thing that happened to us when we started is that we didn’t raise a whole lot of money. It forced us to be extraordinarily disciplined in what we’re doing. We just learned so much. In two and a half years we cut our labor cost per unit by seventy-five percent through mechanization and processes. And I’m not sure if that would have happened much faster with a lot of money in our pocket.” (31:51) “I believe that we can create micro greens as the gateway vegetable for kids.” (46:52) Links Mentioned Thomas’ LinkedIn Fazenda Urbana Website Mighty Greens Instagram Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
60 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
S3E36: s3e36 - David Cohen - LED Innovation and Helping the World Grow Smarter
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, CEO at Fluence, David Cohen. Fluence is a horticultural lighting company owned by OSRAM. They explore physiological plant development under various levels of photosynthetically active radiation and custom spectra compositions. Today, Harry and David talk about David’s eclectic background in the LED lighting industry and the circuitous route that led him to Fluence. David reflects on the learning curve he experienced transitioning into his role as CEO of Fluence, highlights from his earlier career and best practices for scaling quickly in the fast-paced industry of vertical farming. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 02:37 – Harry welcomes to the show David Cohen, who talks about his fervor for health and wellness, what leadership means to him and mentors who have impacted him 16:52 – David recalls highlights and lessons he learned during his time at Fraen 23:42 – David talks about how he got involved in the controlled environment agriculture market and the circuitous route that brought him to Fluence 28:45 – David reflects on the learning curve he experienced moving into his role at Fluence 37:02 – David provides best practices for scaling extremely quickly 42:25 – David discusses the pivoting he and his organization needed to do in the midst of the global pandemic 43:31 – David describes the current offerings that Fluence offers 47:51 – David talks about where he’s seeing the most innovation in the LED industry 51:04 – A tough question David has had to ask himself recently 55:23 – Harry thanks David for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Fluence and connect with David Tweetable Quotes “Over all the different jobs I’ve had that you do your best to keep customers happy, but it’s not always gonna work out. There are times when customers are just going to be furious. That’s a great opportunity to get closer to a customer. Don’t be afraid of negativity and don’t be afraid of aggression. Absorb it and do something with it rather than let it intimidate you.” (14:24) “Failure is part of success as far as I view it. There’s no such thing as perfection.” (16:46) “Scaling is scaling. When you want to go from slow to fast, from small to big, from Texas to Canada to Europe to Asia, you need to follow the same footprint. And I’m lucky my experiences were really well suited to help [Fluence] do what it wanted to do.” (27:42) “I think that the capital to effect this type of change globally is available, but you need really great people to step in and say ‘I’m gonna take a chance here. I wanna do something that’s right. I don’t know if it’ll be successful or not, but we’re gonna go do it anyway.’” (32:55) “What we’re [Fluence] trying to do is make sure that we base everything that we do on research and science. We want to be able to go to growers and say, ‘Either talk to our customers or talk to our Research partners.’” (45:51) “In an industry and a market like this, I think that if you’re not prepared to pivot, to be flexible and to adapt to what’s happening, you’re gonna have a tough time.” (51:49) Links Mentioned David’s LinkedIn Fluence Website Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
56 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
S3E35: s3e35- Hiroki Koga - Vertical Farming at Commercial Scale
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, co-founder and CEO at Oishii, Hiroki Koga. Oishii grows the best fruit in the world by deploying ground-breaking vertical farming technology that pushes the boundaries of agriculture. Today, Harry and Hiroki talk about the origin story of Oishii and how they became the first in the world to grow fruit in an indoor vertical farm at commercial scale. Hiroki reflects on lessons he’s learned throughout his entrepreneurial journey, speaks to those who have influenced and inspired him and expounds on the importance he places on living up to the quality and standards of the Oishii brand. Finally, Hiroki shares his excitement for future expansion of his business and what excites him the most about the future of Oishii. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 02:45 – Harry welcomes to the show Hiroki Koga, who talks about his experience living in Europe as a child, the decision to go into consulting and finding his passion 07:52 – Hiroki recalls the culture shock he encountered the first time he came to the U.S. 09:36 – Hiroki’s vertical farming origin story 15:41 – Hiroki speaks to what inspired him to launch Oishii 23:24 – Hiroki expounds on why he embraces tough challenges 25:12 – Harry and Hiroki talk about some of the more popular brands of fruit in Japan 28:00 – When Hiroki realized there was an opportunity in the vertical farming industry 32:36 – Hiroki recalls some of the early days of Oishii and what his marketing strategy was 38:19 – Hiroki describes the Omakase Berry to the audience and shares his plans for growth 43:03 – Hiroki reflects on lessons and takeaways from his journey thus far 45:41 – Who Hiroki looks to for inspiration and a tough question Hiroki has had to ask himself recently 50:52 – Harry thanks Hiroki for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Oishii and connect with Hiroki Tweetable Quotes “I was always trying to look for what my passion in life was. And I kinda struggled to find what I was truly passionate about when I graduated from college. And I went into consulting to try to find my passion.” (05:29) “When we think about ten or twenty years out, who’s going to succeed in the leafy green space is the company who can raise the most amount of money and who can produce a head of lettuce one cent cheaper than their competitors.” (17:11) “And that’s really when I started thinking that maybe if I started with a different crop that can overcome all of these hurdles that the leafy green companies have faced, maybe there’s a viable business model, a company, an interesting business model that’s not just about being a cent cheaper than competitors but something more exciting.” (19:11) “I think [Japan] has a very interesting culture when it comes to fruits. Instead of gifting wines, people will gift fruits.” (27:08) “I think the most important thing for us was not the early revenue, but making sure that we lived up to the quality and standards of the brand that we wanted to build.” (35:46) “The only thing that I have confidence in is my passion for this industry and my xperience in this industry and my knowledge and how I think this industry is going to trend. That’s my strength.” (47:22) Links Mentioned Hiroki’s LinkedIn Oishii Website Oishii Instagram Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
55 minutes | May 21, 2021
S3E34: s3e34- Charlie Guy - Simple, Efficient and Sustainable Growing
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of LettUs Grow, Charlie Guy. LettUs Grow brings affordable food growing to the modern city through their patent-pending aeroponics technology. With a background in renewable energy consultancy and engineering design, Charlie is a proponent of tech for good and is passionate about all manners of sustainability. In this episode, Harry and Charlie discuss the work Charlie is doing at LettUs Grow to connect greenhouses with vertical farms. They talk about some of the benefits of aeroponics and technological advances that have been made in recent years. Finally, Charlie speaks to the connection between our food systems and our energy grids and shares what he’s most excited about for the future of LettUs Grow and the overall AgTech industry. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 02:37 – Harry welcomes to the show Charlie Guy, CEO and co-founder of LettUs Grow, who talks about the personal and professional impact of Covid-19 and what inspired him to get involved in vertical farming 09:49 – How Charlie shares the origin story of LettUs Grow and their current offerings 13:03 – Charlie expounds on their Drop & Grow platform and opportunities for growth 19:50 – Charlie talks about the work he’s doing to connect greenhouses with vertical farms 23:24 – Charlie explains the various benefits of aeroponics and speaks to the advances in aeroponics technology 27:50 – Changing trends Charlie has noticed in the vertical farming industry 31:47 – Charlie discusses the connection between food and energy grids 36:01 – What excites Charlie the most about opportunities for innovation in vertical farming and at LettUs Grow 44:35 – Challenges Charlie has faced and lessons he’s learned as a leader at LettUs Grow 45:55 – Charlie opens up about what community means to him and a tough question he’s recently had to ask himself 50:31 – Harry thanks Charlie for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about LettUs Grow and connect with Charlie Tweetable Quotes “My background is in sustainable systems thinking and renewable energy. And just taking a look at the potential innovation in food was really exciting for me because there’s a whole raft of areas of innovation we could bring to the industry.” (11:29) “We take a very open approach to working in academia. We take an open approach to try to push the boundaries of the industry and move things forward for everyone.” (19:40) “For me, there’s a big disconnect between our food systems and our energy systems. Be that electrical energy or energy that goes into transporting produce around the world or the actual food item. I think if we want to address the big problems that we need to in climate and environmental issues then we need to start looking at food and energy in a more joined up way.” (32:09) “We’ve seen some of the recent large investments into greenhouses and you can’t deny that’s linked to the growth of the vertical farming industry. And both the learnings from those that have been growing greenhouses for a long time and the trickle down technologies that can come from vertical farming into that space are really exciting.” (41:37) “Community is that sense of collective belonging and collective connection. That connection with people and what that brings and enriches your life with.” (46:09) Links Mentioned Charlie’s LinkedIn LettUs Grow Website Link to Charlie’s Blog Post on Energy Grids Link to UK Urban AgTech Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
49 minutes | May 8, 2021
S3E33: s3e33 - Dave Dinesen - Localized Growing: If Not Now, When
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show serial entrepreneur, Dave Dinesen. Dave is the CEO of CubicFarm Systems, a local chain agtech company that provides unique automated onsite commercial-scale food and livestock feed technologies. Dave is committed to applying technology to address global challenges like food security and climate change. In this episode, Harry and Dave discuss the impact the pandemic has had on the vertical farming industry, why Dave places such a high value on equity in the workplace and the critical tipping point we’ve arrived at for the future of our food supply. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 02:37 – Harry welcomes to the show Dave Dinesen, CEO of CubicFarm Systems Netled, who talks about the effects of the global pandemic and how the vertical farming industry has evolved throughout the years 06:33 – What inspired Dave to launch CubicFarms Systems and early stages of the company 09:53 – Dave talks about why he believes so many are leaving their fields to work in AgTech 13:31 – Dave discusses his strong belief in equity, treating his employees the best he possibly can and where this vision originated from 21:40 – Dave speaks to the evolution of CubicFarms Systems’ offerings, current offerings and the markets they serve 29:53 – Dave talks about CubicFarms Systems winning the Dairy Farmers for Nexus Innovation Award 31:22 – What excites Dave the most about the future of vertical farming 33:33 – Positive trends Dave hopes to continue post-pandemic world 35:46 – Challenges and opportunities that CubicFarms faces in the near future 36:48 – A tough question Dave has had to ask himself recently 37:54 – Dave provides best practices for leadership and who he looks to for inspiration 41:08 – What Dave does to unwind at the end of the workday and what’s something Dave has changed his mind about recently 43:22 – What has Dave excited about the future of CubicFarms Systems 45:25 – Harry thanks Dave for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about CubicFarms Systems and connect with Dave Tweetable Quotes “We are looking for people that get really, really jazzed by what we are doing. So, literally the mission and vision of our company that share our values that know that something has to change. And it’s going to take a collection of entrepreneurial, visionary, courageous people to come into work every day and create this industry.” (10:29) “Yes you want to invest in a company that’s helping to feed the planet, localize food production, save water and reduce greenhouse gases. And at the same time, treat the people doing the work as well as you possibly can.” (15:38) “If our company succeeds, all of our employees succeed. If our company fails, it’s gonna be partly everybody’s fault. And I think when you’ve got skin in the game, you’re just gonna make sure it doesn’t fail.” (20:16) “If you just talked about the greenhouse gas issue, HydroGreen significantly decreases greenhouse gases.” (30:45) “I’m hoping that when the pandemic sort of ends that a lot of this doesn’t change. We still need to meet people and share a meal, but there’s a lot that’s good about this as tragic as it’s been.” (33:07) “You’ve gotta have great people who are better at what they do than you are and you’ve gotta have that great, trusting relationship. And know that you’re not gonna have a blind spot. There’s that saying, ‘Nobody’s perfect, but a team can be.’ And I just so subscribe to that.” (39:39) Links Mentioned Dave’s LinkedIn CubicFarm Systems Website Dave’s Band Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
60 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
S3E32: s3e32 Nona Yehia & Caroline Croft Estay - Empowering the Underserved
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show co-founders of Vertical Harvest, Nona Yehia and Caroline Croft Estay. An architect and entrepreneur, Nona conceptualized and built Vertical Harvest, the first vertical hydroponic greenhouse in the world. Combining her expertise in behavioral health and experience in training and case management, Caroline crafted and implemented the innovative “Grow Well” employee model at Vertical Harvest. In today’s episode, Harry, Nona and Caroline discuss the inspirational work they are doing to bring architectural, economic, and social innovation to communities nationwide. Their mission is to bring meaningful employment to underserved populations and educate communities on how good jobs help differently abled individuals to thrive. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 03:05 – Harry welcomes to the show, Nona Yehia and Caroline Croft Estay, who share the story of how they met and the work they’re doing at Vertical Harvest 09:27 – The origin story of Vertical Harvest 15:39 – Caroline talks about her vision for diversity and inclusion at Vertical Harvest 19:22 – How Nona and Caroline became ‘unexpected farmers’ 24:07 – Caroline talks about the ‘Grow Well’ model they’ve developed at Vertical Harvest 28:02 – Caroline and Nona reflect on the passion they share for working with those with disabilities 35:44 – Nona talks about a powerful life lesson she learned early on 37:51 – Caroline shares why her father was such an influential person in her life 41:01 – Nona and Caroline talk about the importance of representation in the vertical farming industry 49:43 – What excites Nona and Caroline the most about the future of Vertical Harvest 56:33 – A little known fact about Nona and Caroline 58:34 – Harry thanks Nona and Caroline for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Vertical Harvest and connect with Nona and Caroline Tweetable Quotes “We like to say at Vertical Harvest that necessity is the mother of invention. And it does bring people together to think innovatively, as Caroline has always done, and to come together to really focus on solutions.” (06:17) “When it was just about food, I was like, ‘This is a cool idea. I’m excited to be a part of it.’ But when it was about food and futures, something that is so personal to me and to so many people in our country, it really became a must. It wasn’t an option anymore; we had to follow through on it.” (08:35) “We’re talking about things that aren’t typically talked about in a workplace all the time. And we’re talking about it with an inclusive, integrated workforce, which is even more mind-blowing.” (25:16) “We say, ‘different abilities’ and ‘people with disabilities.’ And I want to explain that. This summer we were really digging into our language and labels and I thought, ‘why am I picking what it is. I’m gonna poll all of our employees with disabilities, which do you prefer being called?’ And it was a fifty-fifty split.” (29:20) “If you take the time, if you slow down, if you pay attention, everybody can teach you something.” (32:14) “What is equity for people, whether it is disabilities or people of color? where are these barriers? They’re everywhere.” (45:41) “What we are doing at Vertical Harvest has the potential to change so many lives, and not in the warm and fuzzy feeling way. It’s a solution for a history of inequities, and no opportunities, and keeping people victimized.” (52:44) Links Mentioned Nona’s LinkedIn Caroline’s LinkedIn Vertical Harvest Website Vertical Harvest Facebook Vertical Harvest Instagram Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
51 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
S3E31: s3e31 Niko Kivioja - High-Tech for Small Vertical Farms
Episode Summary Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show Niko Kivioja. Niko is the CEO of Netled, an organization that designs and builds the high-tech platform for the world's smartest vertical farms. Niko spent the first part of his career in controlled-environment-agriculture as a grower and has spent the last decade in high-tech closed-environment and vertical farming technology development. In this episode, Harry and Niko discuss the Niko’s familial history of entrepreneurship and the inspiration to start Netled. Niko speaks to the proprietary Vera vertical farming platform development that he’s recently been managing, how the global pandemic impacted the food supply chain and what excites him the most about the future of Netled and the vertical farming industry as a whole. Episode Sponsor CULTIVATD Key Takeaways 05:49 – Harry welcomes to the show Niko Kivioja, CEO of Netled, who talks about his educational background and the work he’s doing at Netled 12:59 – Niko speaks to his family’s history of entrepreneurship 16:30 – The inspiration to launch Netled and how vertical farming changed the traditional idea of greenhouses 21:28 – Niko expounds on Vera Instore solutions 24:23 – Companies that expressed early interest in Netled 26:03 – Niko talks about expanding and building their first vertical farm in North America and how the pandemic has impacted his business 30:40 – Netled’s partnership with Vertigo Farms 35:59 – Shifting trends in demand that Niko has noticed 38:04 – Niko speaks to Netled’s growth and his own personal growth as a leader 40:58 – Niko discusses challenges and opportunities for growing his team 44:32 – A difficult question Niko has had to ask himself recently 47:26 – What excites Niko the most about the future of vertical farming 48:54 – Harry thanks Niko for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Netled and connect with Niko Tweetable Quotes “The climate conditions are, of course, quite challenging part is what’s challenging. If you look at the map of where Finland is located, we are the northern-most agricultural country in the world. That means that even though he have mild weather thanks to the gulf stream, still the light conditions are challenging during the winter.” (09:09) “If you come from an entrepreneurial family, it’s really difficult not to go there yourself as well.” (15:17) “I think that the best advantage of closed environment growing and vertical farming is the fact that you can actually control the conditions perfectly.” (20:55) “It has been quite rewarding to actually see that our solutions have pulled through. We’ve learned a lot along the way and we’ve seen how the technology environment has developed, which has allowed us to offer better products.” (38:50) “That leads into this dilemma that there are a lot of companies who start as farmers but then they find out that they have to become technology companies as well in order to get financed.” (45:43) Links Mentioned Niko’s LinkedIn Netled Website Netled Twitter Netled YouTube Channel Netled Facebook Vertigo Farms Website Sponsor Info: Cultivatd Website Cultivatd Instagram Cultivatd’s Twitter Cultivatd’s Facebook 🎙️🎙️🎙️ Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast: https://bit.ly/3sxZ34ySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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