Oishii–the Tesla of vertical farms, plus the Climate Outreach Information Network. A California canal story correction, and it’s all about Footprint.
Oishii–The Tesla Of Vertical Farms, Climate Outreach Information Network, California Canal Story Correction, Footprint
CALIFORNIA SOLAR PANELS OVER CANAL STORY CLARIFICATION
Correction: Last month, we reported on an announcement by state of California to cover a portion of the Turlock Irrigation District’s water canals with solar panels. We reported that covering the canals could save almost 63 billion gallons annually from evaporating. Well, thank you listeners! Several of you “atted” at us about that figure. Seemed inconceivable. So here’s the deal. If all 4,000 miles of California’s irrigation and water transport canals are covered in solar panels, then yes, about 63 billion gallons of water would not evaporate into thin air every year.
Thank you loyal listeners, for listening and keeping us on our toes!
OISHII–THE TESLA OF VERTICAL FARMS
As Fast Company’s Joe Berkowitz recently wrote, “If you’ve heard of the company, Oishii, it’s likely because you’re a top-flight New York City foodie, your Instagram explore page leans heavily toward lacquered comestibles, or you’ve stumbled into any number of internet articles about the company’s Omakase berries.”
But its two co-founders, Hiroki Koga and Brendan Somerville saw something much bigger than growing strawberries with a headline-worthy price tag of $50 for a tray of eight.
Koga, a Japanese native, is not a farmer. Nor is Somerville. They’re a couple of MBA students who had a dream. That dream was to disrupt the fruit industry’s emphasis on quantity over quality. Koga, an acknowledged food snob, upon arrival to American shores, and upon tasting American strawberries, was appalled at their lack of taste. Thankfully, Koga is also an altruist—he wants everybody to enjoy the delicious taste of his home country’s Omakase berries.
The issue is fruits are generally grown only in a few regions of the United States, requiring them to be transported hundreds or thousands of miles to market. So that means fuel. Which means CO2 emissions. And particularly for strawberries, which are particularly delicious to insects, it means pesticides, which means fossil fuels, which means CO2 emissions.
Add to that, everybody wants the fruits they want when they want them, regardless of which season Nature dictates that fruit be grown. That means artificial practices, which means additional water burden, which depletes water tables, which causes biodiversity loss, which contributes to climate change.
This pair of MBAs were conscientious enough to want to avoid all that havoc, so their market disruption? Vertical farming of the Omakase strawberry. As reported by The Climate Daily, vertical farming is the practice of producing food on vertically inclined surfaces. It’s a concept that’s been in effect for almost a century.
And as reported by their website, Oishii “brings technology and nature into harmony – soft rain, mild heat, warm light and buzzing bees.” If anything, the company’s intellectual property advantage is their ability to create a bee matrix, wherein bees live in harmony with robots in a synthetic environment.
Why do Tesla-priced strawberries matter to us? If Oishii can continue to scale, vertical farming will quickly evolve from a mostly leafy greens-dominated environment to include the panoply of fresh produce found in Nature.
Oishii currently has three vertical farms in New York, New Jersey and in Los Angeles.
DEEPER DIVE: Oishii, Fast Company, TheBalanceSMB, TechTalks
GREEN BIOTECH: FOOTPRINT
Working as Intel engineers early in their career, Troy Swope and Yoke Chung made a shocking discovery while testing plastic-wrapped supermarket foods for contamination. “No food was left untouched by plastic chemicals leaching into it,”
Chung says. Every year in the U.S., 150 million tons of single-use plastic are used in consumer goods like disposable cutlery and containers. Along with the harmful health risks, less than 9 percent of this material gets recycled; the rest goes to landfills or is incinerated, releasing toxic fumes into the environment.
As reported in Newsweek, Swope and Chung’s solution: Create plant-based biodegradable, compostable and recyclable alternatives to single-use plastic.
Footprint, founded in 2014, is headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona, USA and employs more than 2,000 people worldwide, including over 90 engineers and scientists and several PhDs. The company touts it’s a leadership team that runs “deep with talent from across industries and companies: Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, consumer packaged goods and packaging companies.”
Footprint’s board includes the former CEOs of McDonalds and Sprouts. Significant because these experts in supermarkets and quick service restaurants are the first environments the company aims to to transform, ridding them of single-use plastics that touch our food, leaching microplastics and residues into our foods and therefore our bodies.
Why does Footprint matter to us? Aside from working to remove plastic contamination from our packaged food products? In 2021, Footprint was named one of the world’s most socially impactful brands as part of the inaugural Laureus Sport for Good Index 2021.
Launched to coincide with COP26, the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland, the Sport for Good Index celebrates 29 global brands that, through collaboration, innovation and creativity, are making significant contributions across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as laid out by the United Nations.
DEEPER DIVE: NewsWeek, FOOTPRINT, Laureus Sport for Good Index
THE CLIMATE OUTREACH INFORMATION NETWORK
As reported by every single media outlet on the planet, the stability and sustainability of our earth and its ecosystem is currently being threatened by the accumulation of centuries of polluting and unsustainable activities of man.
And as reported by The Climate Daily, there’s still hope. That’s the premise of George Marshall’s Climate Outreach Information Network. He calls it COINET, and it provides insightful and compelling articles concerning the environment and the impacts of pollution and also offers useful guides that can help us all live greener lives through recycling and avoiding wastage.
The website also carries climate-related news and innovations to help folks act in a timely and sustainable manner to effectively combat climate change.
There are three broad knowledge resources: Sustainability, Energy and Power, as well as Saving Energy. Under the “Categories” tab, the site surfer can find compelling information on global warming/climate change, Modern Construction and Home & Garden.
Marshall is a 25-year veteran of the climate change space. He’s held senior positions for Greenpeace USA and the Rainforest Foundation. He’s a leading European expert in climate change communications, a lead advisor to the Welsh government, and he’s also author of Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change.
Why does COINET matter to us? There’s still hope for earth and human beings’ ability to flourish on this planet in future generations. We just need to change our ways and become more conscious of our activities and how they affect the planet long term. COINET offers strength, hope and resources for us to get there.
DEEPER DIVE: Amazon, ClimateDenial.org, Climate Outreach Information Network