Podcast #8, Michael Devlin, Agri-Business Adviser to Urban Seed

Published on: July 16, 2016

Filled Under: Entrepreneurs, People Who Actually Know What They're Talking About, Podcasts

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I recently spoke with Michael Devlin, adviser to Urban Seed (www.urbanseedvegas.com)

We covered a variety of topics related to agribusiness and food policy.

Urban Seed’s mission is to become the premier supplier of locally grown, low carbon impact, fruits, vegetables, and micro greens in the local market using proprietary and innovative technology & processes with modular, easily expandable structures which provide opportunities for unlimited growth. Their philosophy is to prioritize the “Made in the USA” concept.  Their proprietary modular system provides superior quality and larger volumes in the same footprint allowing Urban Seed to grow 30 to 50 times the amount of produce than that of traditional farming without use of chemicals or pesticides. Facilities will be as close to the customer base as possible to reduce cost of transportation & delivery which can run as much as 75% of total operating costs for traditional farm to market operations.

1) We went though a description of the traditional timeline from food to fork.  Most produce travels 1,500 miles from farm to fork.

– High carbon footprint
– Nutritional values falls over time
– Shorter shelf life = high food waste
– Lower freshness = bland taste

2) We laid out a broad gamut of food production challenges:

– Burgeoning world population,
– Water scarcity,
– Global warming,
– High pesticide use.
– Lack of access to fresh produce is highly correlated to rising BMI – especially in poor communities.

3) Opportunities

– Where are some of the investment opportunities in the food world?
– We spend time defining the concept of urban farming

4) Finally, we describe what Urban Seed does

– Farm to fork in 12 hrs
– No chemicals – herbicides or pesticides
– All non-GMO seeds (why is this important?)
– Grown under glass with no supplemental light – very power efficient.
– 30x crop yield vs traditional farming
– Uses 90% less water
– Extremely Profitable – Each 6,500sf greenhouse generates $1mln annual revenues and ~$500k EBITDA
– Tax benefits for buildings / urban settings?Jobs?

 

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