We worked with the folks at Squarespace to find the most exciting and innovative local entrepreneurs in the LA area and their team introduced us to Brandon Martin of Local Roots. To say we are blown away by their company would be an understatement. Local Roots is bringing integrity back to our food supply chain and we couldn’t be more excited to share their incredible story. Below you’ll find our interview with Brandon (Local Roots VP of Business Development).
Brandon – please share your story with us? How did you get to where you are today – what have been some of the challenges you faced along the way and what brought you to Local Roots?
I’ve co-founded four companies in the food and nutrition industries since 2005. These companies ranged from B2C & B2B consumer brands, research and development focused on material and product enhancement by utilizing macroscopic entanglement of human biofields, silicon oscillators and food materials, to an internationally certified turn-key organic food manufacturing company.
I’ve learned several lessons along the way, one of which stood out the most. I learned how inefficient and unsustainable our food chain had become. Food production had become extremely centralized focused on monocropping, yield/volume and increased dependencies on pesticides rather than focusing on nutrient content and eco-friendly farming practices.
I started to pay attention to controlled environment agriculture (CEA) around 2010. By 2015 there were several CEA companies making big claims however only a few were actually growing food. After paying closer attention in 2016 it became apparent to me that one company in particular had been focused on and investing resources in rigorous plant science and next generation technology applications. I was introduced to Local Roots through a colleague of mine in the Phoenix area. My perception of Local Roots became validated after a couple meetings with the two co-founders. Not only had they been laser focused on the plant science and technology applications they were genuinely passionate about improving the global food chain, providing every human with access to healthy food and protecting Earths environment for future generations. I knew, without question, this was the path for me. I joined the Local Roots team in October 2016.
We’d love to learn more about Local Roots – what should we know? What differentiates Local Roots from other companies who’ve tried to solve this problem in the past? What are you most proud or excited about as a company?
Local Roots designs, builds, deploys and operates the worlds most productive indoor farming solution. We call this solution the TerraFarm. A TerraFarm is the most technologically advanced indoor farm built inside of a 40’ refrigerated shipping container. We chose this form factor for several reasons; 1. the infrastructure exists to logistically deploy 40’ shipping containers on a global scale 2. They provide a form factor that can be mass produced at scale 3. Access to upcycle an existing abundant supply 4. Tightly controlled environment.
The key to unlock a commercially viable and scalable indoor sustainable farm solution boils down to unit economics. This is one key element our team of engineers and scientist have been focused on for the past four years. Recent advances in LED technology, machine learning and computer vision awarded our team the ability to crack the “unit economic” code. This means we now have the ability to grow fresh food at cost parity with outdoor field grown produce without needing any pesticides and only using about 1% of the water compared to field grown crops.
One of our key differentiators is that we don’t sell our systems or technology we actually operate our co-located TerraFarms and sell our produce to mass market commercial buyers throughout the retail and food service channels.
I’m proud to be part of a mission driven, passionate and brilliant team of people. I’m excited about the fact that our business model, food safety protocols and technology have been validated by some of the largest commercial scale retail & food service companies in the world.
How do you think the food / agriculture industry will change over the next 10 years? Over the next 50 years? What role do you see Local Roots playing in this evolution?
The food chain will break down from centralized growing practices using harmful chemicals to a locally grown system utilizing eco-friendly and responsible farming practices. Imagine 75-100 TerraFarms (containers) sitting parking lot’s of a commercial scale regional distribution centers, growing and harvesting nutrient dense fresh food onsite.
Food production will need to increase 70% by 2050 to keep up with our global population growth. This challenge will require international collaboration utilizing many types of technology and ongoing innovation. Local Roots is one piece of that puzzle.
So, as we’ve discussed before, Squarespace has been a great platform for Local Roots to establish its online presence and educate consumers on these issues. We’d love to hear more about you’ve used Squarespace to build Local Roots’ brand.
Squarespace provided our UX design team with a streamlined and intuitive format upon which they were able to layer Local Roots’ own creativity. Using the templates, we’re able to build our online brand presence with a helpful guide – but without sacrificing any of our own identity.
We are an audacious, rapidly growing company. In order to keep up that growth, we need to continue communicating updates and exciting news with our customers so that they know what to look for from us. We use our Squarespace website to streamline that communication, and we’re able to update our website in real time ensuring we always have fresh content sharing all of our exciting updates.
Learn more about Local Roots:
August 14, 2017 at 18:22
I had the joy and pleasure of becoming acquainted with Local Roots one year ago, and have visited their LA home … and yes, to say it’s impressive IS a gross understatement. Their story deserves to be out there, and hopefully more and more of us LA passionistas can help that happen. Big love and appreciation to everyone at Local Roots, and to VoyageLA for getting time with them to share this story.