This episode we are joined by Daphne Preuss, the founder and CEO of CarbonBook, on an inspiring journey to make the world a greener place. As an experienced entrepreneur and sustainability advocate, she shares valuable insights on reducing carbon emissions in the vertical farming space. Discover the secrets of sustainable agriculture, learn how to manage carbon footprints, and explore the opportunities available in this growing industry. From understanding soil health to rethinking fertilizer use, Daphne offers detailed guidance on making vertical farming more environmentally friendly. Tune in to hear her inspiring story and find out how you can get involved in creating a more sustainable future.
Thanks to Our Sponsors
Cultivatd – https://cultivatd.com/
Indoor AgCon '22 - https://indoor.ag/
Use promo code 'VFP' to receive 20% your registration
- Learn about Daphne’s passion for sustainable agriculture and reducing carbon emissions
- Discover how CarbonBook helps farmers measure and report on their carbon footprint, and how it can benefit the vertical farming industry
- Explore Daphne’s entrepreneurial background and successes in agriculture, AI, and software
- Gain insights into the importance of reducing carbon emissions in the vertical farming space, and how the industry can take a leadership role in sustainability
- Understand the recent advances in research on soil health and fertilizer use, and their impact on carbon capture
- Find out how consumers may compare vertical farming to traditional outdoor farming in terms of carbon emissions when making purchasing decisions
- Learn about CarbonBook's breakthroughs in the indoor farming space, as well as their partnerships and accolades
- Discover Daphne’s advice for scientists in the vertical farming community to not be intimidated by the business world, and how they have all the skills needed to succeed
“Since the journey of finding my own business, I've also found it really interesting and exciting to help other entrepreneurs who are going through that same process.”
“I often say it's really rewarding to help new founders avoid the mistakes I made over the years. The first time you do something, it's always a learning experience.”
“I would say that early on there was huge exuberance for indoor farming, vertical farming especially. Lots of money being thrown at it. I think as it's matured now, we've seen some of those businesses operate successfully and some of them really struggle. So today reality is hitting people in the face.”
Daphne's Website - https://www.carbonbookinc.com
Daphne's Linkedin - linkedin.com/in/daphne-preuss-26031b
Daphne's Email - email@example.com
Connect With Us
VFP - LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/verticalfarmingpodcast
VFP Twitter - https://twitter.com/VerticalFarmPod
VFP Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/direct/inbox/
VFP Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/VerticalFarmPod
Vertical Farming Jobs - http://verticalfarmingjobs.com
Vertical Farming Weekly - www.getrevue.co/profile/verticalfarmingpodcast
Cultivatd’s Website – https://cultivatd.com/
Cultivatd’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cultivatdco/
Cultivatd’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/cultivatd
Cultivatd’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cultivatd/
Podcast Production and Marketing by FullCast
This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:
Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
[0:00:03] Harry Duran: So Daphne PRUs, CEO of Carbon Book, thank you so much for joining me on the vertical Forming podcast.
[0:00:09] Daphne Preuss: Thank you for the invitation.
[0:00:12] Harry Duran: We were chatting a bit, as most folks do here in the Midwest, about the weather prior to getting started. So for the benefit of listener, where's home for you right now?
[0:00:23] Daphne Preuss: For me. It's in Maine. Along the coast of Maine?
[0:00:26] Harry Duran: Yeah. Were you born and raised there?
[0:00:29] Daphne Preuss: No, I came from Colorado originally in a farming community.
[0:00:36] Harry Duran: What's been the biggest difference for you, going from Colorado to Maine? Or was there anything you missed?
[0:00:43] Daphne Preuss: The climate is so different. The part of Colorado I grew up in was quite dry, and here we've got enough water for growing trees and forests and things. It did teach me at a very early age the importance of water for agriculture limitations if we don't manage fresh water appropriately.
[0:01:09] Harry Duran: Yeah, makes sense. What city in Maine?
[0:01:13] Daphne Preuss: No city. I live in a town of 100 people. The opposite. And just before this we were living in Chicago for about 25 years, so the contrast could not be bigger.
[0:01:30] Harry Duran: What would you say you love most about where you are now then?
[0:01:34] Daphne Preuss: The outdoors, the wildlife. It's a great place for thinking, for planning and writing, and it's been really refreshing to get out of the chaos for a while.
[0:01:52] Harry Duran: Yeah, you mentioned thinking and writing, which is something I think about when, for the benefit of listener, I'm up north in northern Minnesota and at a cabin, which on camera, probably looks like I'm in a sauna right now. But there's lots of wood paneling all around and I always think about being in quiet places to do some writing. Is that something you try to find time for when you can?
[0:02:17] Daphne Preuss: I do, yeah. It's a nice change of pace.
[0:02:24] Harry Duran: Yeah. And so I was doing a bit of homework on your background and looking at your history after you finished your university studies, and it seems like the world of agriculture and where you ended up at carbon book probably wouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's been following your journey for all these years. But can you talk a little bit about we'll make our way to current time, but I always like hearing a little bit about origin stories and how you got your start in this field.
[0:02:59] Daphne Preuss: Well, as I said, I grew up in an agricultural community, so agriculture was always very close to my background, my early experiences. When I was five for college, I focused on science and became a geneticist. For a while I was pursuing that in an academic space, so went to graduate school at MIT and then Stanford, and then took a faculty role at the University of Chicago. And while I was there, I was focused on plants and pollination and understanding the mechanisms of health, but after a while was frustrated that I wasn't having on people's lives beyond teaching and training students. And so now a company while I was in the university and that became focused on an outdoor crop, Borgham, which we developed, we innovated in that crop and then we grew a seed distribution business out of that and sold product around the world. So we got to know the situation, the farmers would go their challenges with producing crops, with climate change and all of the issues going on in global agriculture. After that business sold, I focused in on Cargo Book and we've been looking at indoor agriculture, so that's been an interesting transition.
[0:04:39] Harry Duran: I also noticed you were doing some work with the New West Genetics as well, and then you also had some experience with early experience with AI and then looking at some of the remote sensing stuff as well, which I thought was interesting.
[0:04:57] Daphne Preuss: Absolutely. Well, since the journey of finding my own business, I've also found it really interesting and exciting to help other entrepreneurs who are going through that same process. So I'm on the board of directors at Midwest Genetics as well as a couple of other boards of companies focused in agriculture. And I often say it's really rewarding to help new founders avoid the mistakes I made over the years. The first time you do something, it's always a learning experience. And so it's really exciting to see all the business ideas that are coming out lately in agriculture. It's a period of tremendous growth. I think there's a lot of amazing innovation and the kind of innovations that used to happen only in large companies are now possible as costs have come down and technologies made everything easier. With regard to AI and software, I also was a partner in a company that made a software for biologists. We sold that company, so that was a SaaS business. Ended up with 600,000 users worldwide. We grew that from start to sale. And so that experience, along with the work in agriculture, team together at Carbon Book and we had some technology for thinking about how crops grow and using AI for that. Hold all of that together into our current crop.
[0:06:45] Harry Duran: It sounds from just your background that there's definitely an entrepreneurial streak in you. And I'm wondering how far back how far back that goes and if that's something that you've always had this passion for starting companies.
[0:07:02] Daphne Preuss: Yeah, absolutely. My parents were entrepreneurs and so that definitely was a big impact. I used to say that summer vacation and after school program was their business and that's really the way they handled it with us. We learned everything from a very early age growing up in that family. And then I always was encouraged to do business activities, even as a youngster. So you sell greeting cards or whatever it was, to earn a little bit of extra money and understand how business worked. And my parents were very good at training me and just go get a bank account, balance your checkbook every month, even like a preteen. Even so, it was very early being exposed to that way of thinking. And so I'd say, unlike a lot of academics or scientists, I had the basics of how a basic business operates. And that really did help me as I thought about bringing science into the business world.
[0:08:23] Harry Duran: Yeah, that experience is extremely helpful being an entrepreneur myself. And I think if you don't have that experience, you'll learn the lessons, but you'll learn them the hard way and you'll learn about them because you'll make the mistakes. You'll fall on your face and then you'll figure out, don't do it that way instead. And it's nice to know that you have the support of your parents to help you with probably some of the mistakes they made in the past to make sure that those were repeated with your business ventures.
[0:08:52] Daphne Preuss: Right. Well, so much of it is knowing what you don't know. Right. And then knowing how to find the right expertise in someone else and being able to tell the difference between someone who really knows their stuff and someone who doesn't. Yes, it's very hard to absorb all of that.
[0:09:17] Harry Duran: When you think about which one of your ventures is the most memorable from an inception starting point. A lot of times it's like asking a parent about who's their favorite child. And obviously a lot of the focus is on Carbon Book. But when you think about how you go about starting a company and what you experienced before, can you put us in that mindset of where you were in 2019 when the idea started to flower for Carbon Book and what your thought process was at that time?
[0:09:49] Daphne Preuss: Right. Well, as I said, I've spent most of my years in agriculture, and what was really starting to become very clear in 2019 was that climate change was here. We had been hearing about it for a long time, but we were really starting to see real impacts. Also that water is one of the key limitations to agriculture. I mentioned that earlier, but you could really see that playing out worldwide with droughts and global issues. So I was excited about the idea of indoor farming as a way of really managing in places that were water limiting. And I think it is one of the ways that we can have a very important solution to that problem. If you think about does the Middle East grow the crops it needs to feed itself? Something with indoor farming could really be an important answer. So those things were playing out in my mind. But also then thinking about how do you build an economy that gears everyone toward doing better in terms of carbon emissions and how do you empower and enable all of these businesses to do that? And having worked with a lot of farmers and also getting to know indoor farmers, you appreciate that their days are very full and they're very packed with simply trying to get the job done, get crop, to get the right yield, to get the right pricing, to keep the business running. And so I could see that that industry and that group of people would be asked to report on their carbon emissions and they don't necessarily have the expertise in house to do that. It's a big pain in the neck to do that rigorously. You've got to do it in a science based way.
[0:12:02] Daphne Preuss: And it's very important for the consumers of that kind of information that there are uniform standards, that things are reported accurately. So it felt to me like we needed to help people, to empower people, to be able to get the information they needed, to be able to relay that to stakeholders. And so, just coming off the heels of having built and sold a software business, it seemed to me that a simple tool that has a great user interface and is easy for people to use doesn't take a lot. Of their time could help them do what they needed to do, but also move the industry toward a more beneficial direction and use less carbon. Because I really think the industry has potential for huge impact on agriculture. As I said, water is an issue, but also reducing fertilizer use, reducing pesticide use, all of those great things about it. But one of the unpleasant parts that we don't all talk about is if you look at the industry as a whole, it consumes a lot of power, which means it has a really big carbon footprint. And other aspects of it also are feeding into carbon emissions. So I'd like to see the industry really thrive and succeed. Compared to outdoor farming, it's not as good on carbon and we need to help it get better. So I know that's a long, complicated answer, but it was kind of the synthesis of climate change, carbon intensity, empowering people to do something in a very easy way and hopefully make the industry thrive.
[0:13:52] Harry Duran: Can you talk a little bit about how you've seen the indoor farming, the sector mature over the years? I imagine when you started in 2019, I don't know how much of the business was was focused on indoor farming. What percentage of that and how that shifted based on how you've seen the maturity happen over these past few years?
[0:14:15] Daphne Preuss: Well, yeah, we've always been focused only on indoor farming. So I would say that early on there was huge exuberance for indoor farming, vertical farming especially. Lots of money being thrown at it. I think as it's matured now, we've seen some of those businesses operate successfully and some of them really struggle. So today reality is hitting people in the face. I think it's also true that consumers love the products that's been borne out. There's no doubt that people will really buy this kind of produce. It's better tasting, it's fresher, it looks great, no problem with sales. But doing it in an economically successful way has been challenging for some groups and there was a lot of exuberance. I think that's been the case a lot of times for the greenhouse, the broader greenhouse space, they've gone through consolidation. There are some operators who have done extremely well. I think the bigger conglomerates do better. There's a lot of thinking about logistics, where to locate, all of those things are going into it. But yeah, I think it's an industry that's here to stay and it's it's got a good growth rate. I also have seen the input providers really mature over this time.
[0:15:57] Daphne Preuss: So great innovation and lighting and fertilizer substrates are growing. Seeds, seed breeding, all of those things are really making a healthy ecosystem for the indoor farmers.
[0:16:16] Harry Duran: For the benefit of folks who are not familiar with carbon book, can you talk a little bit about the offering? Who is an ideal client and then what's their experience? Maybe a little bit about like who this is a good fit for, what that onboarding looks like and if there's a process for getting them online just so people have an idea of the scope of work that you provide.
[0:16:40] Daphne Preuss: Sure. I would say that for companies that want to market themselves as sustainability focus or alternatively, for companies that are hearing from their customers that the customers want to report on carbon from their supply chain, those are our ideal customers. Those are the people who are coming to us. Either they're wanting to promote themselves or they're under some pressure. And we also have customers in Europe where the pressure is coming from regulatory. But here in the US it's mostly a customer driven large retailer wants to have some numbers and how do I provide that? The tool takes about 30 minutes a month to enter the data and in fact, much of the data can be entered by the account. So a grower doesn't have to think of this as a big draw on their time. We've used principles, there's a very deep discipline called human computer interaction HCI and we've used those principles to make the software very intuitive. So most people can sit down in front of it and on the first try they know exactly what to do. There's very simple drop down menus once you set up, then month to month it's very to keep going, you can use the information from the prior month and just tweak what changes and it covers all of the inputs of your facility. So not just power use, but water use, fertilizer substrate materials, covers transportation. So did you drive to the store, did you ship the product to warehouse, all those aspects and then while you're doing that, it shows a report with bar graphs where is your biggest carbon emission coming from? And you can see how the different aspects of the business are contributing to that. It also accounts for beneficial things you do, like maybe you recycle.
[0:19:01] Daphne Preuss: You compost your biomass waste, you use a renewable source of power. You've negotiated with a power company for a power purchase agreement. All of those things are positives are in there as well. And at the end of it, there's a score for how much carbon per pound or ton or kilogram of produce. And so you can see how you're doing and then it also allows benchmarking, so you can see how you compare to other indoor farms. Are you in the bottom quartile? Are you in the top 10%? And that gives you a sense of what you might need to do to do better.
[0:19:46] Harry Duran: And I imagine it's similar sized forms when you're doing that comparison.
[0:19:52] Daphne Preuss: Not yet. Not today. We're building the database and I think as we get more and more people on board, it will make sense to parse it in different ways. But, yeah, we basically look at carbon per kilogram of produce because retail, and this is already happening, retail is starting to label products on the shelf with how much carbon is embedded in making that product. So when the consumer looks at one tomato versus another tomato, they're just going to see a number, how much carbon? And it's not really going to matter to them if it came from a small facility or a big facility or an outdoor farm or nando farm. It's just literally how much carbon. And so that's where we're reporting.
[0:20:42] Harry Duran: Are you seeing any movement when you mention that the thing that comes to mind is how people see labels like natural and organic and how that's influencing their buying decisions. And I'm wondering if we're moving towards the carbon footprint label or some sexier identification and how from a marketing perspective, the challenge is to let the consumer know that that's something that they should be looking out for as well.
[0:21:10] Daphne Preuss: Yeah, well, that's already in stores, so I'd encourage you as you buy things, you'll see some leading companies starting to report on this and we saw recently several others jumping on board. So PepsiCo and Nestle unilever. Unilever says 75,000 products will be labeled soon. And so whether the industry wants to or not, there, there will be labels. And also, I think people might be aware. But just to mention that for the large publicly traded companies now, the SEC is going to have, starting in 2024, a requirement that you report on carbon. And it's going to be an accounting standard. It needs to be based in substance. So it can't be green washing or just happy talk. It has to be really solid. And so this, this is coming. I think it's going to, you know, surprise a lot of people when, you know, 2024 is not very far away. Yeah, so, you know, you're, you're going to have to report your score, good or bad, and your customer will need to have that if they're a public company.
[0:22:33] Harry Duran: You mentioned the likes of Unilever and I'm wondering how you see those partnerships with your large input providers. Can you talk a little bit about that relationship?
[0:22:41] Daphne Preuss: Yeah, well, we see ourselves as helping those big companies that have to do reporting, whether it's to regulators or financial markets or other things. Many of them, as you probably know, have set very aggressive carbon reduction goals for themselves. So we see ourselves as helping them collect the data and they want to help their suppliers do better. So it isn't just about policing or collecting information. They'd like to be able to say to a group of suppliers, hey.
[0:23:23] Harry Duran: This.
[0:23:24] Daphne Preuss: Is a situation where maybe there's room for improvement or maybe incentivize them to improve. Like if you can get your carbon footprint down by 5%, we'd be happy to pay you a premium. And I think that a lot of the largest companies are really motivated to do that. As I said, they set aggressive goals and they've spent the last few years trying to get their internal operations to be better. They've kind of exhausted what they can do there. They've worked very much with the power grid to do the best they can there and now the only place to go is to look at their supplier network. And in many cases, you know, of the goals they set, only about 20% can be met with what they've already done. So the rest of it, the 80% that's left, has to come from the suppliers. And so they are looking top to bottom at every single supplier and helping often smaller companies do better.
[0:24:30] Harry Duran: I couldn't help but think as people were going through this process and entering all their inputs into the system, there may be some cases where they're surprised at the output that comes out of there. And I'm wondering if, from some of the clients that you've worked with, as they start to put in all the different factors that might affect their carbon footprint, are there some things that are really surprising to them? Where did it realize what that impact was?
[0:24:59] Daphne Preuss: I suppose energy often is one of those that people really they know that this is a big expense for the business, they know they're using a lot of power, but when they see it laid out there as big of a contributor, it is. And so the good side of that is just a little improvement in energy use to energy use efficiency. Maybe it's about changing lighting from incandescence to LEDs ways, combined heat and power generation, various things that they can do. They can have a huge lasting change on their carbon emissions, which, by the way, also in many places qualifies them to collect carbon credits so they get paid back for that. This is a situation where there's a lot of incentives for people to get there.
[0:25:59] Harry Duran: I've noticed you talked a little bit about, on the site about the collaboration you have with US National Renewable Energy Lab and the danforth center. And I'm wondering how those relationships came about and how that's helped the work that you're doing at Carbon Book.
[0:26:14] Daphne Preuss: Well, we won a competition. It was a grant competition sponsored by Wells Fargo and the Danford Center and Enril National Renewable Energy Lab. The competition was focused on indoor farming and innovation in that area. We were the only one that is doing what we're doing on carbon footprint. We worked with the Danford Center, which has a lot of research greenhouses to help develop our tool. And we went from concept to launch product during the time of the grant. So we progressed relatively fast through their program. The NREL collaboration is also really interesting. This is one of the Doe department of they're in Golden, Colorado, and they've really specialized in building materials and construction. And so what we're doing with them is thinking about how the choice of materials for greenhouses for indoor farms can have more or less embedded carbon in that, and then, in addition, how changing ways of operating can affect carbon footprint. So, for example, if in a greenhouse, do you use shading to alter lighting and things like that can have a big impact.
[0:27:42] Harry Duran: So that begs the question as to how early in the process can a flow like this help a new farm? Because you're talking about building materials, you know, a lot of times they may not give those the proper consideration to your point that they should be.
[0:28:00] Daphne Preuss: That's right. So there's two kinds of considerations when you're standing up a new facility. First, the embedded carbon in the materials you use, and that will be calculated over the lifetime of those materials. So it's sort of amortized, if you will, over time. But then the choices you make will affect your day to day carbon footprint, and there are choices you can make that will minimize it and choices you make that will maximize it. And so, probably very good to do some scenario building before you really make those selections.
[0:28:46] Harry Duran: Yeah. I noticed also that you were selected as one of the top five agatech startups in Canada and also most innovative Canadabased AG tech companies. And I'm wondering how that process came about.
[0:29:00] Daphne Preuss: Yeah, well, the original founders of the company started in Quebec. They were a team of AI books, and then I joined shortly after that to build out the carbon footprint part. But they were based in Montreal, and so we've kept the company there. Although I'm based in the US. I think it's been beneficial to us to have a working footprint in both countries. It gives us a more international feel. And we have had incoming customers and clients from all around the world. And as you probably are aware, when it comes to climate and carbon, there are many countries who are actually out in front of the US. In terms of adoption of policies and standards and regulations. So we've always taken a global view to this problem.
[0:29:58] Harry Duran: We were chatting prior to recording about how you were at Indoor Icon, the companies at Indoor Icon last year, and we'll both be there again this year. How many years have you been going to these conferences? And I'm wondering if you've seen the dynamic of the companies that attend or the experiences and the conversations you're having at these conferences, how they're evolving over the years.
[0:30:23] Daphne Preuss: Well, not a lot of years, really, because we were getting started on this in 2019 and then within months of getting started, the Pandemic app, and we were all under a travel freeze, if you recall, and particularly a Canadian based company. We could not cross the border and attend events in the US. So that was okay, though, because for a couple of years we just hunkered down and did software coding and we needed to do that. And so last year, 2022 was actually our first rollout at the Indoor Icon. Great event, great reception. We had we had a booth. We had a lot of people that came and there a lot of folks were saying, haven't thought much about this yet. Haven't thought a lot about measured my carbon footprint. So that conversations evolve now. And I'd say that people are kind of in two camps. There are those who are embracing the new world of reporting on carbon, which is absolutely happening, and then there are those who are really hoping it doesn't happen. They're trying to avoid it, but I really don't think it can be avoided.
[0:31:52] Harry Duran: Yeah, it feels like burying your head in the sand moments if you're not confronting the realities of where we're headed from a climate change perspective. Do you look at the broader picture a lot in terms of climate change? I'm assuming that's something you follow fairly closely, and I'm wondering if you have some thoughts about where we're headed even outside of the indoor AG tech world and anything that we can. I know that carbon book is doing your part to help people realize the scope of the problem, but I'm wondering if there's anything in that field that is on your mind lately.
[0:32:30] Daphne Preuss: Well, agriculture broadly is a huge contributor to carbon emissions, but it also can be a very important solution. And I've been really interested and excited to see the advances in research over the recent years, people understanding how soil health can really affect carbon capture, rethinking fertilizer use, because fertilizer is one of those things that contributes to nitrogen emissions and those are equivalent to greenhouse gas effects. So that industry is going through a huge change as it reevaluates its carbon. And a lot of that pressure, again, is coming from the largest consumer companies, like those who manufacture foods we eat day to day. They are now asking farmers to think very hard about their use of fuel, their use of fertilizer, the crops they grow, how they cultivate their land. And there's also, I find this to be really interesting and promising up. If you think about 10,000 years of human history and breeding crops, we've been mostly looking at the parts. We see the parts above ground, but people are realizing that there's huge diversity in the root system and the depth and branching of roots can affect how much carbon goes to the soil. So there's now a huge generation, new generation of breeders that are looking for roots and root root structure. And I think we could really reshape our core crops to, to capture more carbon, which is, which is really exciting. So, you know, I know that's not answering about the whole world of carbon, but I tend to focus on the agriculture side, which is, which is probably about 20% of our carbon and climate change issues.
[0:34:49] Harry Duran: I'm assuming there's always a lot in your mind and then there's always new challenges when you get out of bed in the morning and things that need to get done. But I'm just curious if there's a tough question you've had to ask yourself recently.
[0:35:03] Daphne Preuss: Well, I'd say let a guinea start as CEO. The financial climate has been a little bit challenging in the last year for companies that are raising capital. We're doing okay, but that's something cash should be on the mind of every startup CEO, honestly, and how you build your business and get it to where it needs to be. So that's one that's kind of there daily and finding investors that really can believe in the vision you have even before you're a large company and profitable, that's always a challenge for small companies.
[0:35:46] Harry Duran: Yeah. I'm curious, given the experience you've had in your entrepreneurial journey and the companies you started and led previously, how have you grown and matured as a leader throughout the years?
[0:36:01] Daphne Preuss: Oh, that's a great question. I can say looking back at myself 15 years ago, it's a little bit humbling and humiliating sometimes and thinking of all the things you didn't know. Yeah, I think one which may be surprising, stress level is down. There were a lot of things when you don't know what you're doing or you're doing it for the first time. There's a lot of anxiety, a lot of tension. It's so much easier if you've seen it before. So that's been very helpful, I would say. Just ability to present, communicate, talk about ideas, and an ability to kind of pace the information flow that's really improved. It's hard for founders and innovators to convey their vision to people who have never heard it before. So that is always something that's a challenge. But I think I've gotten a bit better at that, working with people, trying to hire the right people for the problem. I think that's been good experiences. There good learnings and keeping a team motivated and probably that a lot of times. We think the most important thing in these businesses is the technology. But it's actually the people that.
[0:37:30] Daphne Preuss: Are making the technology, you really have to focus on that.
[0:37:36] Harry Duran: Has there been some experiences you've had with mentors previously that have been memorable and instrumental in your growth?
[0:37:47] Daphne Preuss: Yeah, I've been very lucky to have amazing mentors over the years and those experiences, those relationships are just so valuable. I kind of go back to the people who I worked with to learn science and rigor and you know how important it is to have your credibility. They were amazing. And then on the business side, finding people that were willing to teach me what I didn't know and patient to help me do that. As I said, I was a scientist first and then a business person and learning to communicate to those two audiences takes some effort. So had some wonderful mentors that helped with that.
[0:38:41] Harry Duran: Yes. It's interesting to have the mix of both of those experiences because they're two completely different worlds and I think it's been invaluable for you to be able to bring those two together. And sometimes they speak completely different languages, I'm sure at times as well.
[0:38:58] Daphne Preuss: Yeah, I would say the language is different but in a lot of ways the objectives are similar. You're trying to do something that is a new breakthrough when it's in science and similarly in business, you're trying to have a new, especially entrepreneurial companies. You're trying to have something that is a breakthrough that's going to disrupt the current markets. That's going to be something that people are drawn to. So those objectives are similar, you fund them in different ways. In the scientific world, it's often nonprofit that funds government grants, things like that, but you still are pitching all the time just like you do with companies. So it's a little bit of framing, a little bit of focusing on the ultimate currency. Instead of building publications, you're adding dollars to the company's account. But otherwise I think there are a lot of parallels and I would say I see a lot of scientists be intimidated by the business world. I don't think they should be. I think they just need to talk to someone who's been there and done it and they have all the skills that they need to function very well. It's just a matter of learning the language.
[0:40:19] Harry Duran: This might be a good episode to send any scientists in the future who are considering an entrepreneurial journey because of what your experience has been like.
[0:40:28] Daphne Preuss: We need more of them. We need more of them for sure.
[0:40:34] Harry Duran: So, Daphne, I like to leave some time at the end of these episodes. I've been doing this lately and have you give you some space for any messages you have for folks within the vertical farming community, because, as you know, there's a lot of your peers and colleagues that listen to this podcast and folks that are in the space. But I've been just leaving some time for you. If you have a message or anything you feel like you want to say to this community, oh, wow, well, thanks.
[0:41:04] Daphne Preuss: For that opportunity, that's great. So I've touched on a little bit of this, but just kind of reiterate. One, the world we live in, the economy we live in, the business situation is going to require carbon report. Absolutely is. And if we end it's not going to happen, we're going to be left. So that's the first thing. The second is there's room for improvement. The industry does have, on average, a pretty healthy carbon footprint. I should say pretty large carbon footprint, but some operations are running in a way that is reducing carbon footprint. So it's definitely a problem for the industry as a whole, but it's solvable. So we're at a moment in time here where the vertical farming industry could really take a leadership role as a group and say, hey, we're committed to having a healthy environment, not just sustainability in terms of water use or pesticide use or fertilizing use, but also carbon emissions. And we want to be the leaders in that. I think if they remain silent or not stepping up, then it could be that they get steamrolled by others hearing a message that's negative and not what they'd like to have. Now, we recently saw a coalition of several vertical farms coming out to talk about strong sustainability goals and I think that's just wonderful progress that sends a great message, but that kind of leadership is needed. And a lot of times when you're within an industry, you're thinking about your competition is the other vertical farm next door and how you want a position is better than them.
[0:43:16] Daphne Preuss: That's not what's needed here in this carbon. Because I think what will happen more likely is that consumers will compare vertical farming to historic outdoor in terms of carbon. And when they see that tomato on the grocery shelf, it's going to be which one looks nicer, which one tastes better, but that's a different carbon score and how much does it cost. And the consumer is going to integrate all those factors and figure out what they want to buy. And unfortunately, I think if the tomato is ten times more carbon as it was grown in a vertical, there are a bunch of consumers who will say, I'm not buying that. If it tastes better, I don't care if it looks better, I'm just not doing it. And we're seeing that for now, cases where particularly younger consumers, even if it causes emerging. So I think that the industry needs to think of itself as an industry because I think that's how the consumers will look at it. And leaders need to step up and be having very positive messages and teaching others how to reduce carbon, not keep it all secretive. So that would be my hope for.
[0:44:51] Harry Duran: It. Sounds like you'll be having many more of those conversations in a couple of days, indoor edcon. So I want to thank you for taking the time to come on and share your inspiring story, especially you don't see a lot of folks coming from the science background and with as much entrepreneurial and business experience as you have. And I think a lot of that has been borne out in what you've been able to do at Carbon Books. I appreciate you sharing a bit of your background as well and sharing your.
[0:45:20] Daphne Preuss: Story, Harry, and thank you for all you're doing for the vertical and these podcasts are a great service to the whole community. So thank you.
[0:45:33] Harry Duran: I appreciate that. So, folks, to learn firstname.lastname@example.org anywhere else you want to send folks to connect with you or learn more about carbon.
[0:45:41] Daphne Preuss: Book for those who will be at the indirect con. My colleague Eugene Moses will be there and he's going to be in a panel. So we'll be posting on our social media, LinkedIn, Twitter, et cetera, that you can find. So we'll meet many of you there at the conference.
[0:46:03] Harry Duran: Yeah, and we'll make sure we have all those links available in the Shimmer as well. So thanks again for your time. Definitely, I appreciate it.
[0:46:08] Daphne Preuss: Great. Well, thank you. Have a good day.