Vertical Farming Podcast

S1E9: Andrew Carter – Distributed Farming: How Smallhold Is Growing and Networking in the Ag Space

Andrew Carter is the co-founder and CEO at Smallhold the first, and only, organic farm in NYC. Andrew is a greenhouse and vertical farming specialist, with extensive experience with baby cut greens, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and mushroom production. Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he and Andrew discuss the intricate nature of mushroom farming, challenges that Smallhold has overcome in the wake of Covid-19 and myths and preconceived notions about mushrooms as a crop.

Special thanks to our Season 1 Sponsor

IGS – https://intelligentgrowthsolutions.com/

Key Takeaways

02:35 – Andrew expounds on his education and background in ecological design and environmental science, how he got involved in AgTech and the origin story of Smallhold

16:44 – Andrew speaks to the extent he needed to educate himself on mushrooms as a crop and early challenges he worked through with Smallhold

23:36 – Andrew discusses how he strategically expanded his container farms and the technology involved with Smallhold’s units  

29:13 – Andrew breaks down Smallhold’s business model and client feedback he’s received

37:07 – Andrew debunks some of the myths and preconceived notions about mushrooms

41:15 – Andrew speaks to the growth strategy for the future of Smallhold and overcoming the challenges posed by Covid-19

49:04 – What is something that Andrew has changed his mind about recently

50:44 – Harry thanks Andrew for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can follow and connect with Andrew and Smallhold

Tweetables:

“I think it’s an issue in the indoor Ag space – and just food in general – is people think that you can have the same solutions for every city. But I think that you need a mix of solutions because every city is different.” (14:38)

“Anyway, I was like ‘Ok, three thousand dollars to play a song while walk down the aisle.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, great.’ So, I played Daft Punk at their wedding on the cello, they gave me three thousand dollars and, the following week, bought a shipping container and planted in Williamsburg. That was definitely the first money into the indoor company. And we were like, ‘Let’s definitely try to grow some mushrooms in there.’” (19:48)

“We work with businesses and businesses don’t want to deal with this stuff. They like the idea and they love the quality. They want to deal with it in a sense that it’s there and they can sell the stuff. But they don’t want to be mushroom farmers, even if they tell you they do.” (31:02)

“What’s so cool about these people [Smallhold’s partners] is not only that they’re really good at cooking and being creative, but they really believe in what we’re trying to do. And they understand it so well that they can help tell our story and help feed other people our product.” (36:05)

“We’re seeing that we’re settling out with way higher numbers, like five to six times what we thought we would be at before Covid. So, we’re in a good position and we think that this can exist in all sorts of other places. And we’re getting that kind of response from all these big partners, and so we’re going for it. I don’t think that Covid is really going to stop us at this point.” (47:11)

Links Mentioned:

Andrew’s LinkedIn

Smallhold Website

Food + Tech Connect Website

Intelligent Growth Solutions

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