Jul 15, 2020
Meet Agritecture's Team Of Consultants: Introducing David Ceaser
Get to know the amazing team at Agritecture! This Q+A features David Ceaser, Lead Agronomist at Agritecture Consulting!
How did you first get involved with Agritecture?
I live in Berkeley, CA with my family. I have been working with Agritecture for about 4 years now. I first got connected with Agritecture when it was Blue Planet Consulting. I read about Blue Planet Consulting (BPC) in an article in my local newspaper discussing a hydroponics operation in Alaska. I reached out via e-mail and it just so happened that Henry and Andrew Carter (BPC co-founder) were coming out to California a few weeks later. We met in Fresno at a design workshop and since then I have been working as part of the team.
As the lead agronomist, how has your position evolved?
For most of the clients that we work with, the actual sales and marketing of products is more of a challenge than crop production. So, while I do consult on production issues, a lot of the work that I do focuses on helping to find viable and creative business models for the farms that we work with. Additionally, helping farms to produce in a more efficient manner is also an important role of my job. Often farms are producing well but financially they are just making ends meet. I enjoy looking at business models and finding ways for farms to be more efficient in their production and in the end, be more economically viable.
What prior experience did you bring with you to Agritecture?
Before working at Agritecture, I had more than 15 years in different aspects of agriculture. My experience ranges from managing a 12-acre seasonal vegetable farm in CA’s central valley, to managing one of the first vertical farms in the US (located in the SF bay area). Additionally, I owned & operated a certified organic urban farm for 6 years and have taught agricultural education to elementary and middle school students for 5 years. My educational training is in agroecology, horticulture, and business administration.
What is one of your favorite projects?
Agritecture worked on a project in Kosovo last year, working with local greenhouse producers. It was fascinating to see the methods that they use in an environment with limited resources. I enjoyed working on this project because I think that the recommendations that we made can really improve the success of these small operations.
What part of controlled environment agriculture excites you the most?
I think that CEA has the capability to increase production efficiency greatly, improve working conditions for agricultural workers, and allow field agriculture farmland to be returned to systems that will better sequester carbon.
Where do you hope to see the industry in 5 years?
I hope that in 5 years the CEA industry will have achieved the following:
A strong trend towards CEA operations running on green electricity. We know that CEA is more energy-intensive than outdoor agriculture so it is very important where that electricity is sourced.
That many of the CEA technologies will be democratized so that they can be operated in a financially viable manner by people all over the world.