May 10, 2023
(Re)Introducing Agritecture Designer’s Advisor Bundle with Luc Lalire
Recently, we relaunched Agritecture Designer’s Advisor Bundle to help our users plan successful and resilient controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facilities. This bundle allows you to make the most of our team’s extensive experience and knowledge in the field. The plan includes all the benefits of a Pro membership with a little bit extra. To learn more about how exactly this plan can benefit our users, we sat down with Luc Lalire, our Client Success Manager, to learn what makes it a great option for burgeoning CEA farmers.
To get a better understanding of Luc’s background, we asked him to discuss his role at Agritecture and what services he can offer to clients. In response, Luc said, “In this role, I have two main responsibilities. Firstly, I support our users by answering questions and providing guidance as they create and refine models on the platform. Secondly, I manage the Agritecture Partner Network. The partner network is composed of equipment and service providers that Agritecture has reviewed and endorsed as reliable vendors to CEA farms.”
“Some of our users said that they wanted additional support and/or guidance while planning their operation,” which is why Luc and the team decided to relaunch the Advisor Bundle. Often, users came to us with potential farm ideas, but these ideas were “too open-ended for a consulting project,” and required some more personalized attention.
Our team has extensive experience in the industry, from agronomy to sustainability to food systems management. “The Agritecture Designer Bundle is the equivalent of bringing an industry insider on as an advisor to your company. In addition to an Agritecture Designer Pro account, you get bimonthly calls with our team and the ability to request research and modeling services on an as-needed basis.”
“CEA is an infrastructure-heavy industry with relatively low margins. This means that for a CEA operation to be successful, the appropriate amount of capital is invested in the correct location, crops, and technologies. All of these decisions should be made in the planning stage with as much information as possible. This is where our Advisor Bundle provides its greatest value,” says Luc. By utilizing the resources within Agritecture Designer and the advice of our team, you can ensure the plan you create is detailed and avoids common pitfalls faced by operators.
One user of the Advisor Bundle, Khalid Shokair, successfully launched his farm, Bather Smart Farm, with the help of Agritecture Designer. Drawn by the prospect of producing high-quality food for his community, he began working his way through the educational content on AD. From there, Shokair and the team began building models of potential farm designs. Since he lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the majority of food is imported, water is valuable, and leafy greens do not travel well, we determined a vertical farm growing greens would be best. He then selected vendors from our partner network and reached out to gather quotes for his project. Today, Bather Smart Farm is a successful operation and Khalid is already looking to expand their business.
One of the greatest benefits of the bundle is its flexibility. “You can get advice on every step of your farm planning process, from the very earliest stages of education and market research to after you have begun operations. The ability to request additional work on-demand means you can access additional resources when you need them.” Agritecture Designer’s team customizes your experience, allowing you to make the most of the software.
In recent months, we have seen many farms shutter their doors because of challenges in the industry. Luc addressed this, saying, “When you are just starting out, especially if you are new to the industry, the amount of things you need to consider can feel overwhelming. However, decisions made very early in the process can still have major consequences in the final business. We are seeing this in the industry today, with many high profile CEA operations closing their doors.”
Despite the technology involved, vertical farming is still farming, and, at the end of the day, farming has never been a get-rich-quick business. “Many of these failures can be attributed, at least in part, to fundamental issues with their business model and farm design. Having advice from the start means you can learn from mistakes made in the past and not have to repeat them yourself.”
Luc is especially interested in how farms create and sustain community. “Running an indoor farm is a complex thing to do, even at a small scale. You will have to learn a lot and there will probably be a setback or two. If you are looking for an easy get-rich-quick scheme, look elsewhere. However, at the end of the day, I can’t think of a business that is more fulfilling than growing food and sharing it with your community.”
Reach out to our team for more information about Agritecture Designer and our Advisor Bundle!