Bringing It All Together: Blue Planet Consulting Rebrands as Agritecture Consulting
I’m elated to announce that Agritecture and Blue Planet Consulting will formally merge into one company, Agritecture LLC. Since 2011, when I first founded Agritecture.com, I’ve had big dreams for how agriculture could be integrated into the built environment. Now, with this merger, our team will be more equipped than ever before to master the art, science, and practice of our trade.
I’m now writing to you all to address the how, what, and why of this merger:
How: Two things got me to this point: persistent hard work and surrounding myself with phenomenal people.
In 2011, persistent hard work meant publishing on Agritecture.com as often as possible. It meant voraciously reading every bit of published material out there, synthesizing the information, and sharing it on the blog. It meant weeks learning CAD, plant science, and systems design just so that I could create the rendering for the BXVF, my thesis project at Columbia University.
Persistent hard work also meant getting hands-on experience by volunteering at Sky Vegetables. I learned a lot that summer about horticulture and design, and eventually applied what I learned in signing a lease to manage that facility.
However, one person’s hard work won’t go very far, so I surrounded myself with comrades who shared my vision for a future full of green and productive cities. In 2013, I co-founded the Association for Vertical Farming with Max Loessl and with guidance from my mentor, Dr. Dickson Despommier. Together we began building a network of organizations who can communicate and collaborate as a unified movement.
In 2014, an opportunity arrived to converge what I was learning and who I was meeting, and thus I founded Blue Planet Consulting with angel investor Jeffrey Tucker. Mr. Tucker took a big chance on me when he decided to back BPC, and he continued to believe in me as I navigated the high seas of small business leadership. I will be forever grateful for that trust and support.
Things weren't always easy, but slowly we began to hire more of the exceptional folks who power our company. We’re now at 9 full-time consultants including horticulturists, engineers, designers, business managers, sustainability managers, and operations directors.
I’m so proud of my dream team for their skills and work ethic, their vision and their perseverance, their commitment to sustainability and community. Our staff has a tendency to go above and beyond, providing legendary service to our clients. We’ve developed an efficient and jovial team dynamic that improves our careers and our quality of life. This can be evidenced in the team loyalty – I’m grateful to say we haven’t had a single full-time staff member leave the company to date. People matter more than technology or business model. My mother, and HR guru, Rostya Gordon-Smith taught me that from a young age.
In addition to developing our team and data, we’ve mastered our methodology. Everything from lead vetting, to client onboarding, to conducting feasibility studies has been iterated on. We’ve honed in on our processes, which is why now it is again time to push ourselves beyond our collective comfort zone. I’m confident that this merger will help bring about new clients who will expand our impact to more cities and people across the globe.
Finally, everything we’ve worked for physically comes together at our glowing new Brooklyn office. While I have fond memories of our cozy former office, the new larger space allows us to explore our creativity and learn from our industry colleagues. For example, this year at NYC AgTech Week we’re displaying LED’s from 8 lighting vendors, four +Farms, a giant custom farm, a living wall, an augmented reality solution, sensors, controllers, and dosers. This innovative equipment makes our industry tick, and we’re thankful to all the vendors who have sent us their equipment to display. Thanks to you all, we’ve built a one-of-a-kind ‘agritecture’ showcase that attracts new entrants to the sector in ways a standard conference or networking event never could.
What: So what will change and what does this merger mean?
Well, previously, Agritecture was just a blog, while Blue Planet Consulting was just a consultancy. While the two always operated as sister companies, the family of companies will now converge to create a greater positive impact`.
That means that the blog, the workshops, the conferences, +Farm, and the consulting practice will all be under one unified roof. This will radically streamline the structuring of new partnerships for our various endeavors moving forward, and will help simplify our branding and communications.
Why: Blue Planet’s primary consulting service has been feasibility studies for indoor vertical farms and greenhouses.
We’ve learned a lot working with over 30 clients including Farm.One, Sky Vegetables, Project Farmhouse, and Square Roots. We’ve helped these companies avoid common mistakes, we’ve challenged their assumptions, and we’ve brought years of data to their projects.
The work we did with these clients incubated our ideas and abilities, but they were all primarily focused on efficiency, ie: growing as much as we could with as few resources as possible. However, not all urban farms are solely about profit or efficiency ― many are established with equal or greater goals of social cohesion, environmental restoration, or food justice. Others are created simply to inspire. The term ‘agritecture’ inclusively allows for many possibilities, which is why it was important for us to brand the new entity as Agritecture Consulting.
With this new brand, we’ll be better equipped to design high-performing agriculture amenities for new types of clients. Clients who are just opening their eyes to agritecture concepts: architecture firms, real estate developers, universities, grocery stores, hotels, and utilities companies to name a few. Bringing our two companies together further reinforces our commitment to an innovative yet practical approach to urban agriculture.
Conclusion: I’m incredibly lucky to have so many extraordinary people helping me realize my dream.
Together we are developing the art, science, and practice of integrating agriculture into the built environment. Now, we invite you to engage with us and work together to transform our cities into the sustainable ecosystems we believe they can become.