What future shall we build?

 
 

When I look at the future, I see massive potential and opportunity to shape a world that is better than the one we know today. There's a lot that must be done with controlled environments to create that better world. Below you’ll see the strides we’re making and the things we’re learning about the future of farming. . We're just at the beginning, but we’ve achieved great things already. There's so much more to come.

 

Let's take a look at our horizon.

 
 
 
 

01. Explore

 

2015
Learn to grow mushrooms

The first step was to get into the mind of the mushroom to figure out what makes them tick, how sterile labs work and what mycelium is. This led me to create  a mushroom fruiting tent in my spare room for 9 months. By the end, I understood the mycelium and its needs. And, with enough successes and failures under my belt, I realized that we could do more together.

 
 
 
 

02. Conceive

 

2016

Build and prototype a unit that grows 7 lbs./week

Endless days and nights are spent learning how to work with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, the different sensors, modifiers and code to build a controlled environment for mushrooms. It paid off and led to a partnership with the good people at Google. We prototyped onsite in their cafeteria for 6 months and grew 7 lbs. of mushrooms per week. This step has given us proof us concept, and Google gave us a broken fridge for our next experiment. The opportunity to partner with them was a tremendous step along our path.

 
 
 
 

03. Develop

 

2017

Build and prototype a unit that grows 50 lbs./week

This brings us to today. We're modifying a reach-in display cooler to grow 50 lbs. of mushrooms per week. Our first grow was a round of King Oysters. With this unit comes new features like water recovery, filtration and reuse, air filtration, heating, and CO2 sensing. We’re also getting our web app up and running to control, monitor, and optimize our grow. As we move into our next stage, this unit will become our R&D unit to test new mushroom strains, first up, Chicken of the Woods!

 
 
 
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04. Grow

 

Build large indoor farm system to grow and sell fresh mushrooms.

Now to make this machine learn! To continue iterating on hardware and software, we need a dedicated space to do it. We will build multiple enclosed spaces in a storefront space to scale the system to the size of a small farm. This space will allow us to continue our R&D, build brand awareness and consumer education, while making early and consistent revenue from sales of fresh and dried mushrooms. 

 
 
 
 

05. Populate

 

Change the way people experience purchasing mushrooms.

This part has kept me awake at nights. With the small farm running, we'll open it up to the public. We will change the game when it comes to the mushroom purchasing experience. Imagine the cheese counter at a high end grocer. Now imagine instead of bries and goudas, it's Oysters, Enokitakes and Lion's Mane growing right in front of you. Select, harvest, weigh. As fresh as mushrooms get.

 
 
 
 

06. Spawn

 

Build in-house spawn lab to service units and subscribers

Supporting previous steps and preparing for the next one, we'll build a massive spawn lab. By building our own lab we can control inventory, quality, fulfillment logistics, recipes and margins closer to home, with a dedicated staff. These will be shipped to our grow units all over the city, state, midwest and beyond.

 
 
 
 

07. Engage

 

Environment control product for mushroom farmers

Taking everything we've learned and iterated on until this point, it's time to help farmers grow more mushrooms. We're gonna put Noko in their hands and see how it works, how it doesn't and how it gets hacked beyond mushroom farming. Then we'll listen, learn and evolve.

 
 
 
 

08. Manage

 

Crop management software for mushroom farmers

By now the environmental software will be humming along and it will be time to add more robust backend support to our software, including crop and inventory management, farm resources, along with cleaning and maintenance scheduling. This is where our ability to mine data from multiple data points will allow Noko to evolve rapidly.

 
 
 
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09. Scale

 

Build mushroom farm ready for mass production

We now have a complete software package built out and have iterated through all sizes of hardware, from box to the large fruiting unit in our own space. Next, we're going to take all of that knowledge and concentrate it into the future of mushroom farming at scale. We're going to build the smartest warehouse you've ever seen.

 
 
 
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10. Empower

 

grow food in food desserts

Like I've said before, and the Beatles said before that, all you need is love. We're going to create food and jobs in places where both those are hard to come by. Food is not a privilege, nor is making a livable wage. We're gonna make stand alone, exterior units for the remote areas and non-remote (but somehow still a food desert) areas. Empowering folks to become self-reliant just might be my favorite drug.

 
 
 
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11. Explore

 

Grow food in space

And when we're done with all this great stuff here on earth, we're gonna find a new place to play and continue building the future. Whatever exoplanet we land on, we gotta eat something when we get there.

 
 
 
 

Wanna help?

 
 

This is no small task. I'm reminded of that every time I ask someone to chat or look over my plans. Small tasks are for the birds. I'm here to change the future for us all. I have not been there, but I can see it. And I need help to get where we're going.

Help comes in all forms. It often looks like brains, money, talent, skill, strategy, advice, connections, hustle or creativity. And we're gonna need a bit of it all to get there.

I'm talking to you. Wanna shoot the moon with me?

roman@sojournfare.com