Podcast

08 - How can we bring agriculture back to the city? ft. Henry Gordon-Smith

January 14, 2020

Henry Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies. In 2011, Henry started exploring urban agriculture and launched the blog “Agritecture” to share case studies and analysis from around the world.   And in 2014, Henry responded to a global need for technology-agnostic guidance on urban agriculture by launching the advisory firm Agritecture Consulting which has now consulted on over 100 urban agriculture projects in over 20 countries.   Agritecture Consulting primarily helps entrepreneurs with vertical farming feasibility studies, recruiting, and systems design. Henry has spoken on the topic of urban agriculture in 4 continents and has been interviewed about urban and vertical farming for the WSJ, Futurism, Men’s Health, Bloomberg, The Atlantic, Arabian Business, CNBC, and many more.

Pinar Guvenc  00:01

Hello everyone and welcome to the eighth episode of What's Wrong With: The Podcast. My name is Pinar Guvenc and I'm the managing partner of Eray Carbajo, an award winning Architecture and Design Studio based in New York and Istanbul with a mission of creating concepts that address urban, social and environmental problems. Today we have the privilege of talking to Henry Gordon-Smith. Henry is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues and emerging technologies. In 2011, Henry started exploring urban agriculture and launched a blog Agritecture to share case studies and analysis from around the world. And in 2014, Henry responded to global need for technology agnostic guidance on urban agriculture by launching the advisory firm Agritecture Consulting which has now consulted on over 100 urban agriculture projects in over 20 countries. Agritecture Consulting primarily helps entrepreneurs with vertical farming feasibility studies, recruiting and systems design. Henry has spoken on the topic of urban agriculture in four continents and has been interviewed about urban and vertical farming from the Wall Street Journal, Futurism, Men's Health, Bloomberg, Atlantic, Arabian Business, CNBC, and many more. Hi, Henry, welcome to our podcast. It is lovely to have you here. 

Henry Gordon-Smith  01:23

Hi Pinar, thanks for having me. 

Pinar Guvenc  01:25

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to what you do today. Well, I'm a passionate sustainability leader. I really care about the environment and how we can solve problems in it. And when I was in my undergraduate degree, I identified some challenges as it related to food security, and our resilience as we face more climate change and issues related to that. So I was passionate about this and I decided to start a blog called Agritecture and 2010, 2011. And I started blogging about various types of urban agriculture. They're trade offs. The blog became quite popular, I started speaking at events, I started doing workshops to share more knowledge. And in 2014, I started getting consulting requests from entrepreneurs, and organizations that needed data to plan urban farms to respond to this issue. And there was no urban agriculture consulting firm at the time, I was working globally and was working across the various types of urban farming. So we started Agritecture Consulting, and we've been advising around the world, helping anyone anywhere, develop feasible plans for urban agriculture and implement successful operations. And I'm very proud of our team. We've been able to do 110 consultations to date in over 26 countries. Wow. And you're saying 2010? What was the conversation even back then? Right. Like when you talked about like vertical farming? Were people looking at you puzzled or like, Where was the conversation? Do you recall?

Henry Gordon-Smith  02:51

Yeah, urban agriculture. You know, most people think about community gardens when they think of urban agriculture or maybe rooftop farms, and around 2010 that was really most of the discussion, and I was looking at Vancouver where I was studying and you know, what was the potential to grow food in that city. And my estimates got to about 1 to 2% of the demand if we converted rooftops and vacant spaces into soil-based urban farms. And then I started looking at well, is there a technological solution to this and I started looking at rooftop greenhouses that provide year round production opportunities, or vertical farms, which were, at that point, just very conceptual and very kind of architectural and, and, you know, pie in the sky kind of ideas. So the technical, the technical knowledge around vertical farming wasn't really available then at all. And so yeah, as I would promote various types, and all of those types were discussed on our blog, you know, I get different reactions and a lot of people reacted to vertical farming as Oh, that's crazy- carbon footprint or, you know that that would never happen or farmer saying that that doesn't make any sense or even like established industry leaders in the Netherlands, for example, where they, you know, they really know how to grow indoors. Greenhouses were very critical like that will never work. And it's been really interesting to see how everything has kind of shifted vertical farming as this most, I would say most extreme type of urban agriculture is now becoming more popular, it's getting investment. City leaders are creating policies around it, research institutions are building their own. So and even the Dutch themselves are becoming major leaders in vertical farming globally. So that's really shifted. So it's been really kind of fun and exciting to see all the new players that have come in since those early days, how the technology is improved, and how the perception of it has changed as well.

Pinar Guvenc  04:38

Can we go back to the why, like, why do we need to do this? Like what are some of the problems you see around not only like sustainability, but also food production?

Henry Gordon-Smith  04:48

Well, I think that there's huge a huge list, long list of problems in the food system that need to be solved. You know, I think, you know, we can we can talk about Australia a little bit right now considering what's happened with the fires there. But you know, the majority of water being used is for agriculture, and most of agriculture is for meat. And that's a huge part of why these droughts are happening. And that needs to change in the face of increased temperatures with human induced climate change. So I think one part of it is water, you know, can we can we grow more vegetables? And, you know, can we grow them using less water? Now, obviously, meat consumption needs to be solved. Urban agriculture doesn't necessarily solve that. But what it does do is it provides fresher, higher quality vegetables closer to the consumer, so that in theory, could increase the amount of vegetable consumption and the quality of it and the way that consumers feel about the value of that product. I think another problem is that we don't have- we're urbanizing. And so you know, our population has moved to cities, more than 50% of our population lives in cities. The MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050 80% of our global food supply will be consumed by urban dwellers. So we have this problem now where agriculture through the Green Revolution was pushed away from cities and into more centralized, efficient, very, you know, intensive types of agriculture. But that's disconnected the talent from the agricultural system, right. So the investment, the innovation, all these things that happened in the city, are now disconnected from this critical resource we need to survive. So one of the things that I get excited about is that urban agriculture creates a gateway for new talent to get involved in agricultural system. And so while the future isn't that all farmers will be urban, I think that many new farmers will start in an urban context or a peri-urban, near the city context. And so I think that will start to solve that problem and, and some of the data you know, we really need to act urgently because you know, in the US, we've had 30 years of increasing age of the US farmer, it's about it's over 60 years old now. In Europe, it's over 60 years old. In Australia, it's also in the high 50s 60s. So the developed world has really created, you know, a lack of enthusiasm for young people to become agriculture leaders and urban agriculture can respond to that by bringing it closer. I think another argument is, especially with these controlled environments, is, as I said, water savings, but also protection from storms, that can happen, you know, Georgia saw about $4 billion in losses because of hurricanes to their agricultural system last year. So as this technology improves, there'll be new ways to create other resilient systems, more crops, more varieties that could be grown indoors as the technology advances. And maybe that's an unfortunate thing we have to do to respond to climate change, that we have to use more equipment to grow food than just doing it outdoors. But I hope that the benefits of less water you know, better bottom line for the farmers is the automate with this technology will help to balance that off. So those are some of the problems we're solving through urban agriculture.

Pinar Guvenc  08:12

I think this is fascinating in a you gave such a great overarching like reasons why we should be doing this because like, as you know, an architecture studio that is practicing internationally, we see a lot of skepticism around like, first of all people do not understand the depth of and you know, you're even talking about like, little, like officially 10 years now that you've been talking about this, but still it even though there's a great growing awareness around it's still a fairly new conversation to have in the industry. And we all know real estate industry is a very lagging industry anyway. And you know, in practice, we see this and we see a lot of skepticism around like the perception is more like this is a trend, it just looks nice, or the conversation may be around food. But it's impossible to grow the amount of food that a city needs anyway. Whereas I think there's a lot of missed opportunity or misunderstanding on how it can have, not only in terms of like fresh food production, but what you were also mentioning, in terms of engaging the city or having sort of like a gateway into the agricultural life because I feel like we're so disconnected from our food in general, we don't understand how it's produced today, whether that is animal farming or vegetable farming. And that leads to sort of poor consumption, no? Like because we don't relate to it. We don't understand and there's a global problem of consumption, which is also feeding to more of the food problem.

Henry Gordon-Smith  09:48

Absolutely, you get it. Those are the reasons why I'm so motivated to do this. And what Agritecture is about is really empowering various groups to understand the data and understand that they have choices. You know, when we bring agriculture back to the cities, I'm saying back because we used to always build our cities with agriculture in mind. We never used to build buildings without the resources we needed to survive. And so, you know, as we're bringing that back, we have to really be careful that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past and say, oh, vertical farming is the solution. That's the future of agriculture. We need vertical farms everywhere. No, that's not true. We need to bring agriculture and integrate it to make the built environment productive again. That means you could have a better opportunity to do that through soil based systems, greenhouse systems, floating farms, basement farms, vertical farms, you know, maybe it's about biodiversity. There's really so many different types of impacts and trade offs. With all these different types of urban farms. What Agritecture does is we analyze the models, structure them, and then create different ways for audiences to benefit from that. So our clients get that through concept development and feasibility studies. Our audience gets that through free knowledge on our blog, we have workshops where we help people understand how they can understand and identify the kinds of farm that would be good for them. And we're actually working on a new digital software, which would be beneficial to architects and developers, which allows them to estimate the 10 year economic projections of different types of urban parks.

Pinar Guvenc  11:20

Wow. And to sort of like give awareness to all of us and all the audience listening to this to, can you and we understand there's really no like solution to anything without a very much of a collaborative effort with between like different backgrounds, like diverse education. And as you come in as a consulting position to you sort of oversee the entire team that needs to make this a successful project. So can you walk us through like, what disciplines you see working in order to make a successful project a vertical farm within a city, in addition to obviously the end person, developer and the architect. Like, what does that process look like?

Henry Gordon-Smith  12:03

Yeah, I love this question. First I'll talk about the teams. You know, early on as I started thinking, you know, as I was blogging, I started thinking about what is the dream team to build an urban farm and I narrowed it down to really six professions. One is the entrepreneurs you mentioned, because I believe that if it's not profitable, it's not sustainable. And I believe in the power of business solutions to these sustainability challenges. And that applies to agriculture as well. You need a grower, someone with horticulture experience who can bring those best practices and science. You need an engineer because there's a lot of equipment related to this. You need an architect because of the urban context, you need to consider social, environmental, you know, urban considerations or design considerations. You also need a marketing professional. Sales and marketing are super critical in successful farms that a lot of farms focus on the technology or the operation and they missed the sales piece. So that has to be there. And then you also need a sustainability manager. This is really understanding the inputs and outputs of the whole system. You know how how those can be reduced and again, connecting that to circular economy and the urban context of these various resource flows. So I think with that dream team, what we did is we said, let's build workshops where we actually recruit professionals from these teams, we call them agritecture, workshops, agritecture design workshops, and we've done them in 13 different cities around the US and one in London, United Kingdom. And it's fun because we bring the teams together, we build three teams with all these professionals I mentioned, and they work together to share ideas to develop the concept for specific sites. On your next question, which relates to the process, you know, we've broken it down to a step by step methodology, where you begin with concept development. Then you go into market research to understand crops and pricing that you find to analyze your site. Then you design your farm. Then you do your economic planning as it relates to that design. And then you build your project project plan to build, and make sure you get all that equipment, go through permitting and get the project developed. So that's our feasibility study methodology that, that we think that can be, you know, beneficial to anyone looking to start an urban farm.

Pinar Guvenc  14:18

I think what you mentioned in terms of marketing is so, so crucial, like, you know, we have heard of a few great projects around the world, one actually being in Netherlands, that a commercial building incorporating aquaponics, which I want to get into a little later. And then we heard stories of them going bankrupt, which is generally like the starting point where if you start trying to have a conversation with a developer in terms of vertical farming, that's where they would start the conversation because they would, they're risk averse, and they want to point out anything that has gone bad around it. But I don't think nobody talks about the marketing angle of it. Like it It's not enough to just build it and have it like, maintain. And there you go, right. Like there's a huge like, like it's opening up a store, you can't open up a store and just like expect for customers to walk in. So can you talk a little bit more about that? I think there's like a conversation that doesn't take place much where people just- it's easy to give the, like failed examples. But people don't necessarily talk about the reasons why.

Henry Gordon-Smith  15:26

Yeah, I think people are really tough on agriculture and urban agriculture, especially, you know, nine out of 10 new businesses will fail. So I don't know why we're so tough on this new approach. It's not like, it's not like every single internet company has been successful, right? But we still believe that we should invest in internet and technology companies. You know, think of the number of apps that fail, that doesn't mean that we're not investing in apps or developing apps. So you know, restaurants, most restaurants fail, but we still do that. So I think I think it's important that people are a little bit less tough on just, you know, urban agriculture as being across the board unsuccessful because there have been unsuccess stories, and instead start to focus on how can we assess the potential for success? Or how can we reduce the risk of failure? And that's what our business does. Right. So I think, you know, that skepticism is okay, to an extent, but it's really about finding the right match. I think that, you know, context matters. And I think that, you know, there's a lot of examples of failed farms that just focused on on a technology or on a static or on, you know, what worked outside of the city that might work in the city without thinking about the true value of an urban farm, which is that there's, it's a premium experience, it's a higher quality product. And so you need to really think about who's the customer that's going to pay a little bit more for that if you're going for a commercial farm, who's going to pay a little bit more for that and what did they want, you know, and you need to survey these people, you need to have focus groups with these individuals, you need to look at your competitors, just like any business or starting any business plan, that's what's needed. And I think, you know, a lot of times what farmers have done in the past, they've said, Okay, well, this is what the soil can provide, or this is what my climate can provide. So this is what I'm going to grow. And that's part of the equation too, when you bring it to an urban area, your space limitations or climate, but that other pieces that you're so close to the customer, that what they want matters a lot more. So there's there's really a lot of examples of people or businesses starting around the technology or, you know, their existing knowledge and really, really missing the point of market research.

Pinar Guvenc  17:43

Yeah, I couldn't agree more like it's basically like any other business, right? Like just because something failed, doesn't say anything necessarily to the technology or the system or the idea behind it. It straight up could have been only the team's lack of planning in terms of funding or like sales, like you've mentioned. So I think we have to really, really be aware that this is an entire operation. Like you can't just get it up and running and then accept, expect for it to, like, maintain on its own or serve on its own. You know, it's like a engine like it has to keep on going and working. And people need to recognize that. So let's, let's leave the skepticism and all the like bad examples. People try to throw us out there like you. You've consulted over 100 projects. What are some great examples you want to tell us across the globe that are trying to do this right.

Henry Gordon-Smith  18:38

Yeah, I think one example that I think is really, really interesting that relates to some of the topics we've talked about is Square Roots. This is a project between Kimball Musk and CEO Tobias Pegs in Brooklyn. It started as a vertical farming accelerator. So you know, imagine 10 entrepreneurs each get a farm and they have to build their business around that. But the sales are all around a single brand, the Square Roots brand and it was really exciting working with Square Roots and their team to think about how that brand could really respond to the the needs that urbanites have for more transparency around their food system, and more real food. And what Square Roots is able to really do effectively is to attract people to come to the farm and see the technology and meet the farmers, and then buy the product at a higher price, a premium price. And they were able to raise five and a half million dollars after we we got them set up and they've expanded to another market this year or last year. So that's a success story. That's really exciting. And you know, they're still a startup, but they're doing very well and we're really excited to see them grow. And I think that that's a good response to the kind of, you know, the excitement about urban agriculture, both from the entrepreneurs and the consumers that care about local, real food. So that's why I think they did a great job. And then Farm One is is a kind of a different example. It's in New York, it's in a basement, I think it's a great example of how you could take unused spaces that are really not very valuable and turn them into productive, profitable businesses. So Farm One kind of converts these urban spaces into really high end, Michelin Star level, you know, chef farms, and they've been able to be successful in scaling up for their first location, and they serve over 11 Michelin star restaurants. So that's, I think, very exciting as well. You know, other work that we've done that's been pretty impactful that isn't just about individual farms is we recently completed a best practices handbook for greenhouse growers in Kosovo. And, you know, these are often greenhouses that have been built a long time ago, that haven't benefited from the emergence of advanced technology. And so we were able to go to Kosovo work with USAID, and and really support hundreds of farmers that have greenhouses to to maximize the value of them with emerging technologies and more best practices, so we're excited about that impact. And you know, some of those are urban, some of them are less urban. But that kind of it's it shows you kind of a bit of the broadness of what we do. I'm really excited about a project in Manila, Philippines. This is a company called Next Level Farms that developed a container. They contacted us, they said, we've kind of done our pilot. This is a pretty common journey as people, you know, entrepreneurs build a pilot, and then they need to scale up and make it more efficient, but they don't have the technical expertise to do that yet. So we're able to design their next version of their container and really improve efficiency and some of the investment ROI across the board. So really excited to see you know, that company utilize the technology recommendations we've made there and expand on that. In Europe, we worked with, you know, kind of, I would say a lower, you know, prestige client. This is a typical entrepreneur that wanted to build a vertical farm and found a parking garage that they were able to get a deal on. Were able to help them design and install the first kind of commercial vertical farm in Sweden there. And it's really exciting to see how they've kind of taken what we've taught them and, and gone and a lot of different directions. You know, Urban Oasis also installed small systems in restaurants. And they've been able to really work with some of the big retailers there, which has been exciting. Yeah, so that's so there's some examples. There's a lot more on our portfolio on our website, you can check it out. But really, you do a lot of variety.

Pinar Guvenc  22:29

I love the variety. And I especially love you talked about like working with farmers too. And you know, even though the conversation here is on like urban agriculture, it is still so important to keep that bridge between the cities and the suburbia, just because you...exactly what you mentioned before. So much of the innovation and technology is still happening from cities and there's this gap of...there would be this gap of knowledge or communication even if there are companies like yours, or professionals who try to bring that technology into the more like rural agricultural practices, or try to bring that practice into the city. So I think that like, bridge work is also so, so important. And it still speaks to how the cities or anything in urban settings can have impact on the rural life. So I actually love that. So even though like we have still a lot more road to go on urban agriculture, and there's so much more of that growth potential, let's talk about some other trends that you think are gonna sort of have impact on the food production or any like urban farming practices, like we always talk about, for example, in the future as we have more driverless cars, there will be less parking and more farming in the cities and that's what we envision for future mixed-use buildings as you talked about, like converting basement into farming and I couldn't agree more like in our in our heads like almost all the parking spaces should go into like either being a farming facility or maybe more like retail use for the city dwellers. So what are your thoughts on more like future practices?

Henry Gordon-Smith  24:17

Yeah, I think there's a lot of trends that I've observed that are really accelerating us forward. I think one is the climate change and the urgency of that in certain regions. Like the Middle East and Asia, it's really forcing a lot of these new systems to accelerate. I think another one is food safety, and food transparency, which I mentioned. So there's been a lot of food safety scares in the US. So people really want to understand where their food comes from. And they want more data on that they want more assurance that they're not going to get E. Coli when they buy lettuce from the store? So, you know, there's been three food safety scares with, you know, leafy greens in the United States, I believe in the last 12 months. So it's a pretty significant issue, people have died from it. You know, and people do get sick from it. So it's it's something that is driving the industry to move more indoors and some of the technology as well. I think another, you know, kind of mega trend is is retailers and corporations wanting to, you know, brand themselves and get in on the interest of consumers and local agriculture. So, you know, there are a lot more companies who are changing their procurement strategy to say we need X percent to come from local farms. So that's going to accelerate the need for these urban farms and the business case around some of that market research and those customers that we talked about earlier, that's so important. So if there's more customers asking for it, that's going to make the business a lot easier. I think other mega trends relate to really the technology you know, automation technology is advancing rapidly across various sectors, those sectors around automotive, or even sectors around you know, the data behind managing B systems, AI machine learning, as that advances that benefits agriculture as well, and it benefits these these high cap x farms that really need to manage things in a very efficient, tight environment. And they already spending a lot of money on capital costs with lights and cooling systems, etc. that there there will be a future where more automated farms will exist. And and that's a mega trend that's really driving a lot more interest from the investment side into these kinds of farms. I think other trends, as you said, on the urban context, you know, I agree parking garages, available spaces is going to be a big part of that. But I think also, you know, urban heat island effect. Biodiversity needs, the role of biophilia in our health, and basically human-centered cities are going to require more of these these systems as well to be to be integrated. And I hope that that promotes a lot more of the soil-based and low-tech approaches to it and not just the high-tech ones because I think those can be quite beautiful. And Paris i think is doing a good job at encouraging both green spaces at urban farming spaces as they focus on biodiversity for example. But also as another big one. I mean, I think, I think the other piece is really just social entrepreneurship and the continued rise of, you know, the kind of millennial idea that you can make money while changing the world. And urban agriculture fits that so well, that I think it's going to continue to attract new talent and new ideas to the space.

Pinar Guvenc  27:35

Yeah, and I think that also the current and upcoming generations just demand more transparency and just, you know, good environmental and social practices within any corporation. So that's going to sort of push either like equity holders of cities or even like food companies to sort of incorporate that into their business model. That's so right. Well, I guess like, for example, the safety hazards that you mentioned, like those are really cruel way to sort of awaken people. And it allows for awareness. We don't want it to be that way. But still people become more aware of the food...problems around food. But again, like we always say, you know, there is really no solution to any problem without educating the end user. Because as long as the end user demands for these, it will push the industry, it will push policy and everything will follow afterwards. So what are some, you know, aside from the world's like food hazards happening, what are some efforts that Agritecture does to raise more awareness around the issues and how we can solve those issues? Yeah, I think the main way we do it is by providing the most comprehensive free content through our blog on a consistent basis. We publish both articles from other sites, add custom content, and our website is full of resources. With research articles to back up the need for this and also some of the technical means to do this. Our workshops have been a way we engage with our digital community in person, and and also do that. We're we're trying to accelerate it even further with a digital platform called Agritecture Designer, which is now in beta and being tested right now. You can sign up if you want to express interest in agritecture.com/designer. And what this is going to do is, it's going to really democratize some of the basic economic data that's needed to think about how do you develop a site into an urban farm profitably. So it's a free concept development tool to begin with. What kind of farm should you build and what are other farms similar to your idea? And then, for subscription, you can build an unlimited number of urban farming projects and business models. That's amazing that like, I feel like that could be even like a children's game in the future. You're building your own farm online now, like future Lego!

Henry Gordon-Smith  30:03

Yeah! We've got some feedback that we should do like a Farmville kind of thing with it. You know, in the end, we really believe in the potential for businesses to do this. But I do think that students will benefit from this. For example, architecture students that are trying to make the concepts more realistic could use this to get actual yield numbers, and actual payback numbers, which I think will will also improve the way architects think about agriculture in the city. But developers could use this if they're saying, okay, you know, how much could I rent my roof for, to an urban farmer, they could calculate that, for example. So we're really excited to see how people use it, and I'm just I couldn't be more excited to launch it. Our team has been working so hard on it. So it's really exciting, but it's coming out soon.

Pinar Guvenc  30:48

I love that I love it's like Farmville for professionals and I think, you know, it can even...I'm sure you'll get more and more of this in the future. Like obviously, if you start you know, raising awareness At a young age, it's even better. So I would even love seeing like younger children like, Oh, I'm building my own vertical farm and sort of like exploring that idea. 

Henry Gordon-Smith  31:08

Well, some of them do it in Minecraft, like there's some really cool Minecraft urban farms out there. So you know, people are doing it even without a platform for it and like I grew up playing SimCity and you could you could download a vertical farm for SimCity. And, you know, I was really excited when you could do that. It's not through Max's you could do it through one of their their, you know, other websites. So that was that was really fun. 

Pinar Guvenc  31:33

And so I guess like as a final note I would love for, and as someone who has started from scratch where even like people were barely having any conversation around this. I'm sure you know, you've come such a long way and you're doing great. I'm sure you're tackling dozens of challenges every day on a daily basis. I would love for you to give like a either general advice or a few small advice to other progress makers. Whether it's this field or in other fields, we're trying to either raise awareness or make more progress towards a problem. Yeah, I mean, I've, I have a, an article on my LinkedIn that kind of answers this question. It's called How To Be An Agritect. And, you know, I'm The Agritect on social media. So, you know, I think there's a couple different steps that I like to recommend, you know, one is, you know, you need to understand the data around your field, if it's anything in sustainability, you know, what are the key players? What are the performance metrics? What are the successes, the failures and you need to build an archive of information, that's your, your, essentially a toolbox you can pull from to be a legitimate contributor to the dialogue. And so I think that's a really important first step is, is creating a research practice and how do you store the knowledge that you have so you can access it- your archive. I think another one is just really about growing your network, you know, and I think a lot of people network in a way that's like, I'm, I need something for that partially to connect to that person. The way I like to network is I like to think about what I can give first. And then it puts me at a position of confidence to ask for something later on when I need it. So try to think about what you already have that you can contribute to other people to grow that network. The third pillar is really get hands on experience. And you know, before you, you, you make the leap to build a business, try to do something that you can do in your free time that allows you to get experience. So I started volunteering at nonprofit urban farms, because people weren't really taking me that seriously at the beginning, because I had never worked at a farm. So I was able to, you know, build that experience and that confidence, which again, gave me more content, more experience and things to talk about when I was networking. And I think to kind of bring those three pillars together, you really need a brand. You need to think about who you are and what you want to put in the marketplace. And I my mom is a really great brand ambassador and HR director and she taught me a lot about building a quality brand. I think that people underestimate that a lot. And I think you have to really invest in that. And if you bring those things together, you know, I really think you can be successful not only in urban agriculture, but any kind of social entrepreneurship piece. I think that methodology applies across the board. That was such an amazing answer. So thank you so much, Henry. This was such a treat. We're really glad you were able to join us!

Henry Gordon-Smith  34:23

Thank you so much for having me! Really fun speaking with you Pinar. 

Pinar Guvenc  34:26

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