Photo: Johannes Kroemer
Nick Donald ’07
Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer at Farmshelf | Distributed Agriculture
by Jim Collins
The Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Lakeside magazine featured "The Futurists," a gallery of forward-looking alums who, unconstrained by current assumptions, offer a view from outside the box.
BACKGROUND // Software engineer, consumer goods consultant, degrees in ecology and evolutionary biology.
HIS QUESTION // How can we expand easy access to nutritious food while dramatically reducing carbon footprint, water use, and food waste?
THE WORK // Co-founded Farmshelf (2016), a manufacturer of self-contained, hydroponics-based “growing shelves” that can be operated anywhere there’s an electrical outlet and Wi-Fi. Current offerings include leafy greens, herbs, edible flowers, and cherry tomatoes.
THE FUTURE // Currently, some 160 Farmshelf systems are in use in restaurants and institutional kitchens in urban centers from New York to San Francisco. In the future, these growing shelves could be scaled for home use and available wherever people live — including food deserts where fresh food is hard to come by.
IN HIS WORDS // "This type of growing your own is so much more efficient than traditional farming — energy-wise, transportation-wise, nutrition-wise. Some day, these shelves could be as ubiquitous in people’s homes as refrigerators are today.”