July 14, 2016
See the Forbes article for this episode here – posted 7/22/2016
Thanks to global supply chains, we can enjoy fresh and beautiful produce in the dead of winter. But our addiction to year-round produce causes big environmental issues, so our guest Eric Ellestad wants to rethink this paradigm. His company, Local Roots, is manufacturing self-contained high-tech hydroponic farms in shipping containers, which produce the equivalent of 5 acres of produce with 97% less water and half the energy of a traditional farm. His mission it to fix the global food chain, and they are developing a wide array of technologies in the process. But their desire to protect the IP they are developing raises an interesting dilemma, given their desire to scale their impact around the world. Meanwhile, they have just taken on several big customers including SpaceX and they are racing to meet their high expectations.
About Eric Ellestad:
Eric Ellestad is the Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Local Roots. He is the product of a 4th generation family-owned manufacturing company that is the North American market-leader for refrigerated semi-truck trailers. After spending his early career at the family business, he became an angel investor and built a portfolio of early stage companies that are commercializing technologies around food, water, energy, and logistics. He serves on the board of two companies and advises across the portfolio. In 2012, Eric helped launch a hydroponic control systems company which set the stage for Local Roots by introducing him to the challenges and opportunities surrounding indoor farming.
Eric received his B.A. in Applied Mathematics, Economics and Pre-Medical Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and studied Supply Chain Management and Technology Commercialization at USC Marshall School of Business. He currently lives in Redondo Beach, CA and spends his free time playing soccer, surfing, hiking and is training for an ironman.
Local Roots: http://www.localrootsfarms.com/
Eric Ellestad’s profile: http://halcyonincubator.org/fellows/eric-ellestad