Darren Thompson, Chief Financial Officer at Bowery shares his perspectives about the indoor agtech industry from new crops, to expansion plans and the biggest challenges the company is facing.
What are the next emerging crops or markets you plan to explore?
Our agricultural scientists are innovators, working to commercialize produce previously considered out of reach to indoor ag. There are endless possibilities for new crops that will thrive in our indoor growing environment. In early 2022, that crop was Strawberries. But rather than release just one, we launched a Discovery Pack with two cultivars: Garden and Wild. I grew up in a small rural town, and in the summer, we’d go and pick wild strawberries. Bowery Strawberries strike that flavor memory for me every time. As far as what’s next – Bowery is working to expand our offering of more genetically diverse fruiting and vine crops and the next generation of wildly flavorful leafy greens.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing?
As Bowery continues to grow, we are facing the challenges that so many companies are reckoning with in 2022. I spend a lot of time thinking about the current inflationary environment and strategies for facing supply chain interruptions. Reimagining what a flavorful future tastes like is challenging work, but we’re a mission-driven team of problem-solvers who aren’t daunted by that challenge. No matter what 2022 throws at us, we are getting up each day to work toward our sustainability goals and to democratize access to fresh produce. One giant step forward is reducing our plastics footprint with our upcoming launch of flex film packaging with a peel-and-reseal top, which will reduce our plastic use by 45%.
What does a successful roadmap to national and international expansion look like for you?
It’s all about relationships. A successful roadmap includes continuing to build strong relationships with our customers, retail and ecommerce, and distribution partners. The core of that relationship comes down to this: Good for You and Good for the Planet. We want our customers to connect with the benefits of our products – to Feel Good about the impact of Bowery products on their health, on society, and on the planet. Customers may choose Bowery for taste, reliability, and the fact that our greens are pesticide-free, but there’s more: that choice has an impact on the planet, too. Our produce is grown locally, cutting down food miles dramatically, for example. And Bowery is committed to conservation action, including our recent partnership with The Nature Conservancy to support Rewilding efforts. Customers can learn more by scanning the QR code on our Earth Month packs now available in more than 1,000 grocery retail locations.
Where do you plan to be in the next 3-5 years?
Everywhere! We are building toward a national and eventually global footprint, with our products making up a significant portion of the grocery aisle. We also plan to fulfill our promise that Bowery farms make great neighbors, and as we continue to expand, to work steadily to be seen as a terrific community partner and employer, providing green jobs where no farming experience is required. And finally, Bowery will continue our technology leadership position. At the shelf, customers will see this in the form of genetically diverse fruiting and vine crops like strawberries and tomatoes, as well as the next generation of leafy greens and herbs.
Meet Darren and the Bowery team at Indoor AgTech this June. Katie Seawell, Chief Commercial Officer will share her insights during the Opening Plenary on ‘Advancing Sustainable Food Systems in Today’s Cities’ at 9.20am EST on June 23.