S6E78: Brandy Keen / Surna’s - From Cannabis to Controlled Environment Food Production
Vertical Farming PodcastDecember 19, 2022x
01:01:4656.54 MB

S6E78: Brandy Keen / Surna’s - From Cannabis to Controlled Environment Food Production

Episode Summary

Brandy Keen is the Co-founder & Senior Technical Advisor at Surna, an organization that designs, engineers and manufactures application-specific environmental control and air sanitation systems for commercial, state, and provincial-regulated indoor cannabis cultivation facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Today, Harry and Brandy discuss the origins of Hydro Innovations and their acquisition by Surna, the powerful impact that controlled environment agriculture has on the world’s water supply, and what the future holds for the growth of the cannabis industry.

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Key Takeaways

07:06 – Brandy Keen joins the show to discuss the value she’s gotten from her experiences at conferences like the AgTech & Brazilian Harvest Conferences

10:21 – The origin story of Hydro Innovations and the decision to focus on climate management

16:06 – Engineering & Cannabis

19:34 – A strategic acquisition: Enter Surna

23:36 – The growth and maturity of the cannabis industry in recent years

26:37 – Surna’s offerings and ideal clients

29:30 – An increased interest in food production

34:43 – How the proliferation of new technology is shifting the cannabis industry

36:54 – Brandy speaks to her time with The Cannabis Sustainability Working Group

39:02 – Lessons in food production via vertical farming and why indoor farms fail

44:54 – Brandy speculates on the endless possibilities of controlled environment agriculture

49:42 – A tough question Brandy has had to ask herself recently and something she’s changed her mind about recently

51:38 – Brandy speculates on the future of the CEA and cannabis industries

54:45 – Harry thanks Brandy for joining the show and lets listeners know where they can go to connect with her and learn more about Surna

Tweetable Quotes

“There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to climate systems, in particular, in cultivation facilities. Sometimes there are ten different ways you can do it and none of them are wrong.” (21:03) (Brandy)

“It’s interesting because somebody asked me, ‘what brought us to pivot from cannabis to food?’ And, my answer was that there was no pivot. We’ve always served the indoor cultivation market. And food just didn’t exist at the scale that cannabis did. So it was really just a product of the existence of a market, not of us consciously making a decision to also do this other thing.” (28:22) (Brandy)

“I think that in the food industry, folks are a lot more open to technologies that can drive down operating costs as opposed to in the cannabis industry where they can be a lot more wary of changing the way they do things.” (32:09) (Brandy)

“Traditional agriculture uses somewhere between seventy and ninety percent of the world’s water resources. And, if you are cultivating in a completely controlled environment, your plant doesn’t consume water. It uses water as a delivery mechanism and then transpires that same moisture right back out into the space. So the ability to recapture and reuse water and reduce or eliminate runoff entirely in an indoor cultivation facility, that could be hugely impactful to water resources in the world, especially when you start going places where water is exceptionally scarce.” (45:27) (Brandy)

Resources Mentioned

Brandy’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandy-keen-14651017b/

Surna – https://surna.com/

Surna Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/surnacultivationtech/

Surna Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/surna

Surna LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/surna-cultivation-technologies/

Surna YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGM4KwXBq4buUz6xDMcCRlw

Surna Twitter – https://twitter.com/surnaofficial

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