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CubicFarms creates scientific advisory board to guide future projects


March 19, 2021
By Fruit and Vegetable

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On March 18, CubicFarm Systems Corp., a local chain agricultural technology company based in Vancouver, announced the appointment of a scientific advisory board (SAB) to guide and advise CubicFarms in developing future projects.

The SAB, comprised of experts in the fields of agriculture and technology, is primarily responsible for making recommendations regarding research and development priorities. By combining the substantial expertise of the SAB with the expertise of the company’s internal research and development (R&D) team, CubicFarms is well positioned for advancements in ag tech.

“We’re proud to have an accomplished and diverse group of scientific and research experts as the members of our scientific advisory board,” said Dave Dinesen, CubicFarms’ CEO. “This world-class team of scientific advisors bring their significant knowledge and expertise in land use, controlled-environment agriculture, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and data analysis.

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“They understand the complexities of navigating issues like food waste, and they’re committed to finding solutions to the real-world problems of food scarcity and food security. This will significantly contribute to our local chain ag tech solution to convert the industry’s traditionally long and unsustainable food supply chains.”

Inaugural members of the SAB include:

Lenore Newman (SAB Chair): Director of the Food and Agriculture Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley, where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment. Newman’s research includes agricultural land use policy, agricultural technologies, and bioengineering in the food system. She was a member of the British Columbia Premier’s Food Security Task Force, sat on the B.C. Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve, and regularly speaks to government and community groups.

Tammara Soma: Assistant professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management (Planning program) at Simon Fraser University and research director of the Food Systems Lab. Originally hailing from Indonesia, Soma conducts research on issues pertaining to food loss and waste, food system planning, food access and the circular economy. She is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Food Waste and co-founder of the International Food Loss and Food Waste Studies group, a global network of food loss and waste researchers and practitioners. Soma was selected as a committee member of the U.S. National Academies of Science and co-authored the consensus study A National Strategy to Reduce Consumer Food Waste.

Laila Benkrima: Director of program development for the new agriculture technology program at Simon Fraser University and director of LB Plant Biosciences Research and Consulting Inc. Benkrima has extensive experience in research, training and teaching horticulture techniques and as a crop consultant to greenhouse and farming operators. She has been responsible for the planning, development and creative problem-solving of various projects from plant micropropagation and functional/medicinal crop cultivation to hydroponics and laboratory design. Benkrima has experience in advising various types of agriculture, horticulture and biotechnology-related projects in commercial production and resource development. She provides specific experience in working with micropropagation, a technique widely regarded as the preferred option for large-scale commercialization of many economically important crops.

Evan Fraser: Professor at the University of Guelph, director of the Arrell Food Institute, a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. Fraser helps lead the Food from Thought initiative, which is a $76.6 million research program based at the University of Guelph exploring how to use big data to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint. He works with large multi-disciplinary teams on developing solutions to help feed the world’s growing population. He co-chairs the Arrell Food Summit and manages the Arrell Food Scholarship program, as well as the Arrell Food Innovation Awards that deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to groups that have made tremendous impacts on global food systems.

In addition to these members, the SAB will also include current leadership from CubicFarms, including Leo Benne (founder), Tim Fernback (chief financial officer) and Edoardo De Martin (chief technology officer).

“With the support of our Scientific Advisory Board, our efforts will continue to advance our fresh food production in the CubicFarm System as well as fresh livestock feed in our HydroGreen Grow System,” Dinesen added. “We need the best and brightest in the industry working together to solve food security issues. I’m confident this team will provide innovative and educated recommendations that will evolve our technologies and transform agriculture and food production globally.”