The Grow Room: Ag Innovation w/ Indoor Farming
This episode, we delve into their mission to bring the community the freshest, locally grown food through innovative indoor farming. Join us as we discuss their journey, from surviving the pandemic to their exciting future plans. Our guests, Annie and Huey Boelen, share remarkable stories of resilience and passion in the world of indoor agriculture.
- John Deere Pre-Roll
- Today’s episode is brought to you by Pattern Ag, predicting pest and pathogen risk in your fields. Don’t gamble with your yields, go to www.pattern.ag today!
- Around the Room – why do you need a Farm4Profit conversation today?
- As hosts what are you most looking forward to with this guest today?
- Remind people to hit SUBSCRIBE – REMEMBER TO LEAVE REVIEWS
- Especially on YouTube
- Thank the listeners and launch into the introduction!
Guest: Clayton Mooney
Before becoming a co-founder of Clayton Farms, Mooney was a professional poker player in Ireland before returning to the state looking for opportunities to work for or found a start-up. He was a founder of KinoSol, which made solar food dehydrators, then connected with Pool to found Nebullam, now Clayton Farms. He now serves as an entrepreneur in residence with Start Something College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)
Guest: Huey Boelen - Huey B Cool
Immigrant from the Netherlands, former cricket and dairy farmer, lover of social media and great stories, and a great friend of Farm4Profit.
- Who is Clayton Farms?
- History, Mission, Vision
- “Bring you the freshest, locally grown food”
- Greens grown/harvested in an driven indoor farm
- Founded in 2017 - by Clayton Mooney and Danen pool
- Original concept of designing, building, and selling a new generation of indoor farming equipment, then licensing the software to run indoor farms to buyers to run themselves
- Built demonstration farm at Iowa State University Research Park
- Selling lettuce and microgreens to local restaurants when COVID-19 hit
- How did you survive during the pandemic? How did you receive business from other restaurants? Did this lead to doorstep delivery?
- Food harvest/grown in neighborhood
- No pesticides
- Harvested and delivered same day all year around
- What they’re growing
- Lettuce, radish, sunflower, beet, bok choy, pea, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, arugula, chard
- How the subscription works:
- Choose items → get delivery times → delivered to door-step→ reusable packaging
- Locations: Ames, IA and Twin Cities
- Twin Cities location
- Received keys to building to harvest plants in 8 weeks
- What made you come to the idea of your company?
- Did you grow up with an ag background? Where did your interest grow in ag? Did you have a greenhouse beforehand?
- Why Iowa?
- Agriculture state - accessibility to ISU researches and ability to hire ISU alumni
- Iowa’s startup ecosystem - Iowa State CyStarters and ISU Startup Factory
- Ag StartupEngine invested in Clayton Farms in 2017 - follow-on investment in 2019
- What other demographics would fit his company?
- Have there been challenges to selling people to subscribe? What promotions have you used?
- The Grow Room
- Launched in October 2022
- A space for founders to not only work, but collaborate and connect at the ISU Research Park
- Where do you see the impacting the community? What students are you seeing interested in it?
- The Restaurant at North Grand Mall
- What are you most excited for in the future?
- What did we miss?
- Summary and Challenge
- If you could go back to talk to yourself at age 18, what would you say?