S1E3: 003 Stephen Pankhurst - Analyzing the Evolution and Profitability of Vertical Farming


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Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show process improvement engineer and vertical farming expert, Stephen Pankhurst. In this episode, Stephen talks about the origin story of his wildly popular YouTube channel, Exa Cognition, which touches on all things technology including vertical farming. He expounds on the barriers of entry, profitability and evolution of vertical farming.

Special thanks to our Season 1 Sponsor

IGS – https://intelligentgrowthsolutions.com/

Key Takeaways

  • 00:43 – Stephen shares his origin story and how he originally became interested in vertical farming
  • 09:25 – Stephen expounds on the time and energy that went into his YouTube channel dedicated entirely to vertical farming
  • 14:05 – Stephen breaks down the progress of technological advances in the industry and profitability of vertical farms
  • 20:29 – Stephen speaks to challenges, barriers to entry and the importance of light energy for vertical farming
  • 35:02 – The incredible growth of Stephen’s video series and his plans for the future of this channel
  • 49:24 – Where listeners can follow Stephen


“It’s very clear that it [vertical farming] does work and it’s working right now. There’s a lot of companies having success with it. And the question I wanted to answer was, ‘Can it really scale to the global level?’” (05:00)

“I guess you could say I get obsessive about certain topics and I kind of go all-in on them.” (08:52)

“A lot of things that really surprised me when I was doing the research is just how absolutely massive agriculture is. I mean it is truly vast. Of our habitable land, fifty percent of it is agriculture.” (24:25)

“When you first hear something crazy for the first time, you say, ‘No.’ And then, the more you start to hear about it, at some point it doesn’t matter that much about the data you provide. At some point, once you’ve been exposed to an idea enough, people tend to go, ‘Yeah, yeah. Of course that was always going to happen.’” (33:59)

“My initial idea for the channel…what I really wanted to do was to take the evangelists of a technology and the critics and put them together against each other so to speak.” (44:40)

Links Mentioned:

Stephen’s LinkedIn

Stephen’s YouTube Channel

Stephen’s Email

Books Mentioned:

Plant Factory



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