Just past the one-hour mark of CubicFarms AMPLIFIED I appeared on camera for the third and final time. Over the course of those 20 seconds, my goal was to communicate how passionately I believe in the new industry category, local chain ag-tech, being launched at the October 21 event.
As CubicFarms’ Chief Marketing Officer, I’m immersed in the brand: metrics, KPIs, taglines, and on it goes. But AMPLIFIED wasn’t about branding a business. Rather, it was about kick-starting an agricultural revolution fuelled by unique indoor growing technologies that empower farmers to produce local food sustainably, in any climate, 365 days a year. We’re not just branding, we’re creating a whole new industry.
My approach to marketing is based on passion, and passion needs fuel. And there was no better fuel for that 20-second clip than a business trip I took to Utah. There I was, standing in the middle of a herd of cows, talking with Rigby Cattle Co. owner Mike Rigby about whether his generation would be the last to raise cattle on the rolling prairies around us. It was an inspiring moment. Here was an authentic, Stetson-wearing farmer explaining that he’s using our indoor commercial-scale HydroGreen Grow System to overcome drought conditions by growing fresh livestock feed right on his farm. Local chain ag-tech was helping to save his family’s livelihood and legacy, and that realization brought me to tears.
It was also an “a-ha!” moment. To match the real-world impact of local chain ag-tech, AMPLIFIED had to focus on the genuine pride, excitement and passion of CubicFarms’ innovators, supporters and customers. Only then would it motivate others to take action, be it a struggling farming family, an investor looking for a company that is truly transforming agriculture, a retailer dealing with inconsistent food supply, or a potential employee wanting to join a team that is on a mission to end food insecurity and combat climate change.
While filming the AMPLIFIED presentation, I knew we had captured the right footage when an answer gave me goosebumps. While we travelled over 7,000 kilometres to 15 cities, I kept wondering, “How is it that the world doesn’t know how bad things truly are for our farmers?” This question made me work even harder with my team to capture and share farmers’ stories.
Ultimately, the scope and scale of AMPLIFIED was unlike anything the ag-tech industry has seen. Its four simultaneous events included a public virtual event attended by more than 1,900 people, two team events in B.C. and South Dakota, and an in-person VIP event in Pitt Meadows, B.C., that included guided tours of the CubicFarms Innovation Centre and EcoDairy. Guests had the opportunity to see our patented Crop MotionTM Technology and HydroGreen Grow System in action, and sampled the kind of exceptionally fresh and nutritious “ALLWays Local” produce that’s now available in select B.C. supermarkets.
I was hired by CubicFarms to be a change agent. With my insatiable desire to differentiate businesses, I joined this team because what they do matters. Our indoor growing technologies are not only better, they are different. We are changing how food and animal feed is grown now and for future generations. Our CubicFarms and HydroGreen teams are on a mission to give commercial-scale farming independence back to our local farmers. We are rallying the world to transform agriculture so farmers keep growing for generations, yet sustainably. As Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield said while speaking at AMPLIFIED, “You are moving the bar; you are pushing technology in a direction that it needs to go…It’s the technology the world absolutely needs.”
As satisfying as it was to see the proceedings go off without a hitch, the feedback from the audience remains my greatest source of pride. Colleagues, investors, customers and members of the media shared how surprised they were by the event’s emotional impact.
Agritecture founder and sustainability expert Henry Gordon-Smith, who spoke at AMPLIFIED, could hardly contain himself: “WOW! Your event was SO AWESOME! Congratulations on a smooth and high-quality virtual and in-person event. I found it extremely interesting and effective. Your brand, tech, customers, and team all shone. Really excited to see you grow local chain ag-tech!”
The founder of Techcouver, Rob Lewis, emailed me to say “This event is awesome – so well done.” In a world where “Zoom fatigue” is only too real, this means a lot.
Marketing something is one thing, but changing behaviour is vastly more impactful. It’s hard to disrupt a supply chain one farm at a time, so we are working hard to create local-chain networks of farmers, restaurants, food distributors and supermarkets. Consumers today are demanding more transparency on the origin and health of their food, so industry buyers are keen to find suppliers of consistent high-quality produce and nutritious fresh livestock feed.
Our biggest challenge is the scale of what we’re tackling. We’re not just launching new technology; we’re transforming our food and feed production system. To disrupt established supply chains and traditional outdoor farming, we are working hard to educate farmers, produce buyers, and investors about the many benefits of growing locally indoors, and to demonstrate the efficiencies and sustainability measures of our technologies.
Watch CubicFarms AMPLIFIED for yourself, and the importance of our revolution can’t be denied. I sincerely hope you join us. And if you still need convincing, get your boots on and I’ll put you in touch with Mike Rigby.
Sandy Gerber is the Chief Marketing Officer of CubicFarm Systems.
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