By: Jessica Jones, Horticulturist – AVA Technologies Inc.
Can you tell us a little bit about AVA and the project you are working on?
AVA’s mission is to help anyone, grow anything, anywhere. By putting the “Byte”, our smart hydroponic garden, in every home we aim to shift society’s preference away from cheap, mass agriculture to more local, nutritious and sustainable options. My role at AVA as the Horticulturist in the Plant Science Department is to research and experiment with new plant varieties and analyze plant growth to determine similar growth requirements to offer in future “pod packs”. I create “growing recipes” – a perfectly catered lighting spectrum, photoperiod and watering plant schedule – to optimize plant growth for our developers to implement software into our smart garden so that the user has a seamlessly automated growth. In addition, I create plant-related blog, video and app content to further support plant growth such as growing and harvesting tips and plant growth duration.
What sparked your interest in the Clean Leadership Professional Internship program?
The opportunity to work in a growing industry in Clean Technology and specifically sustainable agriculture sparked my interest in the Clean Leadership Professional Internship program. With Clean Leadership’s support, I have been able to contribute to not only a local and national influenced sustainable food economy, but even an international impact – a very rare opportunity in agriculture! I look forward to continuing my work in the agricultural technology field to help build a more sustainable food system that uses less water, no chemicals, and provides anyone – even urban apartment dwellers – the ability to grow from seed to plate.
What has been your favourite part of working at AVA?
Overall, I have enjoyed the young, passionate and hard-working team of professionals from a diversity of backgrounds who have similar interest in food and cooking. AVA has the best company culture I have ever experienced in a workplace with flexibility in schedule, supportive team members, and the freedom, independence and trust of others team members to start new projects. I have learned so much and loved the variety of tasks of both scientific plant research, creative skills for plant innovation and content creation.
How has the work that you are doing influenced your interest/knowledge of the environmental sector and/or clean technology?
Coming from experience in small-scale, high-intensive outdoor soil-based organic vegetable production, this position has opened many doors into the world of Agricultural Technology – the future of agriculture! I have learned a lot of knowledge with hydroponic growing or water-based agriculture and am excited to contribute to a type of agriculture that supports the conservation of water – a precious resource excessively used in traditional agriculture. I have also learned so much about hardware and technology development in relation to plant growth and software and app development to support customers in successfully growing plants.
How has this experience helped you shape and/or work towards your career goals?
This opportunity has given me the knowledge and experience in a collaborative, fast-paced start-up environment for my career goal to transition from outdoor market farming to indoor urban agriculture that uses hydroponic and LED growth. After spending six years working in rural soil-based agriculture, I wanted to contribute to a more non-traditional form of agriculture that uses even more sustainable approaches than I experienced working on and owning a certified organic high-intensive vegetable and oyster mushroom farm as well as gives the ability for not just farmers to grow food, but anyone anywhere.
To learn more about the Clean Leadership Professional Internship program, visit our webpage.