By Leisha Morrison
On a weekend girls’ trip to the Blue Mountains with 7 of my closest friends where we were expecting gentle strolls in the mountains, a hot tub and lots of wine, my mad-as-a-box-of-frogs Dutch friend, Marrie introduced us to one of the most innovative and interesting guys I’ve ever met.
Levi Nupponen is a Horticultural Scientist and co-inventor of a technology platform that links an intensive recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to certified organic horticulture. The technology transforms the waste from Barramundi (fish) into an input for organic vegetables that are then sold to supermarkets across Australia.
For those of you that have never heard of RAS linked horticulture (so, all of us), it’s very similar to the Aquaponics system, which has gained some traction recently on social media but with a few very important differences (which will be explained on the night of our next event!)
Now, you’re probably thinking what I thought on that hungover Sunday….it sounds disgusting and a bit fishy (sorry, Dad joke). But here’s the thing; there is no waste from any of the materials used on their farm, even the fish are sold on to premium food establishments across the country, so this whole system really is the most commercially savvy and also environmentally-friendly project out there.
How do they do this? Levi and his team have developed bioreactors and biological processing units that when combined with the data algorithms to manage these, turn waste from Barramundi grown on the farm into a food safe, biologically active nutrient solutions for use in certified organic horticulture. Put simply, this means no effluent or waste discharges into the environment and no synthetic fertilizers are needed to grow the crops. It is truly the way forward to producing completely organic and natural food using less water and land (both which are becoming much shorter in supply).
When I heard Levi’s story, I asked him if he’d consider coming to speak at Women in Data as I think, apart from being cool, this is a story of data facilitating massive change that will captivate those of you in the market. Whilst he himself is no mathematician, Levi has built an algorithm in SQL which gathers all the data that this system creates (temperature, timings, environment, durability etc) and uploaded it all to the cloud so that he can control this entire system by the click of his iPhone. Put simply, Levi has developed a system using science and data, which turns fish poo into a clean and efficient water nutrient-rich water source that sees vegetables grow so fast that at their peak, their Lebanese cucumbers can be picked twice in one day! This is literally the coolest sh*t happening in data, right now!
Levi will be talking on 26th October at Havas Media at Women in Data along with Imogen Hewitt, Chief Strategy Officer who has kindly agreed to offer her insight into Meaningful Brands and how making the link between sustainable businesses and greater commercial and marketing KPI success is key to commercialising any innovative idea such as this one.
She will address the study that shows the gap between purpose led strategies and proving they work for more than feeling good as well as the levers that create meaningfulness for consumers depending on category and geography, and the effect of that being on commercial and marketing performance. Imogen will discuss what Australian’s find meaningful and show us how you can learn from the brands doing the best job of this.
This is set to be one of the most interesting Women in Data events yet; a must for anyone who is passionate about how together, data and marketing can change the world!