Michael Barron, senior plant scientist at AeroFarms, likes intricate problems. It’s that uncommon preference that got him interested in agriculture while studying environmental science at Harvard. And it’s that uncommon preference that’s seeing him through the task of perfecting the growing process at the world’s largest vertical farm.
The 27-year-old from Lafayette, Louisiana found out he had been nominated for the Forbes 30 under 30 list for science via email, but he didn’t know if he had made the list until it went live on the Forbes site.
“I had heard that the list was out and I went to check to see if I knew anyone who had made it. When I got to the Science sector, I said ‘Hey! I know that guy!’.”
See his Forbes listing here:
Michael got his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard and holds two Master’s degrees. He holds a Master of Science in Plant, Environmental Management, and Soil Science from Louisiana State University, and will graduate with a second degree in Data Science in May, which he earned from Indiana University Bloomington while working at AeroFarms full time. He was one of the first ten hires of a team that had grown to over 100 now.
Growing up in an urban area of Louisiana, Michael had no exposure to agriculture as a kid, but he was drawn to the immense effect of agriculture on our natural resources. His interest in land use and passion for detail served him well while managing the USDA’s organic acreage and livestock database while earning his first masters.
“There’s a huge environmental footprint that comes with any type of agricultural production – the amount of land use, the energy inputs, the chemical inputs, the greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture,” he said.
He also noticed that no one had really shaken things up in agriculture for decades.
“The sector seemed so intricate to me, and it hasn’t really evolved since the green revolution. There haven’t been the leaps and bounds made in order to feed the growing global population.”
He says that working to grow the impact of technology that can decrease the amount of land needed for agriculture and help to save precious natural resources drives his commitment to AeroFarms.
We couldn’t be prouder of Michael for being recognized in this way, but we’re not at all surprised – we see his talents and curiosity everyday.
See the full Forbes 30 under 30 list at www.Forbes.com.