The team —
Mike Straight, Chief Executive Officer
Mike, the original creator of the FarmPod, started working with hydroponics 16 years ago. During that time, Mike also raised and maintained an extensive variety of both freshwater and saltwater fish. It was the marrying of the two that got Mike interested in the aquaponics movement. When Mike found aquaponics five years ago, he realized the many advantages that this technology could bring. He wanted people to enjoy the many benefits of aquaponics without the customer needing any technical expertise. He wanted to create a new relationship with food, one that would provide enough food to make a real difference in people’s lives. The idea of FarmPod was born.
Beecher Cotton, Chief Engineering Officer
Beecher joins FarmPod with extensive crafting knowledge and a passion to bring innovative ideas into reality. His art spans multiple mediums from shooting and editing feature length narrative films, sculpture, furniture and "progressive” carpentry. As a commercial sculptor, Beecher has worked on multiple projects as strange as 7’ car mounted ice cream cones, to building props for tv shows including WGBH's "Design Squad" and “Fetch”. Beecher’s work in media as a director of photography includes multiple projects with the DIY network as well as HGTV. The projects he worked on placed their emphasis not only on the newest building techniques with the Smart Home Jacksonville FL, design trends, with Dream Homes in Stow VT and Kaiwah SC, and salvage, with Joanne Palmisano's "Salvage Secrets” as well as DIYs blog cabin 2012 for which he received a telly award. Beecher’s interest in tiny/efficient living came while Living in Amsterdam in the late 90’s when he saw shipping containers being used for building for the first time. The next year Beecher prefabbed a 12x20 cabin, disassembled and packed it into a U-Haul. With the help of friends it was installed it onto a southeast facing ledge over 1/2 mile into the woods of Maine. Beecher's excitement to build a product that can revolutionize food production coupled with his and high level of fabrication experience makes him a perfect fit to the FarmPod team.
Anthony Abbate , board of directors
Anthony first became interested in holistic life styles and organic farming in 1971. He managed natural food co-ops on the East Coast and worked in conjunction with The New England Federation of Co-ops to bring natural foods from around the country to all the co-ops throughout New England. In 1981 he became interested in Natural medicine and moved to Santa Fe to study acupuncture & Oriental medicine. After graduating and practicing for 3 years he purchased Southwest Acupuncture College and along with his wife Skya developed and grew the small school into a three-campus college, graduating over a thousand practitioners and treating many thousands of patients in the college’s low cost clinics. They sold the school in 2012 and have continued managing the colleges. Anthony sees FarmPod as the future of farming. With its minimal to possibly positive impact on the environment, its ability to grow produce significantly faster than traditional farming in a considerably smaller footprint that can be housed in places where no farm could ever exist, FarmPod offers this with minimal time, labor and expense. Fresh healthy food (and fish) can be more accessible to everyone, especially the needy. He sees this as a major step forward in reducing and possibly even ending hunger in the world.
Alexandria White, Executive Coordinator
Alexandria brings a life long passion for the environment and her skills in sustainable business strategies to the FarmPod team. Surrounded by national forests and the great lakes, she grew up with a profound connection and appreciation for the natural world. From her first 4-H agriculture class to developing organic agribusinesses with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, her dedication to sustainability only grows stronger! However, her love for biology does not stop at ground level. After graduating from Western Michigan University in 2014, she traveled across Europe and South East Asia until finally reaching the Great Barrier Reef, where her work primarily focused on marine biology and conservation. A few years later upon completion of her Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic, she sailed to St. Croix seeking to utilize her valuable experiences within a team that shared her ambitions towards a healthier future for our people and planet. As an avid and always hungry vegetarian, she also loves being surrounded by fresh FarmPod food everyday and believes it truly is one of the best ways to “work”!