Indoor Ag-Con speaker Kendell Lang is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fusion Farms. Fusion Farms is an innovative hurricane-protected aquaponic and hydroponic indoor vertical farm designed for the re-utilization of vacant or abandoned buildings in Puerto Rico. The indoor vertical farm has been in the formulation stages for decades, starting from Mr. Lang’s Bachelor of Science degree in biology from college where he completed his senior thesis on aquaculture. That early exposure to technology innovation applied to nature has kept alive the vision and passion which today has culminated in Fusion Farms.
Mr. Lang’s personal background:
Indoor Ag-Con speaker Kendell Lang grew up in the Skagit County of northwest Washington state. This is a community where Agriculture is still the largest industry with revenues of more than $300 million. The revenues are generated from local farms comprising more than 90,000 acres and employment consisting of picking fruits and vegetables. Among them, blueberries, raspberries, tulips, daffodils, pickling cucumbers, specialty potatoes, apples, cucumbers, strawberries, and green beans. Of all his summer jobs, his favorite was a stint as a tractor driver and pea combine harvester. He vividly remembers jumping off the tractor, grabbing a bunch of pea pods, jumping back on again, and munching his way through the freshest peas possible. The fresh grassy smell of the peas embedded a lifelong connection to farming.
As a child, Lang remembers days at Grandma’s house, picking fruits, berries, or vegetables at the local u-pick farm, before gathering for an evening meal featuring something from the harvest. One day might be jam from strawberries or apple sauce, another might be canned peaches or green beans. If it wasn’t fresh out of the ground that morning, then it was canned from some previous harvest. He remembers stacking cans in his grandma’s underground garage which doubled as a makeshift root cellar, which was just the right temperature to store the tinned foods over winter.
Looking back on the way he grew up – close enough to smell the peas in their shells, to wash the dirt from the farm off his hands after a day’s harvesting, to admire the views of miles and miles of flowering tulips and daffodils, and to taste the fruits of his labor at dinner every evening – Lang realize how far we’ve managed to distance ourselves from our food sources. It was this foundation that kept Lang a hobby gardener throughout his professional career, as well as being a constant researcher keeping track of agriculture technology advances.
Mr. Lang’s professional background:
Mr. Lang is a former Managing Director of Corporate Real Estate at KPMG Peat Marwick, the world’s largest professional services firm, and managing director at BDO Seidman, the international accounting and consulting organization. He also launched The BioPlex Group, Inc., which ultimately became Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE), and helped launch BioMed Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: BMR). His businesses grew and evolved into two of the leading providers of real estate and real estate services to the life science and university communities. From an initial concept seeded by Lang, the leadership of the management team has proven that a special-purpose REIT was the right vehicle to meet the needs of an emerging market. In January 2016 BioMed Realty was acquired and taken private by Blackstone Real Estate Partners for $8 Billion.
Mr. Lang has consulted in every segment of corporate real estate occupancy and has built an expertise to meet the needs of corporations in acquiring or developing facilities for use as pilot plants, wet labs, research and laboratories. 22 of the Fortune 50 companies and numerous other Fortune 500 companies throughout the U.S have engaged him.
Mr. Lang has a Bachelor of Science in Biology (BS) from Pacific Union College and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). He holds numerous certificates of completion for various platform specific software applications. He is also certified as an Emergency Responder for city-wide emergency operations. Kendell enjoys surfing, golfing, mountain biking, roller hockey, water and snow skiing, cooking and extensive international travel. He most recently became a Certified Aquaponics Designer through the International Aquaponics Association.
Mr. Lang’s philosophical background:
The shift to mega-farms and global food distribution has already happened and people have become disconnected from their food sources. Most kids today don’t know where their food is actually grown, how fruits and vegetables get to the grocery store, or how few nutrients actually remain once they’ve arrived. With postage-size lots on homes crammed together in massive urban sprawl, not many people have space or the time to maintain home gardens and, all in the interest of “progress”, people have allowed themselves to become dependent on a food system about which they know virtually nothing.
The Fusion Farms Mission
The key event that kick-started Indoor Ag-Con speaker Kendell Lang’s journey of discovery and of learning about food sources and nutrients was when his wife was diagnosed in 2001 with glioblastoma multiform or GBM. With 95% of patients perishing within a year of diagnosis, GBM is considered the very worst kind of brain cancer. It was a horrific experience but it motivated our family to learn about organic, raw, non-GMO, pesticide-free, and herbicide-free food sources and how, in spite of the abundance we see on supermarket store shelves, it’s incredibly hard to find fresh nutritious produce that actually meets that description. When his wife passed away in 2007, the impact of that loss put Lang on a mission to focus on food as medicine which ultimately became the seed for Fusion Farms.
It is a part of our mission with Fusion Farms Puerto Rico to not only reduce the Puerto Rico’s dependence on imported food and to become “Food Sovereign”, but to promote “Food Security” and encourage healthier diets with hyper-local, high-nutrient food production through education and awareness throughout the world so no one’s food travels 1,500 food miles. Our current food system is seriously failing our communities and we intend to be IMPACT Players to change that situation.