In this week’s news cycle which seems to be filled with ever-more-scary headlines, it can be hard to look anywhere but the eye of the storm. However, if you want a break from COVID-19 news, we’ve rounded up some food tech stories to peruse while you’re social distancing.
This week we’ve got stories on safer pesticide coatings, climate-friendly snacks and a very personal way astronauts can sustain space agriculture.
Astronauts can recycle urine to increase crop production
Space travelers preparing for multi-year journeys already know they’ll have to recycle their urine to make drinking water (yum). But this week IFT reported that that urine could have another use to help sustain astronauts over long missions. Researchers at Wageningen University & Research have successfully completed an experiment showing that struvite, a component found in human urine, could be used as a fertilizer to accelerate crop growth on potential farms on Mars.
Crop Enhancement raises $8M for sustainable pesticide spray
Crop Enhancement, a startup making a sustainable alternative to pesticides, raised a $8 million Series B this week. The round was led by Spruce Capital and Xeraya Capital, with participation from Davinia Investments, Alexandria Ventures, and existing investors. According to AgFunder News, Crop Enhancement is using a type of material that hasn’t been used in agriculture thus far, and is able to protect a plant for six to eight weeks. The startup will use the new funding to start trials testing the effect of its spray on a new range of crops including grapes, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Planet FWD raises $2.7M for regenerative snacks
Planet FWD, a new startup founded by the co-founder of pizza tech company Zume Pizza, just announced that it had closed a $2.7 million seed round (h/t Techcrunch). Planet FWD makes sustainable snacks out of regenerative ingredients in order to combat climate change, and its first product will be a cracker made from ingredients that regenerate soil health. The round was led by BBG Ventures with participation from Cleo Capital, Cowboy Ventures, Kapor Capital and others. It’s unclear where the product will be available or its pricing.
We’re trying out a new periodic feature for food tech news called People Moves, where we track the career moves of those in the food tech world. If you know of an executive move, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gunders to Lead ReFed. Dana Gunders, long known for her efforts to raise awareness about food waste, has been named the Executive Director of ReFED, one of the world’s leading organization’s focused on reducing food waste.
Ken Zhang Joins HotSpot Cooktop. Ken Zhang, former director of platform for smart cooking platform SideChef, has went on to become Chief Product Officer at HotSpot CookTop.
Doug Evans Becomes Author. Ex-CEO of founder of Juicero has a new gig: author. He just published a books on Sprouts and says he is now a full-time author.