Jenna A. Bell: Sustainable Indoor Farming to Maximize Quality Fresh Food Production
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hi folks! I’m Spiffy, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth, back with a new guest. Jenna A. Bell, the SVP of Research and Development at Sensei Ag, is committed to making a difference in the world. Let’s see how she’s doing it!
Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Jenna! What challenge are you addressing through your work at Sensei Ag?
Jenna: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! To answer your question, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables varies dramatically around the world with some regions having few, if any, choices. Climate disruptions, land scarcity, and droughts exacerbate the issue by making it difficult to grow food outdoors. Our aim is to efficiently and sustainably farm indoors—in greenhouses or in structures with the lowest viable impact on the environment—while maximizing the production of consistent, desirable fresh food.
Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?
Jenna: I spent my entire career promoting the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by emphasizing how good they are for your health. All the while, fruits and vegetables have been inconsistent, often expensive, and unreliable. With Sensei Ag, I'm focused on making fruits and vegetables flavorful, consistent, and reliable so that people eat them because they are so darn great. The aim is to improve their experience so that they want to eat nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?
Jenna: My role is to push a team of plant scientists and farmers to take their experience and know-how to find the best varieties of food crops to grow indoors. Then, they have to figure out how to grow them with less resources and energy while maximizing what makes consumers happy: taste, experience, and shelf-life.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Jenna—it’s been an honor!
Jenna A. Bell is a registered dietitian, former professor in Medical Dietetics, with a career in the food industry, communications, and marketing; now leader in high-tech agriculture with the sole purpose of growing more delicious fresh food. (Nominated by Lindsey Brannon at Rainbow Produce. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 24, 2023.)
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.