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ecoation has been selected as one of ten Canadian semi-finalists in the Deep Space Food Challenge

ecoation’s expertise in plants as well as sensing, analytics and control technology to produce a variety of nutrient dense foods totalling over 500kg annually from just a 3m cubed in volume. The team will now spend the next year building a demonstration unit in North Vancouver for review for review by the Canadian jury panel as part of the next stage of the Deep Space Food Challenge.

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC November 23, 2021 – Canada is a nation defined by its bold efforts in science and technology. This has helped to answer some of the most fundamental questions about our planet and its place in the cosmos and continues to solve some of the biggest challenges facing humanity today including how we will feed ourselves while protecting the Earth.

ecoation is proud to be a part of this Canadian story, building innovative technologies to support Canadian farmers, and farmers around the world, running some of the world’s biggest and most sophisticated greenhouses. So when NASA and the Canadian Space Agency put out a call for innovative food systems that maximize safe and nutritious food outputs to help support long-term space missions Ecoation was well positioned to answer.

“Our approach to deep space human exploration is strengthened by new technological advances and diverse community input. This challenge helps us push the boundaries of exploration capabilities in ways we may not recognize on our own” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.

ecoation leverages our expertise in plants as well as sensing, analytics and control technology to develop the CANGrow novel modular polyculture indoor food production system that will enable long term space exploration. The system incorporates novel technologies in order to offer the widest possible variety of foods with optimal yield and minimal input. It grows a diversity of biologically efficient food products: strawberries, cherry tomatoes, two root vegetables, microgreens, four unique culinary herbs, mini-head lettuce, an algae superfood, and a mycelial meat substitute dubbed “space bacon”. The technology has the potential to provide a variety of nutrient-dense foods totalling over 500kg annually from a system just 3m cubed in volume.

ecoation was selected as one of ten Canadian semi-finalists in the Deep Space Food Challenge, a competition run by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.

“These types of food systems could offer benefits on our home planet,” said Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station Program at NASA and challenge judge. “Solutions from this challenge could enable new avenues for worldwide food production in resource-scarce regions and locations where disasters disrupt critical infrastructure.”

ecoation team has diverse experience in controlled environment agriculture ranging from plant biology and biochemistry to sensing, analytics and control technology and the practical challenges of farming at scale. ecoation designed and built machines are used worldwide today to help make farmers' lives easier and optimize yield. Project leads Gavin Schneider and Steve Humpston epitomize this expertise coming from the worlds of plant science and technology development.

Gavin Schneider is an agronomist and farmer with over 6 years of specialized experience in Controlled Environment Agriculture. “Being awarded this opportunity to build technology for future space exploration is incredibly meaningful. I have dedicated my career to creating and deploying technologies that help people grow clean food. This project brings together my interests in practical plant production and my excitement for human space exploration.”

Steve Humpston is a product designer and researcher with over 9 years of experience developing consumer electronics and robotics. “I believe the best ideas come from truly understanding user needs and using technology to build radically better solutions. I joined ecoation so my work could have a positive impact on the world and I am extremely proud to see our research and design work recognized as having the potential to not only change the way we live on earth, but also in space”

“ecoation philosophy and mandate is to combine human knowledge with machine precision in a platform that assists growers in production and protection of our food. We are proud that our thinking and approach manifested in a solution that can grow food beyond earth. It is an honor for all of us to be selected to be part of this effort.” Said Dr. Saber Miresmailli, Founder & CEO of ecoation.

Check out the full list of Semi-finalists of the Deep Space Food Challenge here:

About ecoation:

ecoation is an award-winning grower-centric platform that combines Human knowledge and experience with Machine precision and automation to increase operational visibility, assist growers, and enhance their decisions. Commercially available since September 2019, ecoation products can be found in greenhouses across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. With an experienced team of 60+ growers, scientists, engineers, and business professionals from all over the globe, ecoation is passionate about enabling a cleaner future and supporting growers in making the best possible decisions. At ecoation, we are on a mission to empower growers because we believe in doing so, we win together. More information at Find ecoation on LinkedIn,