When I was a young planner experiencing my first bout of market volatility, my wise mentor reminded me that people solve problems. Those three simple words have shaped how I view investing.
Even during what feels like the most challenging or hopeless situations, I remind myself often of these three simple words: PEOPLE SOLVE PROBLEMS. It's during these difficult times that some of the best ideas emerge and entrepreneurs are economically incentivized and handsomely rewarded for developing innovative solutions.
Let me give you a current example that is redefining agriculture in the United States. I recently learned of a climate-controlled indoor farming facility growing lettuce in South San Francisco that operates on only 2 acres in the city and farms vertically. This small facility produces the same amount of lettuce as the “Salad Bowl of the World”, which is a 720-acre horizonal farm 100 miles away in rural Salinas Valley.
Remarkably, South San Francisco's vertical farm uses 95% less water than Salinas Valley's horizonal farm while generating the same output.
Due to the tremendous success of the South San Francisco facility, this company is in the process of opening another vertical farming facility in Compton as I write this letter. In the middle of a global pandemic, 40-year high inflation, slowing growth and an (arguable) recession, this company is solving food supply, urban-planning and sustainability problems. So as you are enjoying your salad over the next few months, remember that people solve problems and that your lettuce is probably coming from a vertical farm.