Farmer Charlie’s Space-Powered Smart Agritech Platform
Betty Bonnardel and I share a unique connection to the Alps. In 2015, I traveled to Northern Italy’s Dolomites to research my family history. Before coming to the United States, my ancestors tended small apple orchards and vineyards carved into the side of steep mountains. At the same time I was conducting this research, Betty Bonnardel was visiting apple orchards on the French side of the Alps — a trip that would inspire the creation of her new space-based smart agritech startup, Farmer Charlie.
A 25+ year space industry veteran and chair of SSPI’s U.K. chapter, Betty found a passion to bring state-of-the-art, low-cost connectivity to farms that grow crops for sustenance and local distribution. This connectivity will provide farmers with vital information about their fields — information that is impossible to access using traditional farming methods passed down through generations. By providing this access to space, Betty believes farmers can grow healthier, higher-quality crops and sell their produce at a better price.
During this episode of On Orbit, I spoke with Betty about the challenges of delivering space-based connectivity to local farmers, such as convincing farmers to trust new and unfamiliar tools, the lack of connectivity infrastructure in these regions, and getting tech partners to invest in direct communication with individual end users.
We’ve talked about the benefits of smart agriculture in past episodes on a much larger scale. In this interview, Betty shares incredible stories about how her space technology platform has already improved the lives of individual farmers in Africa and Europe.
Farmer Charlie is currently looking for partners in software and app development and satellite service. If you’re interested in helping Betty’s cause, visit Farmer Charlie’s website, read the case studies and contact the team directly.