October 23, 2016
AeroFarms team member makes LinkedIn Next Wave list for professionals transforming food
Justin Zabilansky is bashful about being included in LinkedIn’s Next Wave List for Professionals under 35 who are transforming food, but he’s glad to be able to represent his team.
“It’s a cool way to show what AeroFarms does and what kind of opportunities it provides. I’ve put in a lot of work over the last year and half and it’s nice to be recognized for that, he said on a short lunch break on a busy day.
Justin is a Biological Engineer at AeroFarms and that means he’s in charge of interpreting how the plants grow in different environments. With each harvest, we collect more than 30,000 data points and Justin and his team are tasked with learning everything they can from those data points.
Justin graduated from MIT in 2015. After an internship at a major pharmaceutical company (Justin originally thought he would go into medicine), he realized that he wanted his work to positively impact the environment.
“I’ve always had a passion for farming and living off the land, and preserving what is already there, so AeroFarms was a natural fit,” said Justin.
He gained an appreciation for natural resources growing up on his family’s farm in Connecticut. Justin’s father was an “environmental cop” as he calls it. When Justin was growing up, his father worked for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and instilled in him the idea that the environment was not only precious and important, but also needed protection.
“We had a pretty big farm, a garden, and an orchard when I was little. Whatever stuff we had surplus of we’d bring to farmers market down the road.”
In AeroFarms, Justin found a job where he could combine his passion for environmental stewardship with some serious physics.
“I’m a physical thinker – I think in physics terms and that helps me get to the root cause of why things happen. The physics of why an interaction happens or why a system behaves the way it does…” he said. “The opportunity to apply methods that haven’t been traditionally used in agricultural data collection and applying them on a large scale is really exciting.”
Right now, Justin is on the team making sure that the greens growing in the world’s largest vertical farm are reaching their full potential. For, at the end of the day, Justin says he truly enjoys “just watching plants grow. “ It’s a good thing.
Check out Justin on LinkedIn’s Next Wave List here.