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School of Graduate Studies

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School of Graduate Studies

Transforming a Trent Business Degree into Growing Business

Ripple Farms CEO Steven Bourne '09 works to nourish the globe, one locally-produced meal at a time

His official title is CEO and co-founder. However, Steve Bourne wears many hats while operating Ripple Farms, a company that recently brought Canada’s first urban farming unit to Toronto’s Evergreen Brickworks—demonstrating that nutritious, sustainable food can be grown anywhere to feed anyone.

“Every day is a little different, but it always starts and ends with a smile,” says the Business Administration and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems graduate. “Knowing we might have a larger impact in the global landscape with regards to our changing climate is something that drives our business forward.”

Sustain. Contain. Repeat.

Ripple Farms is a social enterprise that tackles food insecurity through educational programs and production of nutrient-rich produce with an energy efficient hydroponic/aquaponic vertical container system. Creating their own ecosystem, plants feed on ocean-wise certified tilapia excrement. The plants then filter the water for the fish.

Ripple Farms plans to expand to a large-scale facility that will feed approximately 100,000 people three times a day per year. From there, they hope to partner with institutions to create facilities in communities in need across Canada, providing nutritious food and good jobs. Mr. Bourne wants to show the world how a community can become self-sufficient and replicable across the globe.  

Having also sold a unit to a local college, their system is growing food and serving as a research and innovation hub for other future farmers.

“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in such little time,” stated Mr. Bourne.  “We keep our heads down and focus on the critical path.”

Shaping the World

“At Trent I was lucky to meet amazing people who truly shaped the way I see the world and what I should be using my talents for,” he stated. “I thank my lucky stars that I ended up at Trent University.”

Mr. Bourne feels small class sizes, professors with real-world experiences, and interactions with local businesses drove his entrepreneurial endeavours into something tangible.

“I saw Trent as a place that prepared me to follow my passion and ultimately tackle real-world issues.”

Posted on December 11, 2017