Upward Farms designs and operates complete ecosystems of plants and fish in vertical farms, supplying these organic products to local grocers. We are currently expanding and have recently opened a new cutting-edge, fully automated facility in Brooklyn. More and larger farms are in the works. Our mission is to heal the broken food system and reconnect eaters with flavorful and nutritious local food.
In this role, you will manage the vision, roadmap, and execution of Upward Farms’ high throughput plant phenomics systems, spanning crop scouting, trait characterization, and quality control. Your focus areas will include the detection of disease, stress, and pests at scale; the quantification of phenotypes and forecasted yield; and the development of go/no-go checkpoints throughout the production process. To accomplish this, you will develop vision system prototypes and set the high level strategy for plant phenomics, whether that means working externally through partners in imaging hardware and analysis, or internally through working with other teams. In this role, you will join the Agriculture and Manufacturing R&D (AMRD) team and collaborate with colleagues from Software & Electronics and Engineering. You will lead the conceptualization, development, and prioritization of new features and systems, and contribute towards the advancement of plant production outcomes at Upward Farms.
Your objective is to lead the prototyping and development of computer vision systems at Upward Farms, leveraging a combination of in-house development as well as vendor management to accomplish this goal. As an R&D engineer, you will specify, source, and/or build end-to-end image processing prototypes and work with our Software and Electronics team to bring these systems into production. As a program manager, you will identify the business objectives that plant phenomics systems will fulfill at Upward Farms, define what success looks like, and provide product and technical leadership in turning that vision into reality. Success in this role will mean fostering alignment, buy-in, and execution around key plant phenomics outcomes, building prototypes, and supporting the development cycle across various teams from start to finish. You are encouraged to build bridges, do what it takes to solve the right problems, and co-create our R&D culture. The ultimate responsibilities and contributions in this role will be shaped around the individual we hire and their background. There is tremendous room for growth.
- Lead the development of vision systems for crop scouting, trait characterization, and quality control at Upward Farms.
- Manage Upward Farms’ plant phenomics R&D program, guiding and prioritizing the advancement of our end to end plant phenomics systems and tracking components of yield over different stages of crop development.
- Design, specify, source, and/or build image analysis prototypes across a variety of plant phenomics areas and coordinate handoffs to our Software and Electronics team for production.
- Dive deep into relevant areas in the biological, physical, and information sciences, then zoom out and communicate at a high level with a variety of stakeholders professionally and effectively.
- Work alongside project managers to identify and manage vendors and partners across imaging hardware and analysis.
- Actively partner with the AMRD Director and colleagues in the continuous development of the team.
- Develop image processing, disease detection and yield estimation algorithms and methods for use in R&D and production.
- Contribute to the development of decision support systems and crop models.
- Support to the coordination and planning of experiments in R&D and production systems to advance plant imaging and phenomics capabilities.
- Apply computer vision and image processing methods across engineering and operations functions at Upward Farms.
- Act as a stakeholder to the development of aquaculture phenomics, microbiomics, and business analytics systems.
- Conduct research on new R&D program areas.
- MS or PhD in computer science, the natural sciences, or engineering; or BS in similar area with advanced work in computer vision.
- 2+ years industry or research experience, or coursework, in high throughput phenotyping, plant imaging, computer vision, image analysis, phenomics, scientific computing, technical product development, machine learning, decision support, or remote sensing.
- Experience building computer vision systems spanning image acquisition, pre-processing, feature extraction, segmentation, and decision-making.
- Experience with scripting languages such as Python, R, Matlab, or equivalent.
- Intrinsically curious to understand things at a fundamental level while simultaneously driven to rapidly put solutions into the hands of customers.
- Practical understanding of business fundamentals.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills to a wide range of technical backgrounds.
- Project management experience.
- Flexible, curious, and open minded.
Preferred Skills & Experience
- Product management or technical product management experience.
- Practical understanding of plants.
We offer a dynamic work environment and benefits that include:
- Aetna Medical, Aetna and MetLife Dental, and Aetna Vision insurance; FSA/HSA plans; and HIPAA-compliant health advocates. Upward Farms contributes 80-95% of the premium for Medical benefits for employees and their families.
- Unlimited paid sick time. For extended illness, we offer short term disability.
- Up to 20 days paid time off per year, depending on experience, in addition to paid holidays.
- For new parents, an extension of New York State’s paid family leave for up to 18 weeks of fully paid parental leave. This leave is in addition to Disability leave available to pregnant and postpartum mothers.
- Commuter benefits, discounted bike share memberships, and other perks.
- Fresh salad, and lots of it!
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our needs are unique and varied so we value colleagues with diverse backgrounds. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and/or protected veteran status.
Please note we do not provide immigration sponsorship for this position; applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.