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  • Writer's pictureKarrie Brown

Rebel Cultures

Innovation is essential for any business’ success, especially horticulture. Horticulture is an ancient practice, and a crucial part of our lives today. It encompasses everything from fruit and vegetable plants to ornamental flowers, shrubs and trees. For horticulture to remain relevant and successful, industry leaders must create technologies to improve plant production. In 2022, Rebel Cultures was founded in Ottawa County with this innovation in mind.

The startup’s flagship product is called “The Plant Replicator,” and aims to be the first technology developed to allow producers to clone disease-free plants outside of a lab and on a commercial scale. This technology will enable commercial greenhouses to generate thousands of identical, disease-free plants, allowing for a higher profit margin than any method currently available while revolutionizing the industry.

Della Fetzer, founder of Rebel Cultures, shared information on the team working on this innovation. “Weare a small team for now, made up of our research scientist, three engineers and myself.” Several key relationships with artificial intelligence (AI), software developers and microbial science experts support their work. “I’m grateful for the support we have already received from the horticulture community and from our mentors. Lakeshore Advantage has also provided stellar entrepreneurial support,” Della shared.

The work of Rebel Cultures is possible because team members “bring unique skills and experience which makes our final product, and eventually our world, better. We use deep knowledge of the local, national and international horticultural markets, participants, supply chains, goals and pain points to accomplish our work,” Della told us. The Rebel Cultures team is skilled in “plant science, plant tissue culture, experimental design and process improvement” and regularly relies on “perseverance, collaboration, humor, creativity and a commitment to excellence in navigating the research and development of an Agtech startup.”

Rebel Cultures is mindful of the end customer’s impression of the horticulture industry. Della told us she sees people motivated to purchase products which support social equity and environmental preservation.

Smart applications of machine learning and AI can help move horticulture companies toward the environmental and social governance goals of their customers.

“In ten years, companies who consistently invest profits in employee retention, eliminate unnecessary practices and adopt new methodologies aligning with customer desires will boldly contrast competitors who maintain business as usual,” Della stated.

The success of innovation, like that taking place at Rebel Cultures, is important to the industry and to Michigan’s economy. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there are nearly 8,000 people employed in horticulture in the state, the majority of which are in West Michigan. Horticulture growers contribute $1.2 billion to the Michigan economy, while landscapers and plant retailers add another $4.5 billion. The commitment to excellence and the inventor’s spirit shown at Rebel Cultures is why West Michigan will continue to be a leader in the horticulture industry. If you are interested in collaborating with Rebel Cultures through their beta testing program or have questions about their work, contact Della at della@rebelcultures.com.

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