Lemnature AquaFarms is a technology-based, vertically integrated B2B producer of non-GMO plant-based ingredients to the food, beverage, and nutrition markets. Lemnature delivers premium quality products that win on taste, texture, color, functionality and nutritional superiority, with a focus of sustainability, food safety and quality.
To create a plant-powered food model that feeds the world and improves health and wellness through a global, highly sustainable, aquacultural footprint.
To become the global leader and provider of environmentally conscious, plant-based nutrition.
To have a profound impact on
our product, people, and planet.
01. Innovation and Product Quality
To create plant-based products that optimize taste, texture, color, functionality, and nutrition for the food, beverage, and nutrition markets.
02. FUTURE-FORWARD THINKING
To build an integrated network of aquafarms and processing centers, leveraging patented growth systems and proprietary nutrient blends.
03. GLOBAL HEALTH & SUSTAINABILITY
To accelerate the transition to a regenerative food system through highly nutritious, sustainable, and non-GMO plant-based ingredients.
04. People-Centric Culture
To build organizational capabilities, and a high performing team to scale the business, eventually becoming the global leader in plant-based nutrition.
We have extensively tested and independently validated our aquacultural growth systems on a global level to increase accessibility to nutritious plant-based foods. We aim to:
Bring high-quality nutrition to food insecure parts of the world.
Make arable land unnecessary when farming plant-based nutrition.
Build momentum based on successful testing in China, Uganda, Chile & Mexico.
Our Leadership Team
The people behind Lemnature AquaFarms.
Chief Executive Officer
Frank Jimenez was appointed Chief Executive Officer in March 2021 and is responsible for driving the company’s mission to create a business model to feed the world and improve health with plant-powered food through a global and highly sustainable aquaculture footprint. Frank leads the organization and oversees business strategy, Company profitability, defining organizational direction, and is the executive liaison with the Board of Directors. Frank is a transformational global leader with CEO, Division President, and General Manager experience across nutrition, consumer health care, sports nutrition, and food and beverage industries. Frank has 35 years of leadership experience running complex and technically sophisticated businesses. Prior to joining Lemnature AquaFarms, Frank spent 33 years with Nestle’ who is the world’s largest food and beverage company. During his career with Nestle, Frank held key and strategic executive leadership roles, including Division President, Nestle USA’s Baking Division, Global President, Nestle Walmart, CEO, Nestle Health Science-Pamlab, Global General Manager, PowerBar. Frank holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Robert Smith, Ph.D.
Vice President, Innovation and Product Development
Dr. Smith is the Vice President, Innovation and Product Development responsible for advancing innovation by developing novel ingredients that deliver value-added nutritional and functional benefits for the health and nutrition markets. Dr. Smith has over thirty years in AgBiotech serving in a variety of leadership roles focused on the discovery and commercialization of plant-based ingredients for industry, agriculture, animal feed, human nutrition, and pharma. Prior to joining the organization in March of 2021, Dr. Smith spent six years at RiceBran Technologies, where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations and Research & Development, and later as CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Dr. Smith held executive leadership roles with HerbalScience Group, Global Protein Products Inc, PhycoGen Inc. and Dekalb Genetics. Dr. Smith holds a doctorate degree in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Chicago and conducted his postdoctoral work in plant molecular biology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Smith was an Assistant Research Professor at Rutgers University investigating the application of living plants to remediate polluted environments, has over 20 refereed publications and book chapters, and has been issued numerous US and foreign patents.
Matthew Van Ert. Ph.D.
Vice President, Crop Science and Biotechnology
Dr. Van Ert has been affiliated with the organization as a consultant since 2014 and formally joined as Vice President, Crop Science and Biotechnology in April 2021. Dr. Van Ert is responsible for providing strategic research and development plans to drive continuous improvements in aquafarm systems, crop performance and sustainability. Prior to joining the organization, Dr. Van Ert was the founder and President of a consulting firm that planned and executed projects in the areas of managed aquatic plant and algae growth systems, biomass-to-bioproducts processing, biofuels, water treatment, and aquatic toxicology. His client base included Fortune 500 companies in oil and gas production and personal care products and governmental entities focused on large-scale aquatic-plant water remediation technologies. Dr. Van Ert has a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Northern Arizona University and Master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is an inventor on patents in the field of molecular diagnostics and aquatic plant processing, an invited speaker at national and international conferences and has published several dozen peer-reviewed scientific articles on diverse topics including cell cycle regulation, plant-fungal ecology to microbial genomics, molecular forensics, and pathogen ecology and evolution.
Head of Food Safety & Quality
Dan Smith joined the organization in November 2021 as the Head of Food Safety and Quality. Dan is responsible for driving a robust quality management strategy to support product quality and regulatory requirements, along with progressing our quality management systems and GMP compliance. Dan has worked across broad food and ingredient categories to include eggs, cheese, fresh and frozen vegetables, and meats. He has in-depth knowledge and experience in the areas of SQF and ISO 22000, new plant startups, FSMA/FDA, customer audits, regulatory compliance, training, risk mitigation, traceability, recall, and document control programs. His hunger for knowledge and determination to turn information into action has contributed to his 35 years of career success where he led, designed, and implemented world class FDA and USDA compliant and business minded systems in food manufacturing organizations to include Campbell Soup/Pepperidge Farm, Quaker Oats, Michael Foods, and Meiji Holdings. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition Science from Indiana University and a Masters in Food Safety from Michigan State University.
Chief Financial Officer
Alex Andre joined the team as Chief Financial Officer in October 2022 and has overall responsibility for financial oversight of the organization, including cash flow management, corporate governance, capital expenditure planning and control, treasury, asset and liability management, financial planning and reporting, accounting and taxes, budgeting, insurance, and investor relations. Alex is a seasoned entrepreneurial executive who has more than 20 years of experience serving as the CFO and General Counsel for high-growth, public and private companies and, earlier in his career, an accountant at KPMG LLP and a corporate & securities attorney for international law firms representing clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. He brings to the organization a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of business strategy and execution, SEC, SOX, GAAP, IPOs, debt and equity financings, mergers & acquisitions, financial planning, analysis and reporting, cash management, and tax and regulatory compliance. Alex obtained his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Purdue University and his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School.
Vice President, Marketing
Mike DePanfilis joined the team March 2022 as Vice President, Marketing. Mike has direct responsibility for operationalizing the company’s marketing transformation. Mike is driving growth through the development of short and long-term marketing strategies, product innovation plans, bringing to life consumer and marketplace insights, and manages our corporate communication initiatives. Mike has 35 years of food industry experience within sales and marketing. In his most recent role prior to joining the organization, Mike was the Vice President & General Manager of the Food Ingredient & Food Division at Renmatix, Inc., a leader of a new disruptive plant-based food ingredient supporting consumer wellness markets. Mike’s prior experience include senior level marketing roles driving marketing strategy, eCommerce, sales planning, customer marketing, shopper marketing, and consumer promotions at top consumer packaged companies like Hershey, Kraft Foods, and Pinnacle Foods. Mike has a Bachelor of Science degree, Business Administration in Management, from the University of Rhode Island, as well as an MBA from the University of Bridgeport.
Chester "Chet" Baker
Vice President, Business Development & Strategic Partnerships
Chet joined the team in August of 2022 as Vice President, Business Development & Strategic Partnerships. Chet has responsibility for developing and executing customer and channel strategies that drive revenue growth and margin improvement, as well as commercializing our product portfolio by securing long-term revenue streams from customers, markets, and strategic partnerships. Chet has 35 years of experience delivering commercial results and building partnerships. In his most recent role prior to joining the organization, Chet was Vice President, Business Development & Partnerships for Motif FoodWorks, a plant-based food technology start-up company. Chet has a unique blend of experience having worked across Consumer Packaged Goods, Nutrition, Healthcare, and Beverage sectors leading premier brands and novel ingredients. Chet is a seasoned executive with proven success working in large multi-nationals, mid to small cap privately held, as well as start-ups. Chet spent the first 10 years of his career with Procter and Gamble where he held various sales leadership roles, followed by another 10 years working for Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. building their commercial and healthcare businesses, and driving pipeline growth of disruptive innovations. Chet worked for Abbott Laboratories for 10 years in their Nutrition division and held various executive level roles across their domestic and international commercial businesses, including the build out of a global innovation team. Chet received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Kenyon College and is a co-patent holder for a novel invention to eradicate citrus greening disease.
Vice President, Human Resources
Juli D’Aloia joined the organization as Vice President, Human Resources in July 2021 and has oversight for building the organizations capability enabling the business to scale. Juli leads the company’s talent strategy, organizational design, performance management, change management, and core people and culture activities. Juli is a seasoned and results-driven leader and brings 30 years of Human Resources experience in manufacturing within the food ingredients, beverage, and flavor industries. The first decade of Juli’s career, she worked in Human Resources for a small privately held food ingredient manufacturer and assisted in the facilitation of a sale to Kerry in 2003. Juli spent the following 17 years working in various HR leadership roles for Kerry, a €9.5 billion publicly traded global leader of innovative taste, nutrition, pharma & biotechnology systems, and functional ingredients. Prior to joining Lemnature AquaFarms, Juli spent the last 10 years as Kerry’s Vice President of Human Resources. Juli has a cross-section of experience with large and small, private, and public companies, ingredients and manufacturing operations, acquisitions, and helping to prepare private companies for public company status. Juli graduated from Oakland University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science/Human Resources Management.
Jeremy Lease joined the organization as Director, Manufacturing in June 2023 and is responsible for driving operational efficiency and leading our manufacturing operations. Jeremy, along with his team who have in-depth functional and food industry experience cover the areas of Engineering, Production, Maintenance, Warehouse & Logistics, Health & Safety and Sanitation. Jeremy was most recently the Industrial Director for Advanced Food Products (AFP) where he spent the last 6 years of his career. At AFP, Jeremy Led manufacturing, supply chain, maintenance, quality, and engineering for 3 plants located in CA, WI, and PA with 500 employees in total, for their syrup, puree, and concentrated flavor manufacturing with hot/cold fill capabilities. Prior to joining AFP, Jeremy spent time with PepsiCo as a Production and Maintenance Manager and 10 years with General Mills in a variety of manufacturing leadership roles. In his last role at General Mills as the Start Up Manager, he oversaw the start-up and commissioning of several manufacturing sites. Jeremy brings 20 years of manufacturing experience working in the food and beverage industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in operations and supply chain management from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and spent 3 years in the NROTC.