Meet HARV – Our Automated Technology for Vertical Farming

Did you know there is a shortage of farmers? Recent data from the Conference Board of Canada’s research showed 41% of farmers were unable to hire enough workers in 2021.

This is not just a Canadian issue, but to feed 9 billion people globally, there is a shortage of food and a shortage of farmers. Pontus has always focused on addressing these issues with a pure and natural complete protein that is highly nutritious and grown sustainably. As a technology company, we are developing the technology to address the shortage of farmers and the food shortage. 

Recently we submitted our international patent for a Harvesting Automated Robotic Vehicle or “HARV” for short. HARV is a vertical farm rack system and automated plant tending and harvesting robot designed to work alongside and assist Pontus’ Closed Environment Vertical Aquaponics System or CEVAS system


Pontus worked with Automation Experts out of Calgary, Alberta, when their research showed there was no robot in place that could support the crop. Water Lentils are the world’s fastest growing leafed plant, and they usually need to be harvested every 24-72 hours. With CEVAS, it can be even more frequent. 

Pontus and Automation Experts did a comprehensive search, and most robots are simply to move trays of plants down to a lower level for tending of the plants. Great for pot plants, not so great for water beds. It isn’t efficient, and it also adds in more interaction with humans, which we have already seen may be an issue to hire the right people. It also increases the opportunity for pathogens and contamination.

Biosecure for Vertical Farming 

The Pontus facility is biosecure designed to minimize the chance of pests, diseases and contamination. It allows Pontus’ facility to be truly organic with no pesticides and chemicals needed in the process. Being biosecure improves the health of the plants, the fish and ultimately the humans who eat the produce. It’s also safer to get a robot climbing up 30 feet and doesn’t require scissor lifts with fall arrest for a human working at that height. 

The team led on the Pontus side by Steve McArthur, CTO, designed a sleek and high-tech robot to harvest and tend the water lentils.

Steve McArthur – CTO Pontus Protein Ltd.

Keeping a low profile on the robot allows there to be nine levels of vertical farming. The additional levels increase the yield in the facility and make for more cost-effective use of the land. Adding the technology to the robot, rather than the vertical farming beds, which is the industry standard way to do it, will reduce the cost to build the facilities, as the technology is in HARV. 

“HARV harvests the water lentils that are ready to be harvested into a strainer basket. When it detects the basket is full, HARV has an elevator that allows it to go down the levels, to empty the basket, and then back up to carry on tending the plants and continue the daily harvest,” – Stephen Bruce Wong, CEO Automation Experts 

Efficiency is key, and using technology to drive production of sustainable organic crops is core to the Pontus mission. 

“HARV does everything we want it to. It helps maintain and manage the crops and will help us optimize the growth lifecycle of the crop. If you look at the other water lentil companies, such as Parabel, they grow outdoors in huge tanks, like cranberry farming. Outdoor farming introduces pests, and pesticides, has a shorter growing season and requires more land.


“Our CEVAS system is much more sustainable and looks to the future of food. It means that the environment is much more predictable, and we can use HARV to handle the care and harvesting of the crops.” – Steve McArthur CTO, Pontus.

The team chose a global patent to allow the company to take the technology as it expands across the country and into new geographies. You can find out more by joining Steve McArthur and Steve Bruce Wong on Tuesday 15th June at 12 noon PT, follow on Facebook



Everyone is Eating Plant Based


While the above statement is not true, we can all likely agree that we all know someone who has said that they are going to to only eating plant based, or that they are now: vegetarian, pescatarian or flexitarian because of an article they read. And whatever the opinion of the article one thing that is true, is that how people eat is changing. Food chains are being disrupted. COVID has only served to accelerate that process as people seek to find more local and non-meat sources of protein.

Although, the traditional western Sunday roast dinner may still happen as a special treat, what is also coming to the Sunday dinner table (or any day of the week dinner table) as a special treat are meatless burgers that taste like meat. Breakfast is being replaced with a breakfast smoothie with your choice of plant based protein. 

Alternative Proteins are Changing the Landscape

New meatless products, as well as alternative protein products are beginning to make an impact on more traditional food chains, in particular in the United States (US) where meat has always comprised a large part of people’s diets (McKinsey & Company). 

We have all heard the arguments on why to go plant based or vegetarian. There tend to be 3 main camps:

  1. Animal Cruelty
  2. The Environment; and
  3. Health/Fitness

When it comes to animal cruelty there is a large movement against the traditional large farming techniques used to raise: cattle, pigs and chicken to feed the masses. I think we can all say that we have seen those horrible videos of chickens in tiny cages on YouTube.  The information age has meant that much of what was hidden before has come into the light and when it comes to large scale farming we tend not to like what we see. In many Asian and South Asian cultures the concept of Ahimsa, or non-harming (even in the way you eat) has always played a large role in the decisions people make around the type of food they consume.  

Raising livestock contributes 18% of human-produced Greenhouse gas emissions globally (Dopelt et al. #). This is in addition to the many other environmental impacts it has, such as:

  • Land and water degradation
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Acid rain (remember that thing from the 1980s it’s still around)
  • Coral reef degradation; and 
  • Deforestation. 

With respect to deforestation all we need to do is bring our attention to the burning of the Amazon rainforest this past year. 

Despite the aforementioned animal cruelty and environmental impacts; the largest driver, in particular in the US that has led people to incorporate alternative proteins into their diets has been the idea (which is not unsupported) that alternative proteins are healthier. So for those portions of the population trying to lose weight, who want to get fit, and be healthy, or be perceived as being healthy and fit, alternative plant based proteins have become quite popular. This trend has been mirrored in social media where many influencers are promoting their alternative plant protein product of choice. 

In the US health and fitness are the primary drivers to use alternative proteins, not the environment or animal cruelty (McKinsey & Company). The United Kingdom (UK) polls oppositely from the US, meaning animal cruelty and the environment are primary drivers over health and fitness. In Asia plant based proteins have formed the foundation of people’s diets for generations. Another interesting finding is that if there is some ecological benefit or a sustainability aspect associated with the alternative protein, people will tend to indulge in alternative proteins more readily (McKinsey & Company).

Where does that leave Plant-Based Proteins?

Meat is not likely going to disappear, especially not in the shorter term. However, there are some big changes coming as younger generations change the way they eat and the way they feed their children. For example, many younger parents will put a plant based protein in their toddlers morning smoothie to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need. I definitely never got that as a child.

Many people in western society have started decreasing the amount of traditional meat products they consume. Experts say that alternative plant-based proteins will become a “meaningful part of diets across the U.S., Western Europe, and emerging markets” within the next 10 years (McKinsey & Company). This is a big deal. 

When I was growing up I remember everyone drank 2% or Homogenized milk (3.25%), then when I was in high school low fat was trending, so 1% and Skim Milk made an appearance. Now nut milks, or “mylks” are all the rage and grocery stores are filled with non-dairy options, for drinking and for your coffee. Researchers are predicting that alternative proteins will take a similar trajectory to alternative dairy (McKinsey & Company).

The larger role that alternative proteins will play in the global food chain is foreshadowed by some of the primary meat producers globally getting involved in the alternative protein game. This truly signifies that alternative proteins are not going anywhere. They are just on the verge of taking off. 

Developing Pontus’ First Three Retail Products


Exciting news! Pontus has started to develop their first three products set to go to market after the construction of their primary farm later this year. Pontus will be building out the retail brand in an effort to create value and awareness of Pontus-grown water lentils, prior to developing the wholesale market.

Steve McArthur, CTO for Pontus, notes, “We’re really excited about our first few products. Unlike other plant proteins, we will provide a complete amino acid profile, with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in an easy-to-add ingredient or grab-and-go packaging. Our products will stay true to Pontus—gluten-free, soy-free, lactose-free, non-GMO, full of prebiotics and a source of dietary fibre.”

Pontus Protein Powder

The first product will be a Pontus protein powder. It will be made from pure biosafe-grown water lentils that have been harvested raw, then rinsed, dehydrated and ground to a fine powder. Health-conscious individuals will be able to add Pontus Powder to their favourite recipes or smoothies to boost broad nutritional value.

The protein powder is an especially great solution for those following a plant-based diet and vegetarians looking to meet their long-term dietary needs. Water lentils are 100% plant-based.

Many protein powders contain additives including preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners and fillers. Not at Pontus. Pontus harvests and dehydrates the whole plant… end of story. The result is a pure product that has the necessary protein, Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), vitamins and minerals that will enhance consumers’ beverages and foods that they make at home.

Pontus To-Go Beverage

The second product will be an easy-to-consume beverage that will be available in grocery and convenience stores, perfect for consumers looking for a highly nutritious low-calorie drink to quench their thirst on-the-go or at the gym. The drink will contain Pontus’ proprietary blend of five water lentils harvested raw, pulped, squeezed and filtered. Many people say that Pontus’ flavour reminds them of Matcha, which is a testament to its bold yet smooth taste. Additional flavours will be added, including honey and fruit.

Pontus Protein Bar

The third product will be a protein bar to target consumers who are looking for a healthier snack or small meal replacement. Made with strictly organic ingredients, the chef’s creation completely blew away the Pontus team at the first taste test. For the marketed product, Pontus powder will be combined with dates, oats, seeds and honey. The lack of milk protein will make this bar a smart selection for those with dairy intolerances.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones. It plays a key role in your diet. Canada’s New Food Guide recommends reaching for a plant-based protein first. Pontus makes it easy to choose right every time.

Pontus has retained Evolve Branding to work with the team to deliver the name and packaging as well as develop the on-shelf branding for the first three products in the Pontus range. Senior Creative Director, J.R. Lopez said, “We’re looking forward to working with Pontus to develop their first few products. Pontus was a pre-Olympian water god, a great base to build some strong brands that can stand up on shelf and clearly differentiate from the other protein and high nutrition products.”

Pontus Water Lentils: The New Cutting-Edge Superfood Packed with Plant Based Vitamins for Vegetarians


Vitamins plays a critical role in the maintenance of your health. Vitamin deficiencies can wreak havoc on many areas of the human body and if not addressed, it can lead to severe symptoms such as nerve damage, dementia, and mood disturbances. Less serious symptoms of vitamin and protein deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, balance issues, bruising, and soreness of the mouth and tongue.

So how can Vegetarians and those following a plant-based diet ensure they are getting enough vitamins and protein?

Not all plant products are created equal and they do not all contain the required proteins and vitamins we need. Those who follow strict dietary restrictions have a higher prevalence of deficiencies as compared to those who have a more moderate approach to what they eat while following a plant based diet.

Long-term prevention is key. Vegetarians and especially those who only consume plant-based products should strongly consider taking supplements to reduce the risk of long-term deficiency.

But there is Good News

The plant-based and vegetarian community can soon rejoice in a new plant-based vitamin and protein source about to take the natural health product world by storm. Pontus Protein Powder+TM is a nutritional game changer that harnesses the power of water lentil plants grown and harvested sustainably in a state-of-the-art aquaponics facility in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Pontus Water Lentils are the answer the plant based and vegetarian community didn’t know they were searching for.


Pontus Water Lentils are a perfect source of protein and Vitamins 

One of the issues of switching to a plant based or vegetarian lifestyle is finding an alternative source for key vitamins beyond taking supplements. Pontus Water Lentils provides the perfect solution with a noble mission statement that will make any socially aware consumer stand up and cheer. Pontus Water Lentils provides a healthy and responsible solution for those who value what they feed their bodies and what we feed the earth.

Water lentils are a completely organic, plant-based, nutrient-dense, sustainable complete protein source that is sure to reach superfood status when its power is unleashed. Up until now, sources of complete/whole proteins in a plant based diet were limited and the quantity required to be consumed in order to meet the requirements is quite high.

What are water lentils anyway?

Water lentils (duckweed) are small flowering plants from the Lemnoideae family that float atop freshwater and wetland areas. Not only are they 42.1% protein, they pack a dense nutrient punch with essential amino acids, Omega-3s, antioxidants, calcium, and iron. A bonus is that they are virtually allergen-free, unlike their soy and pea counterparties. They are the perfect up-and-coming superfood for everyone. When grown and harvested using a state-of-the-art aquaponic CEVAS closed-loop system, Pontus Water Lentils are 100% non-GMO and 100% free of pesticides or outside contaminants. They taste a bit sweet with an earthy organic plant-like aroma, similar to kale or spinach.

How is choosing Pontus Water Lentils doing good for the earth?

Pontus Water Lentils utilizes the CEVAS way to ensure total closed-loop sustainable product creation. CEVAS (Closed Environmental Vertical Aquaponics System) is the outcome of years of research, development, and state-of-the-art engineering relating to aquaponics growing. The refining process uses five percent of the water necessary for traditional agriculture practices. The closed-loop system is 100% sustainable using a seamlessly symbiotic technique: Water lentils are grown in tanks on shelves under LED lighting, while the fish farm contains carefully sourced free-swimming rainbow trout. The by-products of the fish are broken down by nitrifying bacteria in the water, and then those nutrients are used to fertilize the plants. As a result, the plants filter CO2 out the water, which is then returned as O2 back to the fish. Pontus Water Lentils plans to use the sales of the sustainably-raised organic fish to generate diversified revenues.”

How do Pontus Water Lentils align with a plant-based lifestyle?

Pontus Water Lentils is committed to surpassing every Health Canada and FDA requirement for the production of Natural Health Products. They intend to keep their Vancouver, Canada based products 100% non-GMO, gluten free with zero outside contaminants. Doing good for your body while honouring the earth is a compelling reason to choose Pontus Water Lentils as your go-to plant based protein source. It’s a no brainer for those committed to a plant-based lifestyle. You can visit to stay on top of updates from the company and for new product releases.

It’s Easy Being Green


” The global functional foods market size was estimated at USD 161.49 billion in 2018. The global functional foods market size is projected to reach USD 275.77 billion by 2025? It is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 7.9% during the forecast period. The major motive of incorporating the aforementioned additives in the food and beverage industry is to increase the nutritional content in food items.”

Referring to PONTUS PROTEIN POWER+ as a nutritional game-changer is not an exaggeration.

At Pontus Water Lentils we saw the potential of the power of Water Lentils as a complete protein. Vegetarians who don’t  eat meat and older people who may have trouble absorbing vitamins have both been found to be protein and vitamin deficient. These deficiencies can result in anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances.

You Say Vegetarian, I Say Omnivore?

So seniors and vegetarians, as well as those with digestive issues, listen up. Not to mention, omnivores who need to upgrade their nutrition organically with a non-GMO product.

In India, 38 percent of the population is vegetarian. Israel, Taiwan, Austria, Italy have 10% or more of their population who claim to be vegetarians. Rising quickly are the conscious and/or religious choices for turning away from meat, dairy, fowl for plant -based nutritional components.

Utilizing pure, organic supplements for healthier living also augments the fight against climate change. The same motivation underlies the growth of the functional foods market.

At Pontus, we are as passionate about the process as we are about the final product. Through our CEVAS system, we used a closed-loop process working with fish as the providers of the nutrition of the plants. This approach is the essence of Aquaponics. We use Rainbow Trout, which are raised to market size and sold. The revenue for these organic components will be sold at premium prices and will represent roughly 10% of gross revenues.

Harvest, Dehydrate, Refine, Sell, Repeat.

Our PONTUS PROTEIN POWER+ is not a one-trick pony, nor a tongue twister. 100 percent of the plant is refined to a fine, dare I say, gorgeous jade green powder. It is extremely high in antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins including Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Omega Fatty Acids, Riboflavin, and Folate. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and non-GMO. I am very confident that PONTUS PROTEIN POWER+ will exceed Health Canada Manufacturing Guidance for approval of Natural and non-prescription products.

For those looking to supplement their diets with a form of plant-based protein , the current product somewhat close to PONTUS PROTEIN POWER+ is soy protein, which can taste pretty nasty, is missing a lot of nutrients and lacks comparable water solubility. The actual Soy protein isolate has to be produced through a chemical process that can produce questionable ingredients like aluminum and hexane. The USDA states that likely 90% of Soy Protein is genetically modified. The majority of whey type protein powders are developed from dairy products.

I can’t give away any trade secrets, but the tease is almost as good. We combined five of literally 1000’s of strains of Water Lentils. One was protein-rich, one was a hyper-accumulator and the final three brought mad nutrients to the product.

The organic fish we ’employ’ are sourced from breeders we trust and know well. Before putting in the fish, they are quarantined from 2 days to 2 weeks to ensure no sickness or nasty microbes find their way into the CEVAS system. In addition, to being an integral part of our CEVAS system the fish almost immediately perform as an early warning system should the process have any bacterial issues.

The CEVAS process flow is proprietary as is the ‘secret sauce’ of nutrients, all organic. We are constantly exploring other strains that will further enhance or positively impact the Aquaponic m?lange. You can read more about it here, with an article from our CTO.

Is Pontus a Technology or Agriculture Company?


Both, actually!

Not long ago, nor very far away, my Company, Vancouver-based Green Oasis Foods developed the CEVAS (Closed Environment Vertical Aquaponics System); arguably the most advanced soil less organic growth system developed to date. Our main consideration was to build a closed-loop Aquaponics system that ensured there was no way for contaminants to enter the growth chain. The resulting efficiency and product quality, as a result, are quite startling, almost like having a built-in anti-malware program for crop growth.

Good Things Come in Threes

All ponic grow systems have unique benefits and challenges. Still all markedly increase yields and, to varying degrees, lowers the use of power and water. Each also can be set up to be custom complementary systems. Green Oasis? CEVAS? is a hybrid aquaponics system currently being used by Green Oasis and Pontus Protien Ltd, the latter owning an exclusive worldwide license to the technology.

Full disclosure, I am also CTO of Pontus Protein Ltd. Ultimately, through an agreement with Amwolf, Pontus plans to obtain a public listing in approximately Q2/2020.

Before that, we plan to crowdfund through FrontFundr for $1.5 million and a like amount in a sponsored Private Placement. We plan to use the initial funds to build a 10,000 square foot grow facility. It might be useful to define the main types of soil-less grow systems.

Lets Translate the Main Types of Ponics

Aquaponics: A symbiotic relationship with the system; housing fish producing waste to provide crop nutrients

Hydroponics: Continuous water system, but nutrients are added to the growth media that replaces soil

Aeroponics: is a variation of hydroponics, but instead of using a grow bed filled with media, the plants are instead suspended, with roots facing a sprinkler system connected to the main nutrient reservoir.

The difference between a standard Aquaponics system and CEVAS is analogous to a Prius versus a Tesla, with the latter being much more efficient with less impact on the environment. We decided it made sense to start with Water Lentils as the first crop as its growth characteristics and high market price are very attractive.

We are Reinventing Agriculture?

I sincerely believe that our system brings a fundamental and profound change to growing soil-less crops successfully and in greater numbers than other methods. Here are some key points:


  • A combination of the best of both Hydro- and Aquaponics
  • Completely closed-loop system customized by Green Oasis
  • Utilizes state of the art, data-driven analytics
  • Optimize machine learning and artificial intelligence to produce superior and consistent crops
  • Uses 5% of the water of traditional agriculture
  • CO2 captured and recycled
  • Symbiotic air exchange
  • Bio Security systems to remove all possible contaminants from any human interaction
  • Solids filtration
  • Biodigestion; fish waste turned into plant nutrient through aerobic digestion

Pontus, Protein Power+, Water Lentils, and a Surprise Vitamin Discovery (Pay Close Attention)

The relevance of Water Lentils? Water Lentils are amazing source of nutrition, vitamins and their growth profile is particularly exciting.

To wax global about feel good investing, the ramifications of nourishment derived from Water Lentils for humanity as a whole are staggering. Our flagship product, Pontus Protein Power+, also has 42.1% (11 grams) of protein per 25grams of powder. Whether used in a smoothie or, in the communal soup of a village in the third world, the potential is palpable.

We harvest our Water Lentils every 24 hours as it grows that quickly. The plants are dehydrated and ground into a fine powder. The Rainbow Trout used as the nutrient delivery vehicle in CEVAS will be sold as high-quality organic fish for premium market prices.

I believe, as the holder of a global exclusive license for CEVAS, a significant revenue stream could well be generated with negotiated sub-licenses. The terms do not restrict Pontus to Water Lentils, although the potential for this initial Superfood appears pretty spectacular.

I look forward to sharing our growth with you either as a contributor on FrontFundr or as a shareholder once Pontus becomes publicly traded. Join our mailing list to be notified of our latest updates. Now that our fundraising campaign is live, you can invest directly online.