Contributing Author: Katherine Walla
Food Tank is traveling to Austin, TX to attend South by Southwest (SXSW) 2019—a conference featuring sessions, showcases, screenings, and exhibitions celebrating creative solutions to the world’s problems. On March 13, 2019 Food Tank will host the session Cultivating the Next Generation of Food Leaders. Gathering food activists, entrepreneurs, farmers, and teachers, the session will talk about the role young people in creating a stronger, healthier, and just food system.
Panelists Regina Anderson, Executive Director of the Food Recovery Network; Tony Hillery, founder and Executive Director of Harlem Grown; and Haile Thomas, founder and CEO of HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth) will join Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank, on stage on March 13, 2019 to raise their stories of hope and success in the food system.
In anticipation of SXSW, Food Tank is highlighting 18 events hitting SXSW this year, amplifying creative leaders in food, agriculture, health, and sustainability.
The Refresh Working Group, Google, and Swell Creative Group present a day of food activations, discussions, and cooking demonstrations on March 12, 2019. All day, participants can taste Little Herds’s edible insects, pick fresh produce from the Farmers’ Market, test out FARMWAVE’s AI app for farmers, and purchase and cook fresh, delicious meals alongside top chefs. The group’s panels will tell the stories of women, chefs, and food supply chain leaders as they use technology to transform the future of food. The event will also feature a film screening of From Farms to Incubators and food demos led by Chefs Michel Nischan and Roshara Sanders.
This networking event will gather participants in the Food, Health, Sustainable Cities Tracks to discuss the recently released Eat Lancet Commission report—an examination of global diets and food systems according to health and sustainability targets. Speaker Chris Hegadorn, CEO of Hegadorn Global Consulting LLC, will lead the meet up drawing participants interested in the report, global food systems, human health, and environmental impacts of agriculture.
While House of Scandinavia will feature Scandinavian philosophy, culture, and business for the first week of SXSW, Scandinavian Airlines and Lonely Planet will host A Moveable Feast—From Nordic Gourmet to Lucius Leftovers. Featuring speakers Kamilla Seidler, Chef at Gustu, and Mads Mikkelsen, Head of Communication and Marketing at Roskilde Festival, the event will discuss food trends in Nordic and Danish gastronomy, food tourism, and eating good food sustainably.
Food connects people from across cultures and borders, offering enterprise opportunities for refugees and stimulating host community economies. At this session, panelists like Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President of the James Beard Foundation, Jabber Al-Bihani, co-founder of Komeeda, and Dr. Johanna Forman, Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center where she heads the Food Security Program, will discuss the current work using food to bridge differences between communities and build livelihoods for refugees.
Blockchain technology is transforming the way information makes its way across the food chain, offering opportunities to make instances of corruption, fraud, human rights abuses, and exploitation transparent. Panelists including Katherine Miller, Vice President of the James Beard Foundation and Fiona Lewis, chef & fishmonger at DC Fishwife, will highlight exciting opportunities offered by blockchain to create a fair food supply chain for people, animals, and the planet.
While climate change presents new challenges for farmers, Silicon Valley is generating effective solutions for farmers to withstand challenges and enhance sustainability. Session speakers like Randy Spronk, farmer at the Spronk Brothers III farm and Megan Vollstedt, Executive Director of Iowa AgriTech Accelerator will discuss the rise of new technologies, how agriculture may embrace technology, and backlash from the public who criticize technology in favor of a more traditional agrarian narrative.
Even the food industry’s newest innovations—including lab-grown meat, dairy alternatives, and insect protein—can’t stand up against the worst-case scenario dystopia caused by climate change, pollution, and overpopulation. Panelists include Philip Sanesky, VP of Product and Commander in Chef of ReGrained, and Lenny Mendonca, owner of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, who will discuss how humanity can use the resources at their disposal to avoid starvation: wastewater for beer, discarded grains for wheat, and human waste for nutritional goo.
While 41 million Americans face hunger, almost 133 billion pounds of food go to waste; however, young people like Phil Wong of Misfit Foods, Rachel Sumekh of Swipe Out Hunger, Reginald Young of Houston Food Bank, and Brinda Penmetsa of The Campus Kitchen at the University of Houston lead initiatives to reverse the trend. The panelists will speak about the current state of food waste and hunger across America, leaving attendees with a better outlook for the future.
While demand for transparency in the global meat industry increases, consumers are still left in the dark by the largest meat producers. At this session, Crowd Cow CEO Joe Heitzeberg, “Speaking Broadly” host Dana Cowin, Shake Shack’s Jeffrey Amoscato, and rancher Jeanie Alderson will discuss how food producers and consumers can advocate for more transparent relationships and the future of meat consumption.
Panelists Aidan Altman, co-founder of Fora; David Benzaquen, CEO of Ocean Hugger Foods; and Kerry Song, founder of Abbot’s Butcher will discuss the power their food inventions: plant-based food alternatives. The panelists will also discuss the lessons learned from developing their alternatives to meat, fish, and dairy, yet how more innovation in this industry will transform the food system.
Agriculture’s green revolution increased yields—and rates of obesity, morbidity, and diet related diseases. Session speakers like Matt Barnard, CEO of Plenty, and Mark Bittman, bestselling author and journalist, will discuss how bringing back culturally-unique flavors and locally-grown ingredients can restore health and justice in the food system.
The journey from food producer to consumer has gotten longer around the world, increasing the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks: food traceability made feasible by blockchain may public health. In this panel, speakers like Sean Leighton, Vice President of Food Safety & Quality at Cargill, and Andy Kennedy, Director of the Institute of Food Technologists’ Global Food Traceability Center, will outline blockchain’s potential in food traceability, the global food chain, and the future of food.
Social entrepreneurs are coming up with new ideas to bring affordable and fresh foods to neighborhoods where the only meal options are high-calorie, low-nutrient, and heavily processed. Featuring speakers like Sam Polk, co-founder of Everytable, and Olympia Auset, founder of SUPRMARKT, the session will discover how these social entrepreneurs use creative pricing strategies and educational programs to empower local communities and bring change to the food system.
This session will bring together technology, consumer behavior, and food industry experts like Robyn Metcalfe, Director of Food+City; Henry Gordon-Smith, founder and Managing Director of Agritecture Consulting; and Max Elder, Research Manager of the Food Futures Lab of Institute for the Future. Together, they’ll discuss the tradeoffs and benefits of recent developments like Big Data, robotics, and cellular biology in changing the way the world eats and grows food.
Across the food industry, big companies are evolving with new dedications to ethical working conditions, sustainability, and more. At this session, food industry experts such as Leah Douglas, writer and Associate Editor at the Food and Environment Reporting Network and Sriram Madhusoodanan, Deputy Campaigns Director at Corporate Accountability International will discuss whether big food industry can keep up with their commitments and enact meaningful change in the food system as they expand to new product lines and buy up competitors.
At this networking event, attendees will discuss the future of food—which goes beyond simply food, touching topics of health, logistics, justice, and technology. Speakers Teddy Bekele, Vice President of Ag Technology for Land O’Lakes, and Pamela Ronald, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology & the Genome Center at University of California Davis, will talk about the tools delivering better quality food to all and protecting the planet.
The food that consumers put on their plates—and share on social media—tells a narrative about society, from the stories about the hands that grow food to stories about migration, globalization, diversity, and more. Featuring speakers like Korsha Wilson, food writer and host of A Hungry Society, and Nasser Jab, co-founder of Komeeda, the session will discuss how to make a more inclusive world using food.
According to Michael Pollan’s advice, consumers have been pointing their forks in the direction of change—demanding more organic and whole foods. However, panelists like Tong Shen, founder and Managing Partner of FoodFutureCo, and Brigit Cameron, Managing Director of Patagonia Provisions, will debate whether consumers should point their forks in a new direction—toward environmentally friendly regenerative agriculture.
Photo courtesy of Cal Holman.