On November 19th, Idea Foundry hosted the first Agriculture Technology Summit with  Greenhouses for Everyone at Tree Pittsburgh’s new nursery site, bringing together growers, innovators, chefs, and consumers. What better time to be thinking about food than just before Thanksgiving! Our Director of Impact Innovations, Nicole Muise-Kielkucki, helped facilitate the day-long event filled with panels, brainstorming sessions, and networking. Attendees heard from key industry players along all steps of the food supply chain, including representatives from John Deere, RCBI, Bloomfield Robotics, Livestock Labs, Panacea AG, G4E, Tree Pittsburgh, Idea Foundry, Sprezzatura, Chatham University, and Millie’s Ice Cream.

The theme of the day was how to make better connections and utilize innovation to address challenges and strengthen our local food system. Right here, right now farms and food producers are utilizing innovations which make growing viable all-year long, utilizing economical, efficient, safe, and sustainable means of production. With innovation at its core, the challenge now is building the awareness and connections to fortify the local food system. That is what events like the Ag Tech Summit are designed to do.

After a day of discussion and brainstorming, attendees left with clear takeaways and action steps which include changes to policy, access to resources, workforce development, consumer education, and continuing support for introduction of Ag Tech into the local food supply chain.

Ag tech and the local food system have been a focus area for Idea Foundry for years. Healthy food is a vital community need and supporting local production not only addresses this need but also supports job creation in Southwestern PA — an area with a significant agricultural history. Through our Impact Innovations Accelerator and Fellowship as well as a Revolving Loan Fund specifically for local food and agriculture companies, we have assisted local farms and companies such as SEED Aquaponics and Pittsburgh Aquaponics, Mayim’s sensor-based irrigation technology, and Innovesca’s plant-based, nutrient-enhancing ingredients. We are continually looking to support entrepreneurs with business solutions that strengthen our region’s food system and support sustainability and healthy food. If interested in applying to our programs or investing in our local food system, please contact us at info@ideafoundry.org.

 

Read the Pittsburgh Business Times article about the Ag Tech Summit: Ag Tech Summit promotes local food as a right, not a ‘luxury item’