Breaking Assumptions about Regenerative Agriculture

Can regenerative agriculture practices be executed at a global level and feed the world population? Is it actually sustainable? How can regenerative agriculture keep up with conventional food production?

This Topical Roundtable was hosted by Felipe Villela, Founder of reNature & Lead Author at UN Environment, who – together with four next-gen panellists – uncovered the true impact of regenerative agriculture.

How to Spot Hype

What role does hype play in the startup science and technology space? Does it mislead and distract us? How can we see past it?

Gemma Milne is a freelance writer, focusing on biotech, energy, space, health, advanced computing & changing the way we do academic research. She has bylines in Forbes, Quartz, BBC, The Guardian, and many others and has just released her debut book Smoke & Mirrors—a guide to see past hype.

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The Urban Farmer

Who is farming our food in urban areas? How do we combine traditional farming practices and culture with modern approaches to make urban farming profitable and sustainable? How can we encourage young people to become next-generation farmers?

This Topical Roundtable was hosted by Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder and CEO of Agritecture. Henry is an acknowledged global thought leader in the accelerating vertical and urban agriculture industry and has facilitated, moderated and spoken at sustainability-driven forums and events worldwide. He was joined by a panel of farmers, founders, and vertical farming pioneers – from his own and the TFF network – to learn about their insights into the urban farming business and what the future holds for a new generation of farmers.

Panelists: Lydia Nebel (farmer, Melbourne), Khaled Majouji (The Plant Charmer, Quebec), Alexandre Lefebvre (Founder of Alaube, Brussels), Alissa Welker (farmer advocate, Pennsylvania), Grahame Dunling (CEO of UNS Farms, Dubai), David Goldstein (Teens for Food Justice, NYC), Maurice Small (farmer, Atlanta)

For Farmers by Farmers

Can we make farming more efficient with robots? What are the latest developments in agritech? And how can small, farming robots improve crop yield and reduce farming’s impact on the environment?

We were joined by Ben Scott-Robinson, co-founder of the Bristol-based Small Robot Company who have a vision to make food production sustainable, reduce farming’s impact on the environment and increase farm outputs globally. Their farmbots Tom, Dick and Harry will plant, feed and weed arable crops autonomously, with minimal waste.

We talked about Small Robot Company’s approach providing farming as a service, their learnings thus far and how they have been impacted by COVID-19. We’re in the fourth agricultural revolution and this is an exciting time for everyone involved. Watch the video to learn why!

Post-Covid Scenarios for Smallholders

How has the day-to-day changed for smallholder farmers since Covid-19 and what changes will remain? Is the pandemic actually helping us make positive shifts in our food systems and benefit all stakeholders involved in harvesting and producing the food we eat every day?

For this Topical Roundtable, we were joined by entrepreneurs from Oceania and Africa: Sam Coggins (co-founder of RiseHarvest, 2018 TFF Finalist), Lintang Kusuma (chief R&D and operations at Neurafarm, 2019/20 TFF Finalist), Samuel Rigu (CEO of Safi Organics, 2018 TFF Runner-Up), Lincoln Lee (co-founder of Rice Inc., 2018 TFF x Borlaug Take-it-to-the-Farmer Prize Winner)

Specific Needs of Farmers

What effects is the pandemic having on farmers? What can we learn and how can we seize the chance to build more inclusive and smallholder-empowering food systems?

This Open Conversation will be hosted by Mariana Vasconcelos, daughter of farmers, founder of Agrosmart and Forbes under 30 awardee; and Matt Foley, who leads The Combine AgriFood Incubator and assists in the management of the venture portfolio for Invest Nebraska and is also the North America TFF Regional Coordinator.

Connecting Growers and Consumers

The global pandemic has broken supply chains. What can we do to solve this? How can we improve the movement of goods locally, regionally and globally, and improve traceability from farm to fork?

For this TFF Topical Roundtable, we have invited next-gen entrepreneurs from Uganda, Venezuela, Indonesia, Colombia and Nigeria who have been on the frontlines of food supply chain transformation. They shared their wealth of local knowledge and insights so that we can all find solutions to build more connected and inclusive food systems. This is an *output-focused* discussion, leading to a roadmap for food and agriculture entrepreneurs everywhere in the world. The insights we gathered can be applied in diverse locations around the world to accelerate innovation and grow strong from the inundating challenges of the pandemic.

Panellists: Fernando Salerno (Founder & CEO Níspero Project, Venezuela), Darío González (Co-founder & CEO Cultivando Futuro, Colombia), Morris Esther Opiyo (CTO Sparky, Uganda), Albert Kure (Co-founder FrontierSS, Nigeria), Febri Aditya Sigiro (Founder & CEO Aglonera, Indonesia)

Urban, Hyperlocal Supply Chains

The Open Conversation was led by Maeva Dang and Felipe Hernandez. Maeva is the Project Engineer at White Lioness Technologies and TFF Regional Coordinator for Europe, who has completed her PhD studies in Engineering Sciences. During her studies, she researched and published papers on Urban Parametric Design and Green Infrastructure Planning.

Felipe Hernandez is a TFF Ambassador in Milan and the CEO and founder of Hexagro Urban Farming, a company that develops modular, scalable and automated vertical gardens to grow healthy food into any interior with a vision to make collaborative urban farming a regenerative solution to decentralize food production, enhance its supply chain and increase food quality within cities.

Panellists: Marie Brueser (TFF Engagement Officer), Lisanne Meulendijks (Europe TFF Ambassador), Henry Gordon-Smith (Founder & CEO of Agritecture), Ricardo Ramirez-Gonzalez (2019/20 TFF Space Colonisation Prize Winner with GrowCab), Hiranga Rasila Goonawardena (Architect and 2019/20 TFF Participant)

Multi-Localised Food Production

After successfully piloting Christine & Guests last fall, we now bring it back with Henrik Stamm Kristensen, the Founder at Blendhub and CloudBlending PaaS to talk about multi-localised food production and how Blendhub evolved from being a food production company to a technology service platform.

Henrik is a non-conformist and a visionary entrepreneur who has founded 4 food tech companies and one community platform and has invested more than 50 million euros because he is committed to change the entire agri-food value chain and make access to food and nutrition fairer and safer, reaching more people in more places.

A Startup Roadmap for Implementing Circular Principles

As the last session of our Circular Economy special week, Simona Grande, Researcher at Food Innovation Program and circular economy expert, is joined by the top six teams selected in the TFF x FLAG Circular Economy of Food Challenge earlier this year: Feitosa Foodtech, Kua Coffee, Tiger House, Kaffe Bueno, Liv up and Agricycle Global.

The questions discussed here aim to provide a roadmap and actionable steps to help any entrepreneur and innovator in our global community to better implement circular principles into their ventures.

How to Run a Circular Venture

In this session, our host Simona Grande was joined by Jeff Anderson, a serial entrepreneur who founded a cleantech startup, venture capital firm, and serves on multiple tech company boards. Jeff is also a member of the Food Lab Accelerator at Google (FLAG) expert cohort who mentor the winners and shortlisted teams of the TFF x FLAG Circular Economy of Food Prize Winners.

Simona elicited Jeff’s expert view on how startups can successfully incorporate circular principles into their food ventures and how it helps them appeal to investors. They also tapped into the actions that we see big corporates are taking to make a shift from linear to circular systems.

Circular Economy of Food Case Study

Agricycle Global creates fully traceable and ethical products empowering over 11,000 rural farmers worldwide. The team is a TFF Boost Team and also made it on the Circular Economy of Food Prize shortlist.

Their products include dried fruit snacks, flours and charcoals produced using a fully vertically-integrated supply system approach incorporating circular economy principles. Our host of the day, Simona Grande, who is a researcher and TFF mentor, talked to the team members Ashlie Benson (Director of Impact) and Patrick Nderitu (Director of East Africa) to learn how they have implemented circular principles in their business model and how they have dealt with roadblocks and opportunities in the past.

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