AUSTIN, TEXAS (March 9, 2018) — To bridge the gap between farm fields and family tables, Land O’Lakes, Inc. has created “The Food Effect” — an interactive experience that is part of South by Southwest (SXSW) and runs March 9 through 12 at 311 East Fifth Street (at Trinity Street), adjacent to the Austin Convention Center.
Land O’Lakes is hosting a dynamic roster of media, academics, entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and policy makers to participate in The Food Effect, including representatives from National Geographic, Microsoft, fairlife Milk, Feeding America, Nerd Nite, George Washington University, the University of California–Davis, the University of Minnesota, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Gro Intelligence and Dairy Management Inc.
“Food should be a subject that brings society together, not one that drives us apart. Land O’Lakes is committed to convening meaningful farm-to-fork conversations between consumers, farmers, scientists and everyone in between to improve our understanding of one another and what we value as we face the challenge of feeding a growing global population,” said Chris Policinski, president and chief executive officer, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
“Modern challenges to food production, like climate change and how we define sustainability, can be uncomfortable to talk about, but more importantly they create opportunity for innovation and collaboration. Our goal with The Food Effect is to start a dialogue at SXSW about these vital issues, then encourage attendees to continue those conversations after the conference and invite others into the mix.”
Thought-provoking, dialogue-inspiring panels
Throughout The Food Effect, Land O’Lakes is hosting four days of central dialogue conversations and panels whose participants have diverse points of view, including food policy experts, university researchers, authors, technology gurus and farmers. Here is a rundown of marquee events and program synopses for each day.
DAY 1: Friday, March 9
Science Can Save the World (But Only if We Let It)
Emmy-award-winning journalist and CNN host Frank Sesno moderates a panel of experts from the education and private sectors who discuss the symbiotic relationship between science and food production. Panelists include Beth Dunford, Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future, USAID; Dr. Lisa Dyson, founder and CEO, Kiverdi; and Pamela Ronald, Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center, University of California, Davis, and Co-author, Tomorrow’s Table, Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food. They will lead an honest conversation about why promoting food security matters, and the tradeoffs we make when considering solutions.
MAY 2: Saturday, March 10
Why the Future of Food Will Look Like the Past—Human: A National Geographic “Future of Food” Event
Tracie McMillan, National Geographic contributor and New York Times best-selling author of The American Way of Eating, offers a surprising, behind-the-scenes story of how her field reporting around the globe taught her that the future of food is not only tech—it’s human.
A Dairy and Dialogue discussion in the morning, Meet Today’s Modern Farmer, unpacks the sometimes surprising realities of the people who feed us and the ways they use technology. To cap off the day, a Nerd Nite event, A Tale of Two Cities—Empowering Communities on the Front Lines of Food Security, will explore urban food systems and ways we can all fight hunger in America.
DAY 3: Sunday, March 11
The Mathematical Age of Agriculture
Big data is revolutionizing agriculture. It’s also expensive. How can we ensure it’s accessible to farms of all types and sizes? Alexis Glick, former Fox Business Network anchor and chief executive officer of GENYOUth, moderates a panel discussion on the topic. Panelists include Teddy Bekele, vice president of ag technology, WinField United; Sara Menker, CEO, Gro Intelligence; and Claudia Roessler WW industry director, Chemical, Agricultural, Life Sciences Industry, Microsoft.
Day 4: Monday, March 12
Revolutionizing the Food Chain: A National Geographic “Future of Food” Event
The way we grow, deliver and prepare food is about to change. So should the way we think about it. A panel of experts takes a deep dive into the possibilities of the future of food, moderated by National Geographic executive digital editor Dan Gilgoff. Also on Monday, industry leaders will explore the ag sector’s responsibilities to the consumers of today and tomorrow in All Farming Is Good Farming, a Dairy and Dialogue discussion.
An immersive, 360 experience
In addition to panel discussions, The Food Effect features a variety of interactive exhibits to illustrate the key challenges and innovations associated with food production. The goal of the experience is to create open dialogue and meaningful interactions that build mutual understanding between those with potentially divergent ideas and ultimately identify solutions and paths forward to help address issues of food security. Here is a sampling of the exhibits at The Food Effect:
•What’s in the Box: Virtual reality provides a front-row seat to experience innovative farming techniques in action — inside a giant head of lettuce.
•Gene Editor: Is it okay to hack our food? A larger-than-life DNA strand illustrates the potential of science to feed more people — and even save industries and lives.
•(Car)bon Capture: A car being pulled into a corn field? What better way to illustrate how to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, and the ways healthy soil contributes to cleaner air.
•Insecure Lines: Pick up a phone receiver and listen to the voices of people who struggle with hunger. Each time a story is heard, a meal is donated, empowering attendees to provide an immediate response to a person in need.
•Precision Art: Ground Control to Farmer Tom? See how mapping farm fields with satellite imagery helps farmers grow crops more efficiently.