Farmer in field with iPad

Best of Food IT: Fork to Farm

IoT, machine learning, and autonomous vehicles… on a farm? Welcome to the age of smart farms! This year’s Food IT: Fork to Farm conference explored the possibilities of the theme “Fork to Farm”.

Now, more than ever, consumers are using technology to drive the conversation about food. The host of the conference, The Mixing Bowl, explained that this theme represents how “the consumer’s fork [has] become mightier than the producers’ farm”.

What does this mean for the average farmer and consumer? You’ll have to read more to find out. Here are our highlights of Food IT: Fork to Farm 2017!

Here’s What You Missed!

We teamed up with SiliconAngle’s theCUBE for live coverage from Food IT: Fork to Farm. Over a single day, theCUBE conducted 13 exclusive interviews with scientists, farmers, and other food innovators from a variety of companies, including Google and Forbes Media. Check out the packed house below!

Farmers are beginning to embrace technologies that will revolutionize the agricultural industry. This movement depends on the advancement of agricultural technology, also known as “AgTech”. In AgTech, farmers first collect farming data from historical records and devices connected through IoT. Satellite imagery, soil patterns, and crop yields are all valuable sources of information.

With all of this detailed data, farming is transforming from a “data desert” to a “data flood”. The next step towards smart farms is to make sense of the facts. To analyze all this data, farmers are using machine learning to understand what types of foods consumers want and how to grow those foods better.

The Rise of Smart Farms

Paul Noglows, an Executive Producer from Forbes AgTech Summit, was at the nexus of the AgTech movement. He sees the rise of agricultural automation tying into farm planning, crop yields, and in-field robotics.

Tractors and other vehicles around the farm might soon be driving themselves. George Kellerman, who launched Yamaha Motor Ventures two years ago, has been working with his technical team to develop autonomous vehicles and advanced robotics to automate farming.

Megan Nunes, Founder of Vinsight, is using the power of satellite imagery for more efficient crop mapping. She founded her company to apply machine learning to remote sensing data, climate and weather, historical yields, and geographical information to help farmers better forecast their crops.

Making Food More Personal

When you think about Google, food probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. For Michiel Bakker, it is. As Director of Google Food, he is making food more personal and transparent at Google. With tens of thousands of employees to feed daily, his food program relies on structure and scalability.

We would like to introduce you to our talented robot friend, Sally. Sally can make over 1,000 unique salad combinations! Deepak Sekar and Kelly Olazar from Chowbotics created Sally to give consumers more control over healthier food options. Watch Sally in action crafting the perfect salad!

Have you ever thought about how important light is to plants? Light is a critical factor for plants to grow. This question motivated Shami Patel, CEO of LumiGrow, to create smart LED lighting. His company’s agricultural lighting systems, which are cloud-enabled and use IoT, are used by huge clients such as the USDA.

Food that’s Transparent and Exciting!

Congratulations to the conference creators, Rob Trice and Michael Rose of The Mixing Bowl! They know that consumers want food transparency. To achieve this goal, farms and food companies need to tell data-driven stories about food. The pair also believes in the power of machine learning and AI to drive personalized food recommendations.

Dr. Glenda Humiston is helping to bring up the next generation of AgTech innovators. As VP of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California, she is providing resources and partnerships for agricultural entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life.

Thank You!

We had so much fun connecting with innovators who are using data to feed the world better. This movement is gaining momentum and it is exciting to see what the future holds. If you have a story to tell about Food IT: Fork to Farm, add a comment to tell us your thoughts below!


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