#17AIS from the trenches in Davis

The first Ag Innovation Showcase on the West Coast marked a confluence of set and setting that brought together California’s greatest assets: global leadership in agriculture, pioneering technology solutions, and an energized network of investors ready to capitalize on solutions that can ensure prosperity and growth in food and food systems for decades to come. The reason we wanted to do it in California, beyond the fact that California has a very special footprint in agriculture and high value crops in particular, was that here in the Golden State we find a particular breadth and depth to agriculture issues that will have national and global implications into the future.

Here at #17AIS we addressed diverse topics including farm labor and automation, biotechnology concerns, complexities and losses in farm management and food supply chains, and climate change through an exploration of cutting-edge ideas in robotics, innovation around new food sources, connecting IoT to supply chains, and even natural delivery systems for disease resistance, as highlighted by our innovation showcase award winner, Bee Vectoring Technologies.

We wanted to capture that and curate the exciting and transformative innovations that are driving solutions to those problems here in one of the most agriculturally productive regions on the globe, cultivate and grow a community around ag innovation, and to connect investors and entrepreneurs in a context of supportive community, resources, service providers and academics doing groundbreaking work in agriculture.

It is important for us to continue the important work we started nine years ago in St. Louis and extend it to other ecosystems that can provide a transformative context for this kind of innovation catalyst. This is an extraordinary conference to put together, and indicates great opportunity to continue to push out on a national scale.

#17AIS at UC Davis marks the first of such expansions, and as an intimate gathering characterized by enthusiasm, interest, passion, and connection, I am tremendously pleased to have seen what a great success it became, and expect we at Larta Institute will continue the momentum built together with UC Davis and the World Food Center to move further forward with this mission-driven work.