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June 19, 2019 Afternoon

Welcome from Rethink Events

Abigail Ryder, Senior Conference Producer, RETHINK EVENTS

Welcome Address

Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, CITY OF NEW YORK

Technology and the Changing Food Supply Chain

Walter Robb, Executive in Residence, S2G VENTURES & Former Co-CEO, WHOLE FOODS MARKET

Nutrition and Food Security in the City: The Role of Indoor Farming in the Future Food System
  • By 2050, 80% of all food consumed will be within cities. How does the food system model need to evolve to meet the future food demands of cities? What challenges will this create?
  • Vertical and indoor farming offer an opportunity to augment existing food production through decentralized systems. What mix of centralised and decentralized systems is needed to feed a city?
  • How does a decentralized system integrate into a smarter, automated food retail model? What visions are being put forward around the concept of food parks and smart clusters? How does this change the economic viability of vertical agriculture?
  • What regulatory framework is needed to stimulate change and provide the funding and research into decentralized local food production systems?

Session Chair:
Sanjeev Krishnan, CIO & Managing Director, S2G VENTURES

Caleb Harper, Director, Open Agriculture (OpenAG), MIT MEDIA LAB

Pick to Plate: Why Chefs Are Looking to Indoor Farming for Fresh, Year-Round Produce

Consumers in the US now spend more on eating out and ordering in than on groceries – a trend that is being seen globally.  Restaurants, chefs and menu designers for large franchise operations are therefore hugely influential in deciding the type of food that consumers eat.

  • How is the demand for fresh and locally grown produce featuring on the chef’s menu?
  • How important are indoor production methods in meeting demand?
  • What crops/flavour profiles would chefs like to see in the future?

Irving Fain, CEO & Co-Founder, BOWERY FARMING
Tom Colicchio, Owner & Chef, TEMPLE COURT 

Investor Panel: Streamlining Access to Capital and Partnerships for Growth
  • The indoor farming technology market and the vertical farming industry are set on a path for rapid growth over the next five years. What progress has the industry made in a year? What have been the biggest success stories and why?
  • What concerns do investors have in investing in the industry and how are those fears and concerns being addressed? What certainties do new investors need to see?
  • What investment are we seeing in the enabling technologies – LEDs, robotics etc that will underpin the industry?
  • What is the right type of finance to grow the industry? How can different categories of capital align more effectively to help take systems to scale?

Session Chair:
Adam Bergman, Head of AgTech & FoodTech Investment Banking, WELLS FARGO

Reuben Teague,Vice President, Impact & Responsible Investing, PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL
Delphine Descamps, Managing Director, CREADEV
Scott Horner, Managing Director, MIDDLELAND CAPITAL
Gregory Oberholtzer,
Senior Managing Director, WP GLOBAL PARTNERS

Networking Drinks Reception

Day Two — June 20, 2019 Morning

Innovating Indoors: How Wendy’s is Partnering with Greenhouse Growers to Deliver on its Fresh Promise

Liliana Esposito, Chief Communications Officer, WENDY’S

Business Models and Partnerships: Matching Indoor Production to Meet Future Market Needs
  • 35% of fruits and vegetables eaten in the US today are imported. How are greenhouse cultivators and indoor operators looking to ramp up production to meet future demand? What pain points are they looking to solve?
  • From genetics, lighting solutions and robotics to new business model design – which technologies need to scale to hit the cost per pound and cost per square foot that will make projects bankable?
  • How will the interdisciplinary skill set within management teams need to evolve to ensure the long term growth of the indoor produce sector?
  • How are indoor operations becoming more sophisticated and how are we going to see the lines between greenhouse and vertical becoming more blurred going forward?

Session Chair:
Nick Houshower, Vice President, Controlled Environment Foods, EQUILIBRIUM CAPITAL

Peter Quiring, President & CEO, NATUREFRESH FARMS
Paul Selina, VP Applied Research, VILLAGE FARMS
Matt Roy, Senior Director, Produce, US FOODS
Ian Justus, Senior Director, Controlled Environment Production, DRISCOLL’S

Mapping the Pathway of Cost Competitive Hydroponic Lettuce Production: Lessons Learnt from Finland and Opportunities for North America


Bringing to Life the Digital Farmer

Words like AI, machine learning, data analytics, prediction and autonomous systems are used daily in the industry but how can it feasibly be applied, what are the roadblocks and what is the real value to growers?

Get the first look at what’s possible when the technology comes together.

Darryn Keiller, CEO, AUTOGROW

Networking Coffee Break

Hosted by:

Food Safety and Labelling: The Collective Benefits of Greater Standardization
  • The Indoor and VF farming industry has the opportunity to position itself as a safer alternative to agricultural production. How should growers be designing and engineering their operations to get the right precautions in place and ensure they set off on the right foot?
  • Beyond food safety where else can the industry agree on standards for the sector? How would a move to greater standardization and a collective dialogue to consumers and retailers help further establish and elevate the industry?

Session Chair:

David Rosenberg, CEO & Co-Founder, AEROFARMS
Paul Lightfoot, CEO, BRIGHTFARMS
Chelsea Davidson, Consumer Safety Officer, Office of Food Safety, U.S. FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION

What Success is Japan Having in Taking Indoor Farming to an Industrial Scale?

JJ Price, Business Development Director, SPREAD

Networking Roundtables

The popular, interactive roundtables are your opportunity to join one of 13 roundtable debates to learn and share fresh thinking. Moderated by industry leaders, this is a great way to connect with others who share your focus.

  • 1. Plant Science: How can we optimise traits to indoor systems? – Host: Freek Knol, Business Manager North America, ENZA ZADEN
  • 2. Finance: What type of finance is needed for vertical farming? – Host: Brian Mixer, Investment Director, MIDDLELAND CAPITAL
  • 3. Consumers: How are shifting consumer preferences driving research in indoor ag? – Host: Amy Bowen, Research Director, Consumer Insights, VINELAND RESEARCH & INNOVATION CENTRE
  • 4. Retail: What do retailers need in terms of sustainability, taste, consistency and security of supply? – Host: Victor Verlage, Senior Director, Resilient Sourcing, WALMART
  • 5. Business Models: Which business models will enable the indoor ag sector the sector to scale rapidly? Host: Nick Houshower, Vice President, Controlled Environment Foods, EQUILIBRIUM CAPITAL
  • 6. Robotics & Automation: How can we take automation from pilot to mainstream? – Host: Adrian Percy,  Chief Technology Officer, FINISTERE VENTURES
  • 7. What Research & Development is NeededCo-Hosts: Sarah Federman, Science & Technology Policy Fellow, Office of Chief Scientist, USDA & Gene Kim, National Program Leader for Aquaculture, USDA
  • 8. Lighting: How are advances in LED technology improving yield, quality, nutrition and efficiency – Host: Blake Lange, Business Development Manager, SIGNIFY
  • 9. Cannabis: What lessons can the cannabis market and indoor produce sector teach each other? – Host: John Mcferson, VP of Plant Breeding, PHYLOS BIOSCIENCE
  • 10. Industrial Partners: What industrial partnerships are needed to help grow the indoor ag sector? – Host: Adam Bergman, Head of AgTech & FoodTech Investment Banking, WELLS FARGO
  • 11. AI & Machine Learning: How will AI transform indoor farming? – Host: Louis Fu, Partner, TENCENT EXPLORATION TEAM
  • 12. Economics of Scaling: How can we overcome the bottlenecks to scale up indoor farming? – Host: Neil Mattson, CEA Director & Associate Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science, CORNELL UNIVERSITY
  • 13. Sustainability: How can we foster greater sustainability in vertical farming? – Host: Joel Cuello, Vice Chair, ASSOCIATION FOR VERTICAL FARMING
Networking Lunch

Day Two — June 20, 2019 Afternoon

The Economic Footprint of Scaling Urban Controlled Environment Agriculture

Neil Mattson, CEA Director & Associate Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science, CORNELL UNIVERSITY

From Pilot to Mainstream: Automation and Systems Design to Transform Horticulture
  • How can the industry collaborate to move towards greater integration and complete systems design? What role should different providers and suppliers play in building out capabilities? Why are operators still designing their own systems?
  • Labour shortage is causing billions of dollars in lost productivity and sales across all food production systems. What automation options exist today? What breakthroughs are coming and what collaborations are needed to accelerate future developments? Is full automation attainable, and for what size of operation?
  • How can we ensure that, as technologies evolve over time, new technologies remain accessible and viable to operators? What new business models are needed?

Session Chair:
Adrian Percy,  Chief Technology Officer, FINISTERE VENTURES

Mike Zelkind, CEO, 80ACRES FARMS
Jan Westra, Strategic Business Developer, PRIVA
Martin Veenstra, Head of Global Strategy, Indoor Farming, CERTHON
Adam Greenberg, CEO, IUNU
Darryn Keiller, CEO, AUTOGROW

How Full Spectrum Lighting is Driving the Future of Farming

Zafar Shahbaz, Director of Application Engineering, SAMSUNG LED NORTH AMERICA 

Plants and Crops: Capturing Market Value Through Better Breeding, Genetics and Lighting
  • What crops and varieties are going indoors? What research is being carried out in universities, seed companies and inhouse to match genetics with indoor production environments? When will we see tailored indoor varieties that target consumer traits like texture, taste and flavour?
  • To what extent can we manipulate the environmental variables of the lighting spectrum, nutrition and CO2 to drive specific production outcomes of biomass, flavour and quality?
  • Gene editing could play a central role in the economic viability of indoor crops, but will consumers accept it? How can the industry balance the risk and the rewards being offered?
  • What are the future market opportunities for nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals for indoor growing operations? Where are the large-scale opportunities and how is the cannabis sector driving innovation and unlocking new insights?

Session Chair:

Jade Stinson, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, VINDARA
John Mcferson, Vice President, Plant Breeding, PHYLOS BIOSCIENCE
Ali Ahmadian, President & CEO, HELIOSPECTRA
Jan van den Berg, Manager Strategic Alliance & Partnering, BASF
David Hawley, Senior Scientist, R&D, FLUENCE BY OSRAM

Networking Coffee Break
Why Study Plants in Space?

Miki Sode, Commercial Innovation Programme Manager, INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION NATIONAL LABORATORY

Technology Showcase

Discover new and disruptive technology solutions and meet tomorrow’s business leaders. Six selected early-to-mid stage indoor agtech companies will each be given seven minutes to pitch their solution to a panel of shark investors and the summit audience.

Josh Lessing, Co-Founder & CEO, ROOT AI
Dan Nelson, Co-Founder & CEO, GROW COMPUTER
John Jackson, CEO, SIGS

Shark Panel:
Brian Rich, Managing Partner, CATALYST INVESTORS

Rethinking Retail: How is the Produce Section Set to Evolve over the Next 5-10 Years?
  • How are VF operators and retailers innovating together to create in-store and hyper-local farming experiences to excite consumers and deliver new benchmarks in freshness? How can retailers and growers capture shared value from the relationship and the shopper experience?
  • How important are long term partnerships between retailers and growers in establishing and maintaining consumer loyalty? Will brands become king as consumers look for new and innovative food experiences?
  • How is the relationship between indoor cultivation and food retail evolving? What would food retail like to see in the partnership from a quality, convenience, flavour and year-round security of supply? How can operators better align product categories with the product strategies?

Session Chair:
Louisa Burwood-Taylor, Head of Media & Research, AGFUNDER 

Viraj Puri, Co-Founder & CEO, GOTHAM GREENS
Chris Manca, Northeast Region Local Program Coordinator, WHOLE FOODS MARKET
Andrew Carter, Co-Founder & CEO, SMALLHOLD
Erez Galonska, Founder & CEO, INFARM

Closing Remarks & Close of Summit

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