Future Farmers Network and Agrifutures Australia supported on FFN member to attend the evokeAG conference in Melbourne in February. Moree Farm Technologist Alice Clarke headed to the event, and here’s what she thought about it.
Walking away from evokeAG last week I am still digesting the quantity of content delivered over the two day event. With just under 100 speakers and 1300 delegates there was shortage of information & knowledge being shared around. Although evokeAG covered a diverse range of topics strong themes appeared including Australia’s place in the agtech startup and investor space, what consumers take into consideration when selecting foods and enabling data driven decisions. The speakers ranged from start ups, scientists, venture capitalists, investors, and producers from across Australia, food commentators, tech specialists, communications providers to Future Young Leaders.
Going as an agronomist/grower this was great as you got an insight into what other producers are doing to create efficiencies using technology and data in their business from office to paddock and through to market. On the flip side it was eye opening to see the perspective of other professionals in the agricultural space and how they are developing or using technology and why. One of the biggest things that I took away from the two days was to think broader and not only look at what people are doing in your own industry.
Speaker highlights included Mike Lee from Alpha Food Labs determining that 76% of consumers care about their food’s story. Also that food professionals such as chefs are now showcasing the food rather than what they can do with it. Row 7 seeds by chef Dan Barber is an example of this breeding fruit and vegetables purely based on taste to reduce the need to add sauces and keep the eating experience ‘clean’. Jack Cowin from Competitive Foods Australia covered the big stuff from the success of his vegan meat patties in Hungary Jacks and how they moving forward to process Australian lentils & chickpeas in Victoria for Hungary Jacks vegan burger. A great session was held on producer led innovations: The stories of farmers using innovation everyday with Mark Mortimer, Brad Jones & Sue Middleton. Sue Middleton emphasised starting with an objective and developing a plan. Her business has used this method to be able to sell lemons internationally by using imaging to grade the fruit.
Startup alley had over 30 stall holders with some exciting products. Robotics featured with SwarnFarm having a full model on display. Other startup standouts were Bioscout an AI platform using sensors to detect disease in crops. Also Zetifi helping combat the on farm connectivity with a wifi system that can be fitted at a base or on a moving vehicle. Farmbot featured durable water monitors that can be fitted to tanks, storages or channels.
Finally a massive thank you to AgriFutures Australia and Future Farmers Network for giving me the opportunity to attend such a great event the experience was highly valuable. If on social media would recommend checking out the evokeAG twitter for highlights or follow the #evokeag.