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PMA Takes on Tech Podcast

June 22
Bright Farms, Oysters and Beer with Paul Lightfoot
Vonnie Estes

Description: Join a lively discussion with Paul Lightfoot, founder and president at Bright Farms. We talk about his journey with Bright Farms over the last 10 years and the strengths he sees with indoor growing around supply chain and water. Paul has also started a newsletter called Negative Foods and is on a mission to eat and promote foods based on regenerative farming practices that draw carbon from the atmosphere. Paul believes if we eat foods that draw down carbon on a net basis, our food system will be a lever to reverse climate change. We cover climate change, carbon negative foods, a challenge to organic crop systems and oysters and beer.   Speakers:

  • Paul Lightfoot President & Founder BrightFarms

Vonnie Estes, PMA: Welcome to PMA Takes On Tech. The...

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June 15
Chile: A private / public sector success story
Vonnie Estes

Description: This episode focuses on the success story of fruit production in Chile. The public and private sectors have worked together to expand production of fruit using all types of technology and innovation. In 2019, the fruit-growing sector in Chile achieved record exports, of over $6.5 B US dollars with an increase of 3.6% compared to 2018. This is a reflection of Chile's strategy of expanding into new markets which has led to a significant increase in the number of export destinations, up from 78 markets in 2003 to 129 in 2019. Hear about the work being done in both sectors. And enjoy your winter blueberries.   Speakers:

  • Andres Rodriguez, Agricultural Attaché to the United States & Canada, Embassy of Chile
  • Stanley Best, Director Nacional de Agricultura de...

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May 11
Big happenings in Israel in AgTech (Part 2)
Vonnie Estes

Description: I had so much interest in being on the podcast in Israel that we are doing Part 2! As a global innovation hub, Israel uses novel technologies to lead the AgTech and FoodTech industry towards a more efficient and sustainable future; it serves as a global laboratory for producing more food using fewer resources. Israeli start-ups are improving traditional agriculture by introducing new, groundbreaking technologies in the field. The country has a strong ecosystem with universities, a long history in food production with multinational VC’s and Corporates involved in financing and strong government support. In Part 2 of our episodes on Israel, we hear from experts and industry veterans on what is happening in Israel and why it is a good place to start a company. The...

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May 04
The Latest in AgTech SPAC’s, Carbon Markets, Indoor Farming & More with Vonnie Estes & The Modern Acre
Vonnie Estes

Description: I turn the microphone around with Tim and Tyler Nuss from The Modern Acre. We hit updates and insights in some hot topics in agriculture. We talk through the recent coming together of PMA and United Fresh, the latest in carbon markets, agtech exits including SPAC’s, indoor farming, and seeing a Rivian in the wild! This episode has it all.

Speakers:

  • Vonnie Estes, Vice President, Technology, PMA
  • Tim Nuss, Senior Manager, Customer Success at Apeel Sciences, Co-Founder at The Modern Acre, Partner of Nuss Farms
  • Tyler Nuss, Group Manager, Commercial Purchasing at Rivian, Co-Founder of The Modern Acre, Strategy & Marketing for Nuss Farms

Vonnie Estes, PMA: Welcome to PMA takes on tech. The podcast that explores the problems, solutions, people, and ideas...

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April 27
Big happenings in Israel in AgTech (Part 1)
Vonnie Estes

 

Description: As a global innovation hub, Israel uses novel technologies to lead the AgTech and FoodTech industry towards a more efficient and sustainable future; it serves as a global laboratory for producing more food using fewer resources. Israeli start-ups are improving traditional agriculture by introducing new, groundbreaking technologies in the field. The country has a strong ecosystem with universities, a long history in food production with multinational VC’s and Corporates involved in financing and strong government support. In Part 1 of the a 2 part series on Israel, we hear from experts and industry veterans on what is happening in Israel and why it is a good place to start a company. The conversation ranges from plant genetics to hyperspectral machine vision...

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April 20
Singapore’s well-designed AgTech ecosystem
Vonnie Estes

Description:With little farming land, Singapore imports 90% of the food it consumes. Coupled with the recent supply chain shocks, the government has set up a number of programs and incentives for local food production and innovation. In this episode, we hear from there different companies in the well-functioning AgTech ecosystem in Singapore. Benny Chng from SGInnovate discusses the companies they are investing in at this time and why food and ag are important. We also hear from Foong Yoke Oon who with her husband is building Ubertas Agritech, a vertical farm to serve Singapore. And Adrian Teo from DiMuto a global commerce solution company for the produce market. These three conversations illustrate what a good ecosystem can bring to a sector with government support, private sector...

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April 13
Why it’s time to invest in the Food Supply Chain and where to look
Vonnie Estes

Description: Be ready to take notes! This episode covers the needs of the food supply chain which was pushed into the spotlight by COVID-19. As we saw shortages on the shelf, and supply disruption and dislocations in production and distribution, this complicated question arose: What does it take to get data flowing from farm to plate to resiliently manage the supply chain? Brita and Seana have previously covered the well-funded ends of the supply chain. Seana in AgTech and Brita in Foodtech. They believe there is tremendous, untapped opportunity for vertical-specific technology companies which are focused on serving the unique needs of the food supply chain. After listening to this episode, you will to! Moderator: Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology, Produce Marketing...

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April 06
AgTech in South Africa
Vonnie Estes

Description: Chief Economist Wandile Sihlobo talks about what technology is important in boosting productivity in Africa along with how growing more produce can help address unemployment on the Continent. We also hear from two entrepreneurial companies from South Africa who have developed solutions to problems Wandile discusses and have gone global. Greg Whitaker from AgrigateOne discusses how their produce supply chain data systems supply insights to growers and buyers.  Vic van den Berg from Aerobotics talks about their intelligent tools for orchards.  Moderator: Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology, Produce Marketing Association Panelists:

  • Vic van den Berg – VP of Grower Relations, Aerobotics
  • Wandile Sihlobo Chief Economist, Agricultural Business...

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March 09
SBIR grants: A way to grow early-stage innovation without dilution
Vonnie Estes

Description: You have a great innovative idea that will have revolutionary impact on the produce industry. You have tapped out friends and family but you aren’t ready to go to a VC and give up equity in your business yet. What can you do? Government funding is a great way to help advance your small business's technology. One of the most popular government funding avenues is the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. SBIR is a United States government program, coordinated by the Small Business Administration, intended to help small businesses conduct R&D. The funding is a grant that requires no equity. In this episode, hear from experts about how the program works and examples grants and their benefits. Moderator: Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology, Produce...

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March 02
AgTech Investing: Where is Smart Money Going?
Vonnie Estes

Description: Understanding where investors put their money in 2020 will help guide predictions for 2021. In this session Ingrid Fung, an Investment Director with Finistere Ventures, will discuss what areas of agricultural technology venture capitalists invested in in 2020. We will also hear from AgTech companies about what it took to weather COVID-19 and fundraise during such a difficult year.

Panelists:

  • Ingrid Fung, Investment Director, Finistere Ventures
  • Jacqueline Heard, Founder & CEO, Enko Chem, Inc.
  • Han Chen, Co-founder and CEO, ZeaKal, Inc.

Vonnie Estes: Welcome to PMA Takes on Tech, the podcast that explores the problems, solutions, people, and ideas that are shaping the future of the produce industry. I'm your host, Vonnie Estes, vice president of technology...

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February 23
Driscoll’s and Plenty: The best of GxE and beyond!
Vonnie Estes

Description:  Join the conversation with Nate Storey of Plenty and Scott Komar of Driscoll’s about their R&D collaboration. Driscoll’s and Plenty are partnering to bring berries with superior flavor to all regions of the world.  Plenty will incorporate Driscoll’s proprietary genetics and berry expertise into its advanced, indoor farming technology using its plant science, data science, and robotics expertise. Through this controlled environment, Plenty can consistently deliver great flavors from Driscoll’s varieties, while also optimizing for texture and size. The indoor environment allows companies to meet the future needs of consumers worldwide, including geographical locations that are not hospitable to growing strawberries.   Speakers:

...

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    February 16
    Brazil: A Booming AgTech Ecosystem
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: In this episode, we continue our virtual tour to Brazil to explore the AgTech explosion. We discuss the flourishing tech and innovation ecosystem developing in the country. Startups in Brazil have access to a market with one of the highest levels of mobile saturation, a wide range of investment options from local and international Brazil-centric funds, and support from a government that has made driving business growth one of its key priorities. In agriculture specifically, Brazil has transformed itself from food importer into one of the world’s leading producers in less than 30 years. Brazil is the first tropical country to be among the world’s leading food exporters. It is now the leading producer and exporter of sugar, coffee and orange juice, and the second...

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    February 09
    Personalized Nutrition: N-of-1
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: We would all like to know what exactly we should eat to make and keep us healthy and to support maximum performance. And some of us would follow the advice! This would require knowing our genetics, immediate environmental factors, and the nutrient make up of the exact food you’re are eating. This requires data from your body and the food. I would love to open an app and have it all there for me. Listen to this episode to find out where we are in the that process. We hear from Dr. Sarah Laskey, a data scientist, Dr. Haven Baker from Pairwise and Greg Shewmaker from Teak Origin talk about what their companies are doing to make and keep us healthy.  

    Guests

    • Dr. Haven Baker Pairwise
    • Greg Shewmaker Teak Origin
    • Dr. Sarah Laskey 

    Vonnie...

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    February 02
    AgTech Happenings in Australia
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: PMA Takes on Tech hits the virtual road to explore what is happening in other regions. Agriculture is an important and growing industry in Australia. The country has thriving agtech clusters and world-class life sciences institutions that support industry, investment, academia and government to commercialize new products and processes.  However like most regions, global warming and diminishing natural resources present challenges to agriculture along with the rising cost of energy, labor, fertilizer, seeds and herbicides. Searching for solutions to these challenges with in-country support has created a good environment for Agtech to grow and prosper. We talk to Sarah Nolet and Matthew Pryor who are center stage for this growth. And also two entrepreneurs: Dr. Nancy...

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    January 22
    Water conservation in Controlled Environment Agriculture
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: Controlled Environment Agriculture, including indoor and greenhouse production, is a small but high-potential, rapidly growing part of the food system. CEA can play a role to ensure food security and supply chain resilience. And also meet consumer demands around transparency, traceability, and sustainability while supplying nutritious, high-quality products that taste good. CEA requires a fraction of the water of other types of production, often up to 90-95% less. In this episode we talk to Dr. Alexa Lamm about water conservation technology in CEA and then two giants in CEA: AppHarvest and Plenty about how they manage their water use. 

    Guests

    • Dr. Alexa Lamm, Associate Professor at University of Georgia in the Department of Ag Leadership and Communication...

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    December 15
    What is the Consumer's Role In The Food, Ag & Health Story?
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: Join this conversation originally recorded at Crusonia on the Delta: Food is Health Digital Forum in November. We dig into three areas: the consumer, the modern food system and action for progress. We come at these topics from different perspectives and experiences but all with an eye to make food healthier and more accessible for a healthier planet.

    Guests
    • Michelle Gloeckler, 30-year Retail and Consumer Goods C-level Executive; Walmart, Hershey’s
    • Matt Crisp, CEO, Benson Hill
    • Vonnie Estes, VP of Technology, Produce Marketing Association (PMA)

    Vonnie Estes: The second season of PMA Takes On Tech, the podcast that explores the problems, solutions, people, and ideas that are changing the future of the produce industry. I'm your host, Vonnie Estes, Vice...

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    December 08
    Regenerative Agriculture: Where’s the Data?
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: Regenerative Agriculture is one of the most talked about trends in the food supply chain – from producers to consumers and large food brands. In some circles it has a emotional following based on strong beliefs, not science. Having to adapt has become the norm for many farmers across the world. Changes to weather patterns, climate unpredictability and the need to protect our natural environment means that producers are now looking for new ways to enhance the resiliency of farms, boosting sustainability and biodiversity in the process. Regen Ag is farming for outcomes in a specific location considering the entire ecosystem, not using the same playbook across all systems. In this episode, we talk to two brothers working with their family farm to transition to...

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    December 01
    Bee Buzz: The importance of pollination to the produce industry
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: Pollinators are essential to the production of many of the micronutrient rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils we eat. In fact, 5-8% of global crop production depends on animal pollination for sustained production, yield and quality. In this episode we will talk to 3 experts in the field. We will first hear from Dr. Christian Maus- Entomology & Pollination Science Lead at Bayer Crop Science. He has been studying pollination globally for over 20 years and will talk to us about the importance of pollination and some of the challenges. We will also hear from two startups, Omer Davidi, CEO & Co-Founder of BeeHero https://www.beehero.io/ and Ellie Symes CEO of Bee Corp https://www.thebeecorp.com/ about their two different high tech solutions to monitor and...

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    November 24
    Exploring the “Last Mile” of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: This episode is a rebroadcast of a live PMA Virtual Town Hall held in September. In this episode we talk about the Last Mile for fresh produce and meal delivery. It is a truism in the on-demand industry today that the very last step of the supply chain is the most crucial, as well as the most problematic. Owing to its place in the end of the chain, it is often referred to as the ‘Last-Mile Delivery’. Distributing produce and prepared food direct to consumer was gaining traction prior to the pandemic and we have seen more mainstream acceptance as a result of it. We hear from Ashley Tyrner CEO and founder of FarmBox Direct, Manoel Coelho CEO and founder of Speedbird Aero and Bobby Healy CEO and founder of Manna Drone Delivery. Here are the videos mentioned in...

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    November 17
    Exploring the “First Mile” of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: We start Season 2 of PMA Takes On taking on the "first mile." The first mile in the produce industry is from harvest through packing and shipping and on into the supply chain. This includes the technology used for harvesting, shipping, packaging, storing, transportation and tracking. It is the first part of the “messy middle” and is very messy. We talk to Seana Day Partner at Better Food Ventures about defining the first mile and the challenges in making our industry run. We then talk to Gary Loh Founder and CEO of Dimuto and Ken Bui Global Head, FreshCloud Infrastructure and Analytics at AgroFresh about how their companies are helping the produce industry globally with these challenges.

    Guests
    • Seana Day, Partner, Better Food Ventures
    • Gary Loh, Founder...

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    August 12
    How COVID-19 is changing technology and technology companies
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: The COVID-19 pandemic is having a seismic effect on businesses in the produce industry, but there are lessons that can be learned. This is an opportunity to fine tune business continuity and contingency plans, and also a chance to define what is truly important and find new ways in which to grow. Join our conversation with three innovators who are responding with new solutions when challenges demand them. Discover how all along the fresh produce supply chain, technology formed in response to COVID is producing safer, more efficient tools for our industry.

    Guests
    • Boaz Bachar, CEO and Co-Founder, FieldIn
    • Carolyn Mooney, CEO and Founder, nextmv.io;
    • Lou Perez, Co-Founder and VP of Technology, Apeel Sciences

    Vonnie Estes: Welcome to PMA Takes on Tech, the podcast...

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    July 28
    PMA Takes on Tech Episode 5: Solving for the Sixth Food System
    Vonnie Estes

    Description: The history of the world’s food systems has had major shifts - from hunting, gathering, fishing and foraging through the current industrial food system. The fifth and current food system has exhausted its growth trajectory and the world is, once again, staged for a major transformation in the way that food is grown, distributed and produced. There is a movement away from an industrialized, monoculture system built to provide calories and yield to one based on healthy people and sustainable, equitable ecosystems. In the produce industry we are all about nutrient-dense fresh food for healthy people and a healthy planet. In this episode, we talk to Caesare Assad, CEO of Food System 6 a nonprofit accelerator whose mission is to support impact driven entrepreneurs as they...

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