Are you plugged in to #foodtech?

by Emily Townsend
February, 2017

We depend on technology more every day. In many ways technology is creating a disconnect between the physical and the virtual world. We can go on a dinner date or we can just go on an online dating app; we can pick up the daily paper or instead open up an online news source. However, could we use technology to grow our own food just as easily as ordering it online? After three informative presentations from Valerie Song, Nicholas Perrin, and Michael Moll, it’s evident that we can!

Valerie Song from AVA Technologies shared the work that this Agri-Tech company is doing to bring food production into homes. Currently, 54% of people are not growing their own food, but AVA Technologies is working to change this through their innovative AVA Byte. The AVA Byte is a smart garden that allows any individual to grown fresh ingredients year-round. It is a soil and pesticide-free compact system that uses smart sensing technology to automatically adjust watering and lighting. So whether you’re a farmer or a computer programmer, the AVA Byte lets you grow that missing ingredient you can’t find anywhere, with little hassle.

Nicholas Perrin from EarthForwards is looking to use technology as a tool for developing direct relationships between producers and consumers. EarthForwards wants to “create an end-to-end food experience” where retailers and farmers would get a limited online credit based on the amount of food produced. With direct information of what farmers can and are producing, grocery stores could become crowdfunding platforms for the local economy and contribute to a less wasteful and more equitable distribution of food.

Michael Moll from My Green Space has developed his own website and phone application to help individuals “grown food with confidence”. With his experience growing up in agriculture-focused Kenya and moving to technology-oriented Vancouver, Michael noticed that he could use these two experiences to help people grow their own food. With My Green Space anyone can create a garden with complete guidance. The application eliminates points of failure by giving personalized instructions about all the necessary materials and information to grow your own garden.

Monday night was a night of delicious food and insightful conversation! We thank Be Fresh for a delicious vegetarian meal, as well as Valerie, Nicholas, and Michael for three inspiring presentations. As problems with our food increase and technology advances, we must, not only understand the problems, but also the solutions that technology can provide for our current food system.