Urban food production and distribution clearly was a topic that was on everyone’s minds, as the room filled to near capacity with eager audience members. Moderated by Editor in Chief of “Edible Manhattan” Magazine, Brian Halweil, the panel featured Andrew Carter, founder of Smallhold, Jason Green, CEO of Edenworks, Marc Oshima, Chief Marketing Officer of Aerofarms, Tobias Peggs, CEO of Square Roots, Allison Kopf, CEO of Agrilyst, and myself, Joe Swartz, VP of AmHydro. The 6 of us each spoke briefly about our respective companies, and then settled in for a robust discussion about Indoor Agriculture and audience Q & A.
While many indoor agriculture discussions tend to center around “new” or “flashy” technologies, moderator Brian Halweil instead focused the discussion on more practical approaches and how both newer and older, time-tested technologies are being implemented to successfully overcome some of the urban food production challenges that exist today. Each panelist spoke of how their particular companies are providing systems or technologies that increase production efficiencies, offer new ag employment opportunities, or increase the availability of fresh, local food. While some offered differing opinions, in most cases all panelists agreed on the needs of the community and the various vehicles in which those needs could be met.