Vote for Refresh at SXSW 2020

Refresh hopes to return to SXSW March 13-22, 2020  in Austin, Texas! YOU can help us get there by voting for our panel, “The Data-Driven Food System: From Soil to Supper,” before the selection period ends on Friday, August 23rd.

How to Cast Your Vote

  1. Visit our SXSW page:
  2. Create a #PanelPicker account
  3. Confirm your account via email
  4. Click the “vote up” icon 

The Refresh SXSW PanelPicker Top Five

SXSW PanelPicker encourages the public to help select panels for the conference through community voting. Nearly 6,000 panels have been submitted for SXSW 2020, so we’ve done some research and identified five of the most exciting food and tech panels being proposed. Be sure to check them out and cast your vote! 

1. The Data-Driven Food System: From Soil to Supper

The Refresh Working Group—40 farmers, nutritionists, retailers, researchers, and consumers— is convened by Google to collectively examine how AI is helping to improve the U.S. food system. 

Farmers today are using image recognition technologies to detect signs of bacteria or fungus—such as color change, wilting, or spots—to identify pests and plant diseases. Predictive ordering algorithms are modernizing food retail and helping to cut food waste in half. Natural language processing applications can read tweets and restaurant reviews in order to identify sources of food poisoning and improve food safety inspections. Our panel will discuss the range of new technologies transforming food production, distribution, and consumption.

Refresh Working Group panelists include Ali Lange (Google), Danielle Nierenberg (Food Tank), and Joi Chevalier (The Cook’s Nook and Austin Food Policy Board). 

2. Citizen Eaters: Food Voters in the 2020 Election

For those passionate about food systems change, every bite is an opportunity for reform. With the 2020 presidential campaign season in full swing, a growing cohort of “Citizen Eaters” have the opportunity to not only vote with their forks, but head to the ballot to vote with their votes. In this comprehensive session, our panel speakers will discuss the most pressing food issues at the center of the presidential election and how to push legislators at every level to build a thriving and equitable food system.

Panelists include Navina Khanna (HEAL Food Alliance), Spike Mendelsohn (Chef and Food Policy Advocate), Bob Martin (Center for a Livable Future), and Danielle Nierenberg (Food Tank).

3. Immigrants Feed America

Immigrants feed America. But, it’s a time of unprecedented hostility targeting migrants. With more than 28 million foreign-born people in the labor force, how does this impact the restaurant industry? How do “immigrant kitchens” shape the future of how and what we eat? From understanding immigrant-owned business leaders’ concerns to the rights of your migrant staff this panel, moderated by award-winning owner Rose Previte of DC’s Compass Rose & Maydan, will shed light on these important issues.

Panelists include Reem Assil (Reem’s California), Talia Inelender, (Immigrants’ Rights Project), and Rose Previte (Compass Rose).

4. Bugs and Kelp, the Future Foods Feeding Us in 2030

Cellular meat and bleeding plant patties may be all the rage right now, but bugs and seaweed just might be our best bet to substantially change the way we feed our population on a global scale. Alternative crops like kelp, algae and seaweed, and alternative livestock like farmed insects are both often overshadowed by flashier techno-food solutions with wild valuations, but both are nutritionally dense and resource efficient methods to grow food that can be deployed today, with historic and cultural roots worldwide.

Panelists include Tom Philpott (Mother Jones), Kerry Rupp (True Wealth Ventures), Mohammed Ashour (Aspire Food Group), and Liz Koutsos (EnviroFlight). They will discuss the industry hurdles holding back growth in this nascent space, the broader consumer perceptions driving larger companies to take stock of alternative proteins, and what the future holds for farmers and entrepreneurs building this new market.

5. The Power of Collaboration: The Evolution of Food

Japan’s agriculture is facing an aging problem. Children do not take over because it is not profitable, and many businesses closed down. Local farmers are highly aware of their expertise, but less aware of money-making and changes in the world. An active learning expert who taught at Harvard launched a new project 10 years ago. Through collaboration with experts in other fields, the products that have not changed have been reborn as new products—one after another. In some cases, sales increased 100 times in 3 years. The project became a movement and is now spreading all over Japan. 

Panelists include Takuya Hane (Active Learning) and Kumiko Kitamura (AOI Pro. Inc.) who have started collaborating with major hotels in Asia and US. It promises to be an interesting discussion, especially for those interested in food innovation in regions where succession is a concern because of an aging population.

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