Innovative entrepreneurial activities in food business have been flourishing in recent years. A large array of unusual business ventures have attempted to address issues of food insecurity, obesity, food distribution, sustainability, and improvements to nutritional qualities. These efforts range from the selling of smart phone applications for consumers to rate sources and nutrition of food products, food “hubs” to increase opportunities for producer aggregation, diverse startups for alternative food distribution or waste reduction, and more. Also potentially significant are collective public-private initiatives to develop food hubs, involving communities within “foodsheds.” Many of these efforts are aimed to address needs of underserved communities and/or create sustainable economic opportunities for farmers. This forum will address examples of these collaborative business initiatives from different regions, to address critical questions about the true costs and values of such efforts, the progress and health/social impacts, as well as challenges. The forum will also aim to ascertain how these approaches may be “replicable” or feasible in other contexts to meet social needs.
Panel 1: Innovation in Food Production and Waste Reduction
• Allison Hagey, Associate Director, Policy Link
• Joanna Cedar, Founder and Chief Communications Officer, CropMobster
• Speaker TBD, Green City Growers
• Jason Bradford or Mark Lambert, Farmland LLP
Moderator: Jaspal Sandhu, Lecturer, UC Berkeley School of Public Health
Panel 2: Innovation in Food Distribution, Processing, and Service
• James Barham, Agricultural Economist, USDA
• Haile Johnston, Co-Founder, Common Market
• Geetika Agrawal, Business Development Manager, La Cocina
• Mariela Cedeno, Director of Social Enterprise and Microfinance, Mandela Marketplace
Moderator: Will Rosenzweig, Teaching Fellow, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business; Managing Partner, Physic Ventures
Free and open to the public. This event is part of the BFI Food Exchange Series.