the power of convergence

Our 11th Annual Ag Innovation Showcase Theme Explores Intersectional Agriculture

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11 Years Strong

We are proud to present the 2019 Ag Innovation Showcase, featuring the meaningful theme “The Power of Convergence”, which seeks to break down the areas relating to food production, environmental footprint and food consumption.

The 2019 Ag Innovation Showcase arrives at the beautiful Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, one of the most prominent hubs for food and agriculture and one of the nation’s leading export centers, in the midst of a dynamic explosion of entrepreneurial activity. The corporate ag and food community in Minneapolis, including Cargill, General Mills, Land O’Lakes and Hormel, has been a major contributor to this dynamism. 

The 11th edition: Where and What

Taking off from where we left off in St. Louis in our 10th edition, the 11th annual Showcase will now fully bridge the gap, and span the arc, focused on health: the production of food (plant and animal nutrition and health), resource optimization (environmental health) and the consumption of food (human health and nutrition). 

Each of the three days will focus on one set of issues in this remarkable arc. Through panels, rapid fire discussions, spotlight sessions and company showcases, we will feature thought-provoking content coupled with solutions brought to the Showcase by innovative entrepreneurs around the world, a long-standing element for which the Showcase has become known.  We will seek to highlight initiatives and successful alumni, growers’ perspectives and evidence-based research.

The 11th edition: Why

We are close to a tipping point. The health of our food system – from plant, soil and animal health to water use, from ingredients to food derivatives and amendments -- is vulnerable to numerous challenges. These challenges are not confined to any single set of climactic or other pressures. They have accumulated over a long period. But while our ingenuity and innovativeness has enabled us to find solutions to increasingly intractable challenges, we are now at a point where we will need to make choices and changes.

The Big Questions

We have seen an increase in the development of tools to make more transparent our ability to get ahead of the challenges, to monitor with precision our ability to grow and cultivate food, to understand the specific values of foods and to develop a holistic understanding of the virtues of a well-honed food system. 

Yet, the big questions remain: does our ag and food system need to be continually tinkered with, or is it time for a rethink? Can industrial agriculture demonstrate resilience to meet the growing demands on protein from around the globe, while improving soil health and reducing our environmental impact? 

In seeking answers, we must ask more questions:

What are the big challenges to food production? Climate, carbon and consumers are all part of this grand challenge.

Given the degradation of soil health, what are we able to do to increase the nutritive power and health of plants and crops? Do biological solutions hold the key to advancing plant health?

Given the increasing demand for protein, does beef and other meat production need to rethink their footprint and business model? If land is a precious resource, what approaches are we seeing in the management of livestock?

How do we sustainably deal with water and environmental issues that are now impeding the growth of traditional and non-traditional agriculture alike?

From precision agriculture to digital agriculture, we are now awash in tools. How best do we integrate digital tools in optimizing resource inputs, including water?

What are some new ways of approaching nutrition, healthy food production, and functional foods?

How do growers and producers of novel foods look to increase the nutritive value of plants as the basis of their offerings?

Given consumer trends, how do you increase transparency across the food chain?

We are in a time where we can expect surprising changes that are outside normal expectations in science, technology and business. The Power of Convergence enables us to think in a more holistic way at the challenges we face.

Welcome to the 2019 Ag Innovation Showcase.

About the Ag Innovation Showcase

Eleven years ago, the Ag Innovation Showcase began its remarkable journey to curate innovations, converse about trends, and cultivate a community. Its long-time home is the Danforth Plant Sciences Center in St. Louis, Mo.

Since then, it has established a loyal following and showcased 186 innovators. Our panels, presentations, spotlights and networking have charted the arc of innovation in agriculture and food: exploring biofuels, biomaterials, biotechnology, animal health, alternative proteins, new sources of food and the future of agriculture and agtech.

The Ag Innovation Showcase is a produced by Larta Institute in collaboration with our Founding Sponsor, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and our Organizing Partners, MyFormulary and AURI.