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Hello Friends,

It’s still growing season here in Central Texas. The bluebonnets are getting ready to propagate, dropping their blooms as the seeds prepare to spread the next generation. It’s always a little bittersweet, but losing the bloom is necessary for growth. Likewise, Food+City is getting ready to spread the next generation of Conversation about the future of food.



When we began Food+City in 2011, the greater discourse of the future of food was an empty field. Our mission in promoting, supporting, and driving the discussion about food infrastructure has been largely achieved in 2019. The time has come for us to propagate the next generation of food futures.

If you read the email we sent out earlier this week, you know where this is going. We are inspired by the startups that we work with for our SXSW Prize Challenge. They pour their blood, sweat, and tears into driving the future and making their visions reality. We have seen how the pressure has made them grow and thrive. And for us, “inspiration” is not a fuzzy, corporate buzzword, we mean it. Instead of resting on our laurels with the incredibly successful SXSW Prize Challenge, we are going to challenge ourselves. Instead of taking our foot off the gas now that food supply chain is an increasingly popular topic of innovation, we are going to continue forward.

But let’s talk about the very near future too! We have our next Food Futures speaker series, Growing Local Food from Google’s campus to Guamcoming up on April 18. See full description below, and RSVP for this, our final event of the academic calendar. And in the very near future, just a few sections down in this very newsletter, we have a brief about former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb's recent UT visit, and a discussion about addressing food waste without whiz-bang technology.

We are seeds on the wind; watch us fly,
The Food + City team

Director's Challenge:
We challenged our startup founders, we challenged ourselves; now you can expect us to challenge you with this new feature!

There are so many nifty innovations that exist to address food waste on a large scale. But 40% of food waste happens in our own kitchens. 

This month, we'd like to challenge you to repurpose food that you might have otherwise wasted. The time-honored method are recipes that absorb lots of scraps like quiches, omelets, and soups. But we also want to hear from composters, vermiculturists, and anyone else with unique ideas.

Remember, perfect is the enemy of good. You don't have to use 100% of your food scraps, just do something new this month.

And please email us and tell us how your experiment worked? Is the cream of leftover asparagus soup a new family favorite? Will you forever be haunted by your turn at quiche? Tell us and we'll post our favorite stories in an upcoming newsletter.

So long, It's been good to know Ya!
We are saying goodbye to Cole Leslie. Technically he’s already had his last day, but we want to send him off in style. He was generous enough to provide this fun "exit interview" before moving on.

So, Cole, what motivated you to work for Food+City?
I loved the magazine, and I was really intrigued about exploring the “middle” of the food system, something that I agreed was under appreciated.  Having come to Food+City after closing a startup of my own, I felt passionate about providing more resources for startup founders, and supporting them however possible.  Plus it’s really fun to see all the new companies out there working to solve big, messy problems within the food chain.  Also, I wanted to write more, and feel fortunate to have written stories for the web and print magazine, as well as countless newsletters and social media posts. 

Can you give us a favorite story about working at Food+City?
When I was still fairly new to the organization, Food+City was scheduled to attend the Food Book Fair in New York City. Robyn ended up having a conflict, so she could not attend for the first day. I was happy to have the opportunity to attend instead. It felt great to represent such a cool product at a hip hotel and event on Broadway, but was nervous because I was still working on my spiel. The first couple interactions were pretty entertaining as I fumbled through our differentiators, and tried to communicate our angle (which I was still getting a grip on). It’s certain that not everything I said was 100% correct or on brand, but I quickly realized that there was no one there who knew that, so I just had fun with it. By the time Robyn joined me for day two, I had my pitch tightened up, and was better prepared for questions. We had a good time, met some great independent magazine folks, and sold a few dozen magazines.

What was the best part of the job?
Undoubtedly it is the people I met: so many amazing entrepreneurs, mentors from the F+C Tribe, and industry partners that I am thankful to know. To see all the smart and dedicated people, who are willing to donate time and resources in the spirit of supporting the success of others, has been astounding. They all inspired me to try to do better. I look forward to continuing those friendships, and following along with everyone’s success. If we haven’t already, I’d be thrilled to connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

We're going to miss you, are you going to miss us?
I’ll miss contributing to the mission. Whether telling stories, or supporting startups, it always felt great to be part of something I felt was making a difference. I’ll also miss being around my peers and colleagues- people who are always questioning things, unafraid to explore complex problems. I learned so much from them.

What are your post Food+City plans?
This fall I plan to enroll in a Graduate degree program studying sustainable design/planning at either University of Texas at Austin or The University of Colorado at Boulder. Either way, I plan to use the knowledge I acquired about food, supply chains and entrepreneurship to what I study in the realm of green building, city planning and resource management.  After that, who knows, maybe I’ll start a company and change the world? ;)

Cheers Cole! We can't wait to see you redesign the world.

Upcoming Events:

Growing Local Food from Google’s campus to Guam: Decentralizing the Global Food System in 320 Sq. Ft.

Food+City is excited to announce our final Food Futures speaker series event of the 2018-2019 academic year next Thursday, April 18, at UT Austin. Brad McNamara of Freight Farms will join our Director/Founder Robyn Metcalfe, food historian and food futurist, to discuss what trends and challenges are affecting indoor food production, and how his company has made their name in shipping container farming. Register here.
4/18/19    5:30-7:00 pm    at UT Austin
Atlanta - April 14-15
The 3rd Annual AgLanta Conference! The City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Resilience is pleased to team up with co-organizers Agritecture Consulting and AgTech X for the Southeast's largest Urban Agriculture conference. Register here. [[CHECK LINKS]]

 

What You May Have Missed:

Back to our Roots: Purpose-Driven Approaches for Next Gen Leaders, An Evening with Walter Robb

If you follow our Twitter feed (and you really should), then you may have been there for the live-tweeting of Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods, as he spoke in the Social Innovation Initiative's first "Trailblazers in Impact" chat held at The University of Texas on April 3rd. It was a fun evening discussing the critical role that Passion and Purpose play in business, and the amazing timing for opportunities in Agriculture and Food right now. This is something that resonates in our core. As Robb said, knowing your purpose is key when you face a decision point. And passion is what will drive you when the growing gets tough. 
Robyn Metcalfe SELLs Out! In the best way 
Yet another worthy endeavor of McCombs Business School's Social Innovation Initiative is the Social Entrepreneurship Leadership Lab (SELL), UT Austin's largest group of social venture founders. Dr. Metcalfe was invited to present to 26 SELL fellows on the subject of Food and Social Impact. Of eight social problems the fellows can choose to solve with their impactful endeavors, Food shortage/World hunger was one which lacked student engagement. Drawing on her vast experience on the friction points where the food supply chain becomes clogged or sluggish, Dr. Metcalfe engaged her undergraduate audience with the intrinsic relationship of resolving food system issues to successfully feeding our cities, and that means feeding everybody. Social Impact? Check.
Food Chain News

 

Food Dive — Today's consumers want more than tahini and turmeric, focusing on hyper-local flavors such as Cantonese XO sauce and Javanese sambal oelek. Read more.

PBS — How to help those affected by the Midwest flooding. Check it out.

The Cricket Lab — Large Scale Cricket Flour Production  Find out more.

New Food Economy — McCain Foods closes the California facility responsible for 2018’s largest food safety recall. Read more.

Food Routes in the News
Food+City Director Robyn Metcalfe, writes about the challenge of tracing food-borne illnesses in the United States, and how that demonstrates that our high-tech food system is broken in fundamental ways. In the meantime people get sick, some die and food piles up in landfills. Read the whole article in the San Francisco Chronicle
On the latest episode of The MIT Press podcast, Robyn discusses her new book, Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating. 

Order Food Routes Today!

The new book from F+C Director Robyn Metcalfe can be ordered on Amazon now! 

Here's the description: "Even if we think we know a lot about good and healthy food―even if we buy organic, believe in slow food, and read Eater―we probably don't know much about how food gets to the table. What happens between the farm and the kitchen? Why are all avocados from Mexico? Why does a restaurant in Maine order lamb from New Zealand? In Food Routes, Robyn Metcalfe explores an often-overlooked aspect of the global food system: how food moves from producer to consumer. She finds that the food supply chain is adapting to our increasingly complex demands for both personalization and convenience―but, she says, it won't be an easy ride."

Read more and order now!

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