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Hands Across the Water

by: LX Van Drie,
Spring 2019 Marketing Intern

The nature of entrepreneurs, especially in the food chain, is to identify points of friction and to smooth them out. Money and a global network are handy in this regard. Money has a way of both lubricating and leveraging difficult obstacles out of the way. And a large network can provide insights and opportunities that might otherwise have remained undetected. But those are hardly the most important parts of a supply chain.

People are what make up a chain. Hands are what get things done. Whether those hands are designing drones to pick packaged goods off shelves or picking strawberries from the field, it all comes down to the people involved.
               
José Andrés was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last November for his work in feeding the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Today the organization that spawned from his work spans from Nebraska's flood zones to cyclone-ravaged Mozambique. With all of the manpower, growing reach across the world, and stunning results, it’s easy to forget how World Central Kitchen began: one guy with some knowhow in his head, about $5,000 in his pocket, and a couple of friends on the ground in Puerto Rico. Andrés saw the point of friction –an infrastructure devastated by storm and a supply chain for help that stretched thousands of miles. His goal was to feed people, and as a chef, he knew the value of efficiency. By working with locals to buy food, cook food, and distribute food, José greatly shortened the length of the supply chain to get food (and all the hope and comfort associated with it) to the people who desperately needed it.
               
It only takes a single spark to light a fire if you know where to put it. That’s why we’ve rolled out the Director’s Challenge. We’re hoping that it inspires you, dear readers, to stretch yourselves and look for solutions to friction points. Even if it’s just applying the entrepreneurial spirit to the friction points of your personal life; worlds are turned on such actions.
               
This month we’re continuing to focus on the food waste in our kitchens. How can we close the loop even further to make our food system more efficient?

Director's Challenge
Use Food You Might Otherwise Throw Out
April is Earth Month, so it's an excellent time for us to examine our own practices for sustainability. Most of the food waste that happens in America occurs in our own kitchens, largely because we aren't forced by food costs to make use of every scrap. Nonetheless, many of the world's favorite dishes are based on scraps or less desirable parts of plants and animals. Not everything can be filet, sometimes it's boudin sausage or a bread pudding. This month we invited you to tell us what you're doing to reduce waste in your kitchen. Here's a couple of our favorite finds so far:

After making an Easter salad with radishes, Colin S. turned the greens into a pesto using this recipe.

Reader Alexandra V. took a page from Barnes & Barnes and roasted some red snapper heads. "Not *very* much meat on them, but it was tasty. I'll definitely do it again."
Food+City News

FREIGHT FARMS AT UT

What an event to close out the semester and complete our 2018-2019 Food Futures Speaker Series! The energy in the room for our final speaker event was incredible as Brad McNamara talked about the history and mission of Freight Farms. This isn't your typical urban ag vertical farming full of lettuce. This is an integrated hardware, software, and social network to grow everything from strawberries to kale in a modular solution. (Not pumpkins though. Or bees.) Enthusiastic entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and local food groups such as Sustainable Food Center and Austin Foodshed Investors interacted with Freight Farms' founder, while our own Dr. Robyn Metcalfe brought an expert perspective on agtech's potential, shortcomings, and challenges to the conversation. We had a full house in Gearing Hall to wrap up the year on a successful first season of our speaker series. Thanks to all who joined us for one or more of these engaging, multi-disciplinary events.

Order Food Routes Today!

F+C Director Robyn Metcalfe's book 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!

From the Archive: Food Movers

Food Movers: Confessions of an Instacart Shopper

He’s standing near the fresh herbs, staring at a forest of tiny green bundles, scratching his head, looking up and down from his phone. I offer some help, and he asks, “Where’s the basil?” After I help him choose a perky bunch, he thanks me and mumbles, “I hate shopping for vegetarians.” He’s wearing a shirt emblazoned with the Instacart logo. Read more....

Upcoming Events:
Pflugerville - April 30
Join us as Robert Nathan Allen (aka RNA) moderates a panel with Dr. Robyn Metcalfe, Dr. Mark Sanders, and Dr. Stan McClellan at Soul Popped Gourmet Popcorn. They will be talking about food innovation from three different perspectives. It should be an informative and rollicking evening. For more information, check out the meetup link here.









Achieving Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems in an Urbanized World
The Future Food-Tech Summit is an international networking event, bringing together 300+ leading food brands, entrepreneurs and investors to showcase solutions, share ideas and create new alliances to accelerate the adoption of new technology solutions.
This year’s Future Food-Tech Summit  will focus on the role of technology in achieving healthy and sustainable food systems in an urbanized world – exploring everything from gut-friendly functional foods, healthier snacking and data-driven personalized nutrition to next-generation proteins, biotech innovation and digitized supply chains. Register here.
 

Emeryville, CA - May 16

Food System 6 (FS6) is a non-profit food-ag accelerator that supports early-stage entrepreneurs working at the intersection of impact, investment & innovation. On May 16th, they will be hosting a Forum event at the Clif Bar Headquarters in Emeryville, CA. 

This event will showcase the entrepreneurs who are part of the FS6 Accelerator program’s 4th Cohort and bring together high-profile speakers in the public sector, the private sector, the investment community and NGO’s. The Forum will run from 2 pm – 7 pm, including a closing reception. Register here.

 

FARM TO PLATE
May 9, 2019

This sip-and-stroll event features delicious bites from over 30 of the best Austin chefs who are dedicated to sourcing local and sustainable food from area farmers. At Farm to Plate, you get a taste of the best cuisine Austin has to offer on the beautiful indoor/outdoor grounds of Barr Mansion.

100% of proceeds from Farm to Plate benefit Sustainable Food Center and programs that support  local, sustainable food systems and increase access to healthy, affordable food for everyone in Central Texas. Tickets here.



May 1 + 2!
WWW.FOODEDGE.CO 

Branchfood's upcoming Food Edge conference in partnership with the Boston Globe and Hill Holliday is happening on May 1+2 at the Innovation and Design Building in Boston's Seaport. 
 
A number of industry speakers will be discussing the future of food and innovation, including:
Mike Messersmith, GM, Oatly USA
Nick McCoy, Co- Founder and Managing Dir., Whipstitch Capital
Ellen Siebenborn, VP US Sales, General Mills
Mark Berinato, VP of Digital Experience, Panera 
Fran Middleton, CDO, America’s Test Kitchen
Lisa Tirino, Dir. of New Platforms Ocean Spray
Kellem Mattie, CMO, Venturing & Emerging Brands, VP Marketing & Innovation, Coca-Cola 
Sean Grundy, Co-Founder and CEO, Bevi
Jim Foltz, VP, Business Ventures, Albertsons

 
Join UT's Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab (SELL) Program in the largest gathering of social entrepreneurs in Austin at the Student Activities Center Ballroom on May 1, 2019, from 5 - 8 PM.
Come to learn about SELL Fellows’ social impact projects, engage with Austin social entrepreneurs on campus and in Austin, master a social entrepreneur’s tool, and hear more about the social impact. Our Director, Robyn Metcalfe, recently spoke to this student group about the opportunities to start businesses that fix food chain friction points while at the same time addressing social issues. 

Robyn's Corner

As part of a new project in the works, Robyn  has been in Los Angeles, California, interviewing individuals who work deep in the food supply chain. Sam Houlu, our production assistant, and local photographer Lucas Farrar, are interviewing bicycle couriers, warehouse workers, forklift operators, truck drivers, pallet builders and dairy workers as we gather photos and their stories along the way. The Port of Los Angeles was overwhelming, with millions of containers lined up as they moved from ships to warehouses to railroads and trucks. We are learning about the role that unions play and how workers view their future as new technologies transform their work. Stay tuned to learn more about how this project unfolds.             (Photos by Robyn Metcalfe)              

Recommended Reading

We Fed an Island — José Andrés' memoir about building the networked community of kitchens to feed people in the face of disaster.  Amazon Link

Food and City Magazine — Limited First Edition print run of the Food+City Magazine. Available individually or in a sharply discounted bundle! Check it out.

 

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