ReFED's Executive Director Dana Gunders and Vice President of Capital, Innovation & Engagement Alexandria Coari are joining with other food system experts, leaders, and innovators for "The Future of Food @ SXSW," a series of virtual events exploring how food and agricultural production will need to adapt to new pressures – and about technologies and
innovations that will help feed the world while also combating climate change and conserving natural resources.
Presented by The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and organized by Little Herds, the event is free and open to the public, with access through a free RSVP, powered by Broadcast Partner Introvoke:
- When: Thursday-Sunday, March 18, 2021 - March 21, 2021 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CDT
- Where: Online, free RSVP required
- Attendance: Register here
- Cost: Free to the public; SXSW badge holders are given access to additional content
“The really exciting thing about having The Future of Food be a part of a bigger digital online event is accessibility. SXSW is a leader in bringing the best minds together, and now that can be open to anyone without any barrier of ticket and travel costs,” said event co-organizer Que Fagan. “This is especially important because as we’ve seen from both the pandemic and the recent Texas winter storms, it’s going to take everyone to find solutions to some of our most pressing challenges that face humanity. The free RSVP Future of Food event is us saying ‘You can sit with us.’”
It’s not just the environmental impacts driving the discussion around Zero Waste strategies at this event; research shows that investing in waste reduction strategies is good for the bottom line for business. Joi Chevalier, founder of the Austin-based culinary incubator The Cook’s Nook, said, "Sustainability is a process investment in our company, The Cook’s Nook, and in our local recovery system. By planning our own zero-waste and energy efficient business through the City of Austin’s programs, we ensure cost-savings in our company, we ensure waste improvement across the companies that are our members, and we ensure food and paper product is used to its final best ends. It’s a win-win financially and environmentally."
The event will also focus on how attendees can engage with the future food system through their own individual purchasing decisions, showcasing a variety of startups in the healthy and natural snacking and consumer products category, and new and novel ingredients.
“As a consumer products accelerator, SKU is at the center of the Austin CPG community,” said Kirstin Ross, executive director of SKU, the nation’s first consumer-product accelerator. “Because of that, we strive to lead the way by focusing on practices and products that will lead us into a better future in the face of a constantly changing world. Through The Future of Food @ SXSW, we want to bring together the agriculture and technology aspects of the consumer-products world with exciting food and beverage innovations for an educational, enjoyable and exciting experience for attendees of SXSW.”
“For too long, the voices of youth, women, members of the LGBTQ+ plus community, people of color, and so many other stakeholders have been ignored by decision-makers in the food system,” said Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank President. “To alleviate hunger and obesity, prevent food loss and waste, and create resilience to the climate crisis, those voices need to be heard and valued. It is the only way to create economic, social, and environmental sustainability.”
“The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is pleased to bring people together for the free-to-all Future of Food @ SXSW this year,” said Sunny Reelhorn Parr, Executive Director of the Foundation. “As a Foundation, we look forward to hearing from ag tech entrepreneurs and innovators who are bringing creative new ideas to this timely discussion about our global food system. Relatedly, the Foundation recently launched its Innovation Fund’s second open call, offering a total of $2.5 million in grants to help fund game-changing ideas in the fight against food waste.”
“This event is an exciting, intriguing and collaborative effort that brings together all the work Little Herds has done over the last year, to align with The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation’s vision of a more just and sustainable future food system,” said event co-organizer Iffy Roma. “We have the opportunity to connect, amplify amazing work being done, find ways to heal, and innovate the way food culture is going to change for years to come.”
The event will feature discussions led by food industry leaders and innovators in the areas of Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Food Justice, FoodTech, AgTech, and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), including:
- Keynote panels with inspiring artists, activists and educators like acclaimed musician and author Questlove, Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank, Chef Kwame Onwuachi of Food & Wine, environmental and climate policy strategist Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Erick Castro of How To Be Vegan In The Hood, Chiara Cecchini of Future Food Institute, and Kari Byron of Crash Test World
- Keynote discussions with leading luminaries like Temple Grandin of Colorado State University, and Denise Osterhues, president of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation
- A Fireside Chat with Ibrahim AlHusseini of FullCycle and author Nicole Lapin
- Aspiring entrepreneurs will be pitching ideas to investors and executives in Shondra Washington’s CrowdPitch and PitchPractice events
- Inspiring Experts like Dr. Sweta Chakraborty of We Don’t Have Time; Riana Lynn of Journey Foods; Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org; Jillian Semaan of EARTHDAY.ORG; Dana Gunders of ReFED; and Dr. Liz Koutsos of Enviroflight
- Austin-local leaders like Joi Chevalier of The Cook’s Nook; Kerry Rupp of True Wealth Ventures; Edwin Marty, Food Policy Manager for The City of Austin; Rubén Cantú of the Office of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Austin; Jenny Stone of Partner Forces; and Sam Eder of Big Wheelbarrow
“With this year’s SXSW event being entirely virtual, it is in many ways the most accessible SXSW has ever been, for more voices to come together and for more people to listen in from around the world,” said Robert Nathan Allen (also known as RNA), event co-organizer and Little Herds’ founder. “Bringing together a collaboration of nonprofits, each a leader in their space, to curate these discussions, we hope to show that there is no silver bullet to the numerous problems with our food system that the pandemic has exposed, exacerbated, or compounded in the last year. Our goal is to bring together all the pieces of the puzzle, to show how they can fit together to make a more complete picture.”