AgriFutures evokeAG. 2023 brings stellar line-up Down to Earth
The atmosphere was electric as 1,600 delegates from 18 countries filled the Adelaide Convention Centre today, to connect and collaborate for the future of Australian farming businesses and our global food system.
AgriFutures evokeAG. is the Asia Pacific Region’s premier agrifood tech event, bringing the community together to explore how global agrifood innovation and tech intersect to drive change for our food, farmers, and the natural resources which sustain them.
And, after a two-year hiatus, AgriFutures Australia has brought its internationally acclaimed event “Down to Earth”.
“evokeAG. 2023 is about the relevance and application of tech on our farms and across the supply chain. It’s about bringing big challenges, big ideas, big opportunities, local problem solvers and local solutions back “Down to Earth”, said John Harvey, Managing Director AgriFutures Australia.
Off the back of her recent appointment, and attending her first evokeAG. event, AgriFutures Australia Chair, Cathy McGowan AO, said, “I’ve long been a supporter of evokeAG. and the critical role it plays in kickstarting the conversations and connections that ignite agrifood tech innovation.”
“Now, as Chair of AgriFutures Australia, I’m proud to stand beside our Managing Director, John Harvey and the team, who – after the disappointments of COVID-cancelled events 2021 and 2022 – have delivered a world-class agrifood tech event. From the founders in Startup Alley, to the world-renowned experts in our plenary and breakout sessions, evokeAG. gives delegates a unique opportunity to connect with the very best that global agrifood tech has to offer. I’m so delighted to see how these evolving conversations will help to grow the long-term prosperity and sustainability of Australia’s rural industries,” said Ms McGowan AO.
For the third time, Elders has joined evokeAG. 2023 as the Platinum Partner. Elders Managing Director and CEO, Mark Allison, said it’s an enduring partnership that just makes sense.
“For over 180 years, Elders have been at the forefront of on-farm innovation in Australia. The world has changed a lot in that time, and so has the way we farm, but Elders’ commitment to helping Australian farmers be more productive and profitable is just as strong,” said Mr Allison.
“Since I last stood up and spoke at evokeAG. we’ve faced a global pandemic, drought, floods, plagues, and geopolitical tensions that have meant the cost of doing business is higher than ever before. The time is now for producers to connect and collaborate with the agrifood tech community to solve some of the big challenges that Australian agriculture is facing.”
Maverick keynote sets the scene for Day One of evokeAG. 2023
Day 1 of the program saw over 50 national and international speakers take to the stage to challenge the conventions of what we grow, how we grow it, and what we eat. It kicked off with an “out of this world” keynote from the Managing Partner of Astor Perkins, Scott Amyx. Heading up one of the world’s leading deep tech and sustainability VCs, Scott ignited the room with his passion for backing the mavericks that are solving some of humanity’s most difficult challenges – on Earth, and in space.
The keynote speaker said space exploration and space technologies no longer belong in the pages of science fiction novels.
“Our space sectors and technological capabilities are increasing at an accelerated rate and will be crucial as we work to overcome some of humanity’s most difficult challenges in areas like mitigating climate change, longevity, and human survival in the coming decade,” said Mr Amyx.
“Without farming and food security, we have no future, it’s that simple. Excitingly, we’re seeing a significant uptake in space technologies being adopted across all primary industries through data sensors, drones, aerials and satellite imagery which is helping to drive growth and taking the guesswork out of farm management practices.”
Coming off the back of Mr Amyx’s address, Victor Friedberg, Founder of Foodshot Global, was welcomed to the stage, announcing the launch of FoodShot APAC – the not-for-profit’s first expansion into the region. The new non-profit has its sights set on establishing a powerful alliance of venture funds, corporates, governments, universities and research institutes in the region to tackle the global need for food that is healthy, sustainable and equitable”.
His first time speaking at the conference, Mr Friedberg said “I think Australia is a particularly ripe market for this space that looks to understand our food and its properties in fundamentally different ways. Australia is home to some really exciting, cutting-edge science, research and companies. This was one of the many reasons we decided to establish FoodShot APAC in Australia initially as the starting point into the Asia Pacific.”
Carefully curated program designed to challenge and inspire delegates
Today’s jam-packed program included plenary and breakout sessions, panel discussions, workshops and networking events – all carefully designed to challenge and inspire producers, researchers, innovators and investors alike.
Highlights from the day included:
- A stellar plenary session where venture capitalists from leading firms across Europe, the US, Asia Pacific and Australia shared their insights on the factors impacting global agrifood tech investment – and where the unexpected opportunities for the future lay.
- A fireside chat where two unlikely allies: Jim Fadar (CEO, Eden Brew) and Michael Hampson (CEO, Norco Co-operative) candidly outlined how they’re working together to create synthetic dairy products, and why the approach will complement the profit models of farmers in Australia’s largest dairy co-operative.
- A practical session to help producers move from digital distraction to meaningful decision-making. The session drew on case studies, and panellists’ experience ensuring producers left the room with practical insights into how they can use data to leverage big results on farm.
- A thought-provoking conversation between indigenous venture capitalists, advocates and researchers on how the modern application of traditional practices is creating market demand for Indigenous food and beverage products that could transform agrifood value chains and Indigenous communities alike.
Producer and University of Adelaide’s Livestock Production Specialist Adoption Officer, Dr Penny Schulz, travelled to evokeAG. from her property near Field, in the state’s South East. As a passionate advocate for on-farm adoption of agritech, Dr Schulz congratulated organisers for bringing global leaders and producers together for the two-day event.
“As a producer, I’m always looking at ways to integrate the latest technologies into our business to help us effectively respond to challenges facing our industries. Walking through the Startup Alley, meeting with innovators and engaging with their offerings is a really unique component of evokeAG.‘s programming,” Dr Schulz explained.
“The event presents such a unique opportunity for knowledge sharing between global innovation leaders and Australian producers. It’s also been a fantastic opportunity for our homegrown startups to showcase their ideas to the rest of the world,” she added.
Startup Alley showcases 40 of our best and brightest agrifood tech innovators
Delegates flocked to Adelaide to get a firsthand look at 40 innovative agrifood tech solutions that could propel them to a more productive, sustainable future.
Australian and New Zealand innovations on display in Startup Alley and ‘The Hive’ included:
- A data services platform that helps farmers more accurately measure, monitor and report natural capital assets – enabling farmers to participate in natural capital markets.
- End-to-end IoT solutions for farmers to better manage resource use in the field – helping inform decision-making and reduce unnecessary resource use at a time when input costs are surging.
- Digital solutions that help farmers mitigate and protect against biosecurity risks on their farm in real-time – helping protect Australia’s food security in the face of escalating biosecurity threats.
Billions in the room: Five agrifood tech founders pitch to world’s most influential agrifood tech investors
Five participants in the evokeAG. 2023 Startup Program were given the opportunity to pitch to some of the world’s most influential agrifood tech investors, representing AUD$450B in capital.
evokeAG.’s 2023 Investor Pitch Dinner attracted more capital in one room than any agritech investor event or VC panel ever held in Australia. For the Founders seeking Seed to Series A investment, it was an invaluable opportunity to pitch their solution – and showcase Australian and New Zealand agrifood tech innovation on a global stage.
Day 1 drew to a close at the Festival of Food, where delegates who’d worked up an appetite debriefed and swapped [virtual] business cards over a delicious array of canapes and drinks featuring locally sourced produce. Day 2 commences at 9.00am on Wednesday, 22 February. Senator the Hon Murray Watt the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Minister for Emergency Management, and the Hon Clare Scriven MLC, the South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development and Minister for Forest Industries will both address delegates.
evokeAG. is powered by AgriFutures Australia and funded by the Australian Government, Platinum Partner Elders, and Host City Partner the Government of South Australia.
evokeAG. connects the agrifood innovation community across the Asia Pacific and around the world. We do this by providing a digital platform and a premier agrifood tech event where farmers share their experiences, startups pitch their potential, scientists showcase their discoveries, global business leaders share their insights and industry experts debate their opinions. evokeAG. provides innovative news and views from around the world that elevates the conversation and connects the agrifood innovation community, every day.
Notes: Thank you to Kuma Kaaru for the Welcome to Country.