Voting open August 5th-23rd, 2019
Hello Freight Friends and farmers! We’re so excited to announce that Freight Farms has applied to be featured at the SXSW conference in March 2020. Before we reach the stage, we need your help. From August 5th-23rd, SXSW has opened voting to the wider community to best judge what you think is important. We’ve proposed two panels, featuring several of our customers, our Freight Farms co-founders, and prolific moderators from the AgTech industry. Cast your vote today!
SXSW General Panel
SXSW Education Panel
Want some more information? Check out our panels to see the full description, plus read bios on all our stellar speakers. Plus, we guide you through the process of setting up an account and casting your vote.
South By South West (SXSW) is an annual conference held in Austin, Texas. The multi-day event has three main parts: a conference as two festivals, one for film and one for music. All around, it is a vibrant event that showcases the latest in culture and technology for a global audience. SXSW’s conference is best known for it’s thought-provoking and varied panels, which feature people from all industries and backgrounds. These panels are split into multiple tracks to help people find panels they’re interested in. This year, SXSW is hosting two parallel conferences, one General and one specifically focused on the Education sector. Freight Farms has submitted proposals to both, as we think our farmers and our technology has a lot to contribute across disciplines.
A more inclusive farming future is already here, with technology modernizing the world’s oldest industry to be accessible to diverse populations. This session explores how agtech can cultivate more than food to drive skilled employment, therapeutic environments, and actionable pathways to create meaningful connections between people, food, and technology. Panelists will discuss their work equipping adults with special needs and autism with successful and community-enriching careers in agtech using tools as advanced as they are approachable. They’ll also share how veterans are using the technology to reintegrate into the workforce – all while supplying healthy, hyper-local produce to the surrounding community through a decentralized supply chain.
Highly advanced agricultural technology has and can be designed with accessibility and inclusivity in mind.
Cultivating local food can be an opportunity to not only nourish communities physically, but socially, emotionally, and economically.
Real-world examples of how agtech is accessible to a wider audience, enabling more participation in the decentralization of food production.
Danielle Nierenberg is a renowned researcher, speaker, and advocate on food system and agriculture issues. She is the Cofounder & President of Food Tank, a nonprofit focused on building a global community for safe and nourished eaters. With an M.S. from Tufts University, Danielle spent two years in the Peace Corps and now conducts research globally, traveling to 70+ countries to document what’s working to alleviate hunger, poverty, and protect the environment.
OD Greens is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that provides local, hydroponic produce to restaurants, markets, and individuals. Don received a Science Education bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and worked for many years as a high school science teacher. After returning from deployment to Iraq in 2005, Don earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at John Carroll University to help fellow Veterans re-assimilate. Don envisions OD Greens as a way to bridge all of his experiences to provide occupational development for transitioning veterans.
Zach Zepf co-founded Zeponic Farms in 2015 to provide meaningful employment for his younger brother with autism and other individuals with intellectual disabilities. Zach is a presenter and speaker advocating for the creation of inclusive employment opportunities for the autism community at venues such as the US Chamber of Commerce, George Mason University, and The Arc of Virginia. Zach has a Master’s Degree from Shenandoah University in Occupational Therapy, and specializes in sustainable employment solutions for individuals with autism transitioning out of the school system.
Jon Friedman is the COO & Co-founder of Freight Farms, the agtech company that established the hydroponic vertical container farming industry with its flagship product, the Leafy Green Machine™. In his early career, Jon designed products for global life science companies Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Millipore (Merck). A graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, he also an alumnus of accelerators MassChallenge & TechStars.
All of our farmers are working to create impactful change in their own small communities. The opportunity to speak at SXSW will not only help farmers Don and Zach accelerate their goals to provide job opportunities to veterans and adults with special needs, but raise awareness for small-time farmers using agricultural technology to achieve incredible things all over the world. Your vote helps Don and Zach share their stories to inspire the SXSW audience to what someone can do with a small high-tech farm and a worthy cause.
Students are calling for healthy, sustainable, novel food that is, ideally, all locally-sourced. How can universities & food service providers keep up? This panel explores how future-thinking schools and providers like Sodexo are moving food production on-campus with innovative agtech. These programs satisfy important logistical criteria – consistent year-round volume, nutrition, traceability, menu creativity – and interactive curricula for a student generation looking to change the food system.
Understand current student-consumer trends as they relate to local, healthy, and sustainable food.
Explain how on-site farming can be used to improve the student on-campus experience and the actionable next steps needed to implement such programs.
Explore educational institutions can guide the next generation to understand, value, and participate in a sustainable, socially-responsible food system.
Dr. Robyn Metcalfe is Director of Food+City and a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin. Food+City is a nonprofit organization that champions the bold exploration of the global food system. Robyn received a BA in American Studies from The University of Michigan and a MA & PhD from Boston University in History, concentrating in Modern European food history.
Leila designs and pilots new sustainability offers while supporting existing Sodexo sustainability initiatives. As a student, Leila was Sustainability Food System Manager at Yale Dining, where she formed a regional, sustainable purchasing group of colleges and hospital dining services. Leila has also consulted on sustainability projects for The Dannon Company and Chipotle. Leila received her Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
As Director, Jenny manages Clark's award-winning recycling, composting, thrift store, and zero waste operations, Clark's range of innovative local food systems initiatives and ventures, and Clark's successful climate action strategies. She also leads efforts in cross-sector academic and extracurricular collaboration to continually improve sustainability on campus and in the community.
Brad McNamara is the CEO and co-founder of Freight Farms. Located from Alaska to Guam, Freight Farmers include major corporations, universities, restaurants, grocery retail, NGOs, and independent farmers and suppliers worldwide. Prior to founding Freight Farms, Brad led sales and marketing programs for large CPG customers including Anheuser Busch and InBev USA. An alumnus of Clark University, he earned his MBA and Masters in Environmental Science.
The future leaders, thinkers, activists, and everyday consumers are currently enrolled in colleges and universities around the country. Many of these campuses are already leading the way in sustainability, showing students how green practices can be integrated into every day life, and food is no exception! By voting for this panel, you’re helping us continue the conversation about what on-campus sustainability looks like and how agricultural technology can enable these hubs of learning to also be centers for alternative food solutions. Not only will this teach the future generations to think critically about their food, but having agtech on-campuses can inspire young people to pursue a career in agriculture, a field that is desperately lacking new faces.
In order to vote for a SXSW 2020 panel, you need to create a personal account. This is required by SXSW to ensure that every person gets only one vote per learning ‘path’ so that the voting process fairly represents the general public’s interests. In this case, you get two votes total, one for the General category, one for Education category. Below is a step-by-step guide to registering and voting!
1) Go to panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote
2) Click the Sign Up button in the top right-hand corner.
3) Choose to ‘Create an Account’ in the gray banner.
4) Fill in the necessary information: First name, last name, email address, and create a new password. Note, you will need to verify the email address, so use an account you have access to.
5) Check your email, you should have a confirmation email waiting for you. When you click ‘Confirm my account’ you will be redirected back to the SXSW website.
6) To vote for the Freight Farms General panel, navigate to panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/99072.
On the upper left-hand side, select the ‘Vote Up’ button to vote for this Freight Farms panel. Once the button turns from white to yellow, that means you’ve successfully voted!
7) To vote for the Freight Farms Education panel, navigate to panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/102063.
Same as before you can select the ‘Vote Up’ button on the upper left-hand side to vote for this Freight Farms panel.