BY SHARON CITTONE
CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, SEEDS & CHIPS
The past few years have seen an unprecedented wave of women coming forward across media, entertainment, and business to push for recognition and make their voices heard. The food, agriculture and technology sectors cannot be immune to these calls, and in a field that emphasises ‘disruption’ we must be on the front lines of a collective push towards equality and change. Some of the most passionate actors and activists in food and ag-tech are women, and in every corner of the world they are profoundly changing our relationship to the food we eat. These are some of the women who have been instrumental in bringing the pressing challenges of the food system into the public consciousness, and we are honoured to have them join us at Seeds & Chips – The Global Food Innovation Summit this May in Milan, Italy. These women understand that changing our food system is not just about introducing new instruments into the orchestra, it is about learning to play a different symphony altogether.
Selina Juul helped Denmark set the global standard for sustainability, food waste awareness, and collective action through her Stop Wasting Food movement in Denmark (Stop Spild Af Mad). As co-founder and managing director of Food System 6 (FS6) Accelerator, Renske Lynde and her team study historical shifts in human food systems and work with entrepreneurs who want to make an impact on the macro level. Danielle Nierenberg, founder of Food Tank, has been instrumental in encouraging women farmers in the developing world, as they are often the backbone of the food system and the sole source of income in many families. As CEO of The Hatchery, Natalie Shmulik is bringing change to the foodservice industry and cementing the city of Chicago as a centre for food innovation. And Shazi Visram combined her love for food, her desire to do good, and her business acumen into Happy Family, a premium organic food company offering healthy foods for babies and children.
Rebecca Nelson is the author of the first and still most authoritative book on aquaponics, and her expertise led her to found Nelson&Pade, the foremost authority in aquaponic systems and training. Kerry Kennedy has used her influential voice to speak for those who have been silenced, and her advocacy for environmental justice demonstrates that our world is a living thing that needs to be protected. Danielle Gould founded Food+Tech Connect to bring food and technology together so that people interested in re-engineering the food system could have access to vital resources, and she hosted the first food hackathon, paving the way for the hundreds that have taken place since. Smitha Haneef transformed the food programme at Princeton University and in so doing ensured that the graduating classes of one of the most prestigious universities in the world not only receive a stellar education in their classrooms, but through the food they eat. As a reporter for Fox Business Digital, Jade Scipioni promotes health and wellness, and has exposed the animal abuses and exploitation in our industrial food system that make all of our work so imperative.
I could happily go on, as these are only a few of the women joining us in Milan in May.
Women are taking the lead in activism, advocacy and academia and their contributions are steadily transforming both our daily lives and our collective narrative. When I took up my position at Seeds & Chips, I did so in the hope that I could do my part to promote the women in food and agricultural technology who are doing incredible work for a more just and sustainable food system. As our organiSation has grown, our ability to champion the best minds in food and ag-tech has grown with it; the stage has gotten bigger, and the audience even larger and more passionate. As a woman, I am honoured to present the women who are changing our food system through their words and actions. As a colleague I am proud to stand next to them. And as the mother of an aspiring change maker, I am grateful for the hope that these women inspire in the next generation.
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