“From Farms to Incubators: Spotlighting women innovators working to solve farming challenges”
Agriculture and technology both have a long history in California, but until recently have rarely intersected. Technology is focused on disruption and innovation, while much of Central Valley and Central Coast’s agriculture is still managed with clipboards and pencils. One commonality is that women and individuals with diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds, have historically been underrepresented in both industries. Now, a new generation of startups led by women, with a diversity of backgrounds and ethnicities, are seeking to provide novel perspectives and solutions to agriculture’s problems with tech innovation. Growers in the U.S. and globally face rising challenges including climate change, limited water and land supply, uncertainties in immigration policy, a severe labor shortage and feeding a rising population estimated at 9 billion in 2050.
At its heart “From Farms to Incubators” uses content and digital storytelling to increase awareness of women leaders and entrepreneurs and their contribution using technology through the agriculture sector, and encourage women to pursue careers in agtech. The initiative includes an award-winning documentary “From Farms to Incubators” that profiles some of the women entrepreneurs in agtech. The film which has screened at over two dozen film festivals and venues including at SXSW. The screenings are paired with panel discussions that have served as a vehicle to connect women in agtech with investors and those interested in food, farming and agtech. In the pipeline is a directory and speakers bureau for women in agtech.
We hope to build partnerships and collaborate with organizations and individuals who want to be part of an engaging discussion, and be a part of an initiative that serves as community, connector and convener for women in this space. Ultimately, this contributes to the evolving changing landscape in agriculture and technology in the U.S. and globally.
Amy Wu is a writer for women’s ag and agtech movement and the founder and chief content director of From Farms to Incubators. From Farms to Incubators includes a documentary and a forthcoming book that spotlights women leaders in ag and agtech. It is a resident of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology in Salinas, and continues on its mission of expanding the profiles of women in food, farming, and tech.
Amy is an award-winning journalist with significant international reporting and teaching experience and reported on agriculture and agtech for The Salinas Californian in Salinas, Calif. She has also worked at Time magazine, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, for the USA Today Network; and has written for The New York Times, HuffPost and Wall Street Journal. She spent six years working in Hong Kong, widely reporting within the Asia-Pacific region including Shanghai and Singapore. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
Amy serves on the Refresh Food and Tech Working Group and represents women in agriculture. The Refresh Working Group brings together farmers, small business owners, researchers, corporate partners, nonprofit leaders, educators, community organizers, and innovators working across the food system to explore—and hopefully finding consensus around—intersecting policy issues at the nexus of food and technology. The project is initially funded by Google and led by Swell.