Q&A with The Refresh Project's Sarah Papazoglakis
From Farms to Incubators is honored to have recently joined The Refresh Project's working group. The Refresh Project will hold a special panel on alternative storytelling and screen "From Farms to Incubators's" mini documentary at the upcoming SXSW in Austin on March 12. The panel will feature Amy Wu, founder of From Farms to Incubators, Karen Washington of Rise and Root Farm and Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank.
Here Amy recently caught up with Sarah Papazoglakis who leads The Refresh Working Group.
Q:What is the mission of the working group for 2019?
A: The Refresh Working Group was started to bring people together from across the United States working at the intersection of agriculture, food, and technology to better understand how emerging technologies can help to improve the US food system. The group’s goals for 2019 are to enrich public conversations around food and tech by sharing stories from the Refresh report and from the working group members and serving as a general resource on the topic. The newly-formed working group will also be delving deeper into public debates and policy issues at the intersection of food and tech in order to build a collective vision for what policies should look like to foster data-driven innovation.
Q: Why is it important to have women in agtech part of this discussion?
A: Any discussion about food and technology necessarily includes agtech because the industry has really grown exponentially over the past decade. The overall goal of the Refresh project is to ensure that technology is a force for positive change within our food system, and it is imperative to achieve gender equality in agriculture—and agtech—a part of the imperative to improve the food system as a whole. We began to tell some of those stories in the Refresh: Food + Tech, from Soil to Supper report in support of that vision by featuring profiles on Amanda Ramcharan and Melissa Brandao, in particular.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the SXSW panel?
A: Not only now, but historically as well, women have played prominent and critical roles in agriculture, food retail, nutrition, and health. Yet female founders and women working in this field are often under-recognized and under-represented in stories about agtech. Our events at SXSW offered an opportunity to expand on the stories we started to tell in the Refresh report. The panel, therefore, was inspired by a desire to give women working across the food system in myriad ways a public space to make those stories more visible and to help revise common narratives around agriculture and food to include what some have called “women’s work.”