Recently I had the opportunity to attend the EvokeAg conference in Melbourne, at which the focus was largely on the Agrifood tech space.
However, three sub-themes were central to various presentations: food, farm and future.
Many of the conversations revolved around the fact that our farming community will be required to produce more and more food. The expectation is that this will be done differently, in order to minimise the impact on the environment.
Exactly what this means for farmers varied between speakers depending on who along the value chain was being asked for comment.
The following discussions raised a paradox: Can we produce and still preserve?
This experience reaffirmed for me the importance of BCG’s role in helping members answer ‘yes’ to this question.
The conference also highlighted the fact that both the production, and even more so the consumption, of food is a highly complex issue, one which is being scrutinised world wide.
While food security remains a priority for many countries across the globe, for the more fortunate, consumption has moved beyond being simply a life sustaining activity to being an ‘experience’. The challenge for farmers is to play an important role in shaping this experience while at the same time gaining financially. Farmers are challenged to extract greater value by participating in the processes along the way to consumption.
It is important that farmers control the food production narrative. It was clear at the conference that it is necessary for farmers to become more present in the food production debate. Clear information and facts must be provided to the broader community about the reasons we farm the way we do.
This has become a recurring call to action, one I heard when Kevin Folta presented to a BCG Chair’s breakfast last year and again in a recent Birchip community forum. Data endorses this call to provide commentary about the work that we are doing. Once again, BCG can play a crucial role in using good science to assist in the telling of our story to a broader audience. Some of whom may never have ventured beyond their urban world.