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Hydroponics in focus at FOOD VISION USA 2017: Can water give soil a run for its money?

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By Elaine Watson+

Last updated on 14-Aug-2017 at 16:37 GMT2017-08-14T16:37:05Z

Hydroponics in focus at FOOD VISION USA 2017

Counter-intuitively, growing lettuce and other leafy greens in water uses considerably less water than growing them in soil, but will hydroponic forms of agriculture remain a niche part of the food system, or can water give soil a serious run for its money?

Get the lowdown at FOOD VISION USA in Chicago this November, (13-15) when Suncrest USA  CEO James Day will explain the merits of a technique called Deep Water Culture (DWC) hydroponics pioneered at Cornell University, whereby seedlings are planted on small rafts that float in large tanks of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. 

This is higher-yielding and more energy efficient, with lower installation costs than the Nutrient Film Technique in which plants sits on gutter-like channels with water running down the channel to provide nutrients, claims Day, who is licensing Suncrest’s patent-pending DWC technology to local growers, training their staff, buying most of their production, and developing local marketing, sales, and distribution platforms.

Day will be speaking on a food and farming panel debate on day two of FOOD VISION USA with Maple Hill Creamery founding farmer and CEO Tim Joseph and Hampton Creek's director of cellular agriculture Eitan Fischer, who will explore questions such as:

  • Is a significant shift towards organic farming practical or desirable in the US?
  • How big is the grass-fed meat and dairy trend likely to become?
  • Is ‘regenerative’ farming a niche for foodies or a wider movement we’ll all be talking about in 10 years?
  • Will cultured (a.k.a. ‘clean’) meat present a threat, or an opportunity for conventional meat companies, and how will consumers respond?
  • How big a role will cellular agriculture play in our food system in the future?
  • Where does hydroponics fit into the broader food system?

FOOD VISION USA: The food event of the year

Held at the W Hotel in Chicago on November 13-15, FOOD VISION USA 2017  brings together a clutch of industry luminaries from Chobani’s president and COO Tim Brown; to Campbell Soup VP, R&D, Americas, Jeff George; and PepsiCo president North America nutrition, Seth Kaufman.

On the opening night, VMG Partners md Wayne Wu and Sir Kensington’s  co-founder Scott Norton will also join Mattson president Barb Stuckey and Food Future Co CEO Gigi Lee Chang to provide expert feedback on stage to our lucky industry trailblazers  – three start-ups that are doing the most to drive innovation and champion change.

Other themes we'll address on the conference floor include:

  • Big food? Small food? Or smarter food?
  • Where is the plant-based movement going?
  • Who's really driving innovation in the food industry?
  • Can we make gelatin without animals?
  • How clean is your label?

Confirmed speakers at Food Vision USA 2017 - which is sponsored by PureCircleBeneo  and the Welsh Government, and supported by Kerry  - include:

  • Tim Brown, president and COO, Chobani 
  • Eitan Fischer, director of cellular agriculture, Hampton Creek
  • Scott Norton, co-founder, Sir Kensington’s (Unilever)
  • Carrie Bienkowski, chief marketing officer, PeaPod
  • Seth Kaufman, president North America nutrition, PepsiCo
  • Becca Kerr, VP and general manager, Tropicana North America
  • Jeff Zachwieja, PhD, senior director global R&D nutrition sciences, PepsiCo
  • Jeff George, VP, R&D, Americas, Campbell Soup Company 
  • Kyle Ransford, CEO, Chef'd
  • Mike McDeVitt, CEO, Terra’s Kitchen
  • Dr Liz Specht, senior scientist, The Good Food Institute
  • Doug Radi, CEO, Good Karma Foods
  • Luke Saunders, CEO, Farmers Fridge
  • Alexander Lorestani, CEO and co-founder, Geltor
  • Amy Endemann, head of marketing, Sun Basket
  • Tim Joseph, founder, Maple Hill Creamery
  • James Day, CEO, Suncrest USA
  • Steven Vigilante, business development associate, CircleUp
  • Wayne Wu, managing director, VMG Partners
  • Miyoko Schinner, founder and CEO, Miyoko’s Kitchen
  • Barb Stuckey, president and chief innovation officer, Mattson
  • Gigi Lee Chang, CEO, Food Future Co, co-founder Plum Organics
  • Dr Shelley Balanko, SVP, business development, Hartman Group
  • Linda Eatherton, managing director and partner, Ketchum Global Food & Beverage Practice

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