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

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Hydroponics in focus at FOOD VISION USA 2017

Related tags Food vision usa Agriculture

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 PureCircle​, Beneo​ ​and the Welsh Government,​ and supported by Kerry​ - include:

  • Tim Brown, p​resident 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, b​usiness 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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