It was about 6AM when I arrived to the Georgia Freight Depot to setup our Farmwave table for the AgLanta Conference. As I prepared for the visitors, posting up my freshly printed banner and spreading clementines and organic versions of starburst onto the table, I wondered what the next two days would bring.
Fast forward 48 hours later, I stood in the lobby with Henry Gordon-Smith and the Agritecture team, thanking them for putting on such an amazing event. AgLanta was a unique blend of Urban Agriculture and AgTech. It was the the first of it’s kind that I’ve attended and I couldn’t be happier that I experienced it right in my home town of Atlanta, Georgia.
So what is AgLanta? Let’s start with the name “AgLanta” – a combination of Atlanta + Agriculture. The conference is just that– it’s an agriculture conference in the center of Atlanta… walking distance from the capital. The conference pays particular attention to vertical farming, since they’re perfect and prime for urban areas. The overall theme was SmartAg for Smart Cities, with topics ranging: Resource Management, Urban Development, Smart Operations, Retail, Education, Distribution, and Policy. So as you can see they touched every area of the Agriculture pipeline. The event is sponsored and put on by The Atlanta Office of Resilience, so the goal is to of course make Georgia more sustainable and resilient. One of the opening speeches was aptly named, “What if Georgians Ate Georgia Grown Produce?”. For more details you can visit the site, here.
The Farmwave table was busy, everyone is excited to learn more about our innovative farming app.
What I enjoyed most was meeting all the farmers, every type… conventional, urban, backyard/gardeners, hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. With “farms” ranging from .05 acres to 500 acres. The background or “origin” stories of those that have somehow found their way into agriculture was also intriguing. Mike Nasseri, an “Urban Futurist”, and super connector was a rocker in his past life. Darryn Keiller, CEO of Autogrow, once ran marketing for the popular New Zealand rugby team, All Blacks. I was especially inspired by people like Sabrina Davis, FFA (Future Farmers of America) Certified and Agriculture Teacher at Arabia Mountain High School, who has dedicated 20 years of her life to helping students understand the importance of farming. In her suburban area, where the children’s parents are doctors, lawyers, athletes, and engineers, she often references AgTech innovations to show the kids how cool and modern farming can be. Vickie, Ed, Shelley, Adrienne, C.Circe, Harold, the list of new friends/associates I made could go on for atleast a paragraph or two. And I suppose that’s what conferences are all about… connecting. Bringing a group of like-minded people together to connect.
At CAMP3, connection is everything– it’s quite literally our tagline. Chris, Gary, and I had a blast connecting with AgTechies of the Atlanta area and beyond. We spread the word about our newest product, Farmwave, and even gifted everyone with our signature Aurora teal Farmwave bandana (wear it proudly). I walked away from the event with a renewed love of the land and a deeper interest in using innovative technology to advance farming. In fact, flower farming might be in my future, we’ll see! Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to my next Agriculture / AgTech conference.
My favorite quote from the conference, “Georgia is nature’s favorite state.” It’s the official slogan for GeorgiaGrown and I absolutely love it. Georgia is very, very green and I suppose one could look at that as Mother Nature smiling down on us.