Dan Barber Launches Chef-Centric Seed Company
The latest initiative from a leader in the farm-to-table movement gets to the root of things – Dan Barber, chef at the restaurant Blue Hill announced his latest project: Row 7 Seed Co. The business brings together chefs and plant breeders to devise new flavor-driven varieties of crops. Think extra-fragrant cucumbers resistant to the pesky downy mildew disease. In addition, farmers and plant breeders are free to re-use the seeds. Read more.
JUST Announces Fortified Cassava Porridge Product
The company is best known for its much-disputed vegan mayonnaise, JUST (formerly Hampton Creek), made public its plans to address malnutrition in West Africa through a new product. Called Power Gari, the fortified cassava porridge is designed with the dietary needs of the region in mind. The powder comes with heavy doses of vitamins A, D, C, B6 and B12, plus iron, zinc and 12 grams of protein. Initial trials in Liberia have focused on schools and nonprofits, where the product has been well-received, but many development experts have their doubts. Read more.
Bowery Farms Announces Plans to Build Its Second Farm
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Bowery Farming, the indoor farming company that calls itself ‘post-organic’, announced plans to build a second commercial indoor farm in Kearny, New Jersey. The new facility includes more automated processes, artificial intelligence and computer vision and will grow more than 100 varieties of produce. The company says that the new farm will increase production capacity 30x, though they have not shared the growing capacity or size of their first farm. General Catalyst, GGV, and GV (formerly Google Ventures) participated in the company’s Series A funding round in May 2017. Read more.
NewLeaf Symbiotics Launches Nutrient-Enhancing Biotech Tools
The first two products from St. Louis-based NewLeaf Symbiotics hit the market this week as the company announced the launch of Terrasym. The products use methylotrophs, a kind of microbe that occurs naturally in plants, to encourage nutrient uptake and increase yields. NewLeaf is working with regional crop input distributors to bring the products to market. Read more.
NXTP Labs Opens Applications for Accelerator Program
Applications are open for the Buenos Aires-based NXTP Labs 2018 Accelerator program. Focused on startups working in farming and agtech, the program is looking for startups in several categories, ranging from big data to supply chain tech. The 12-week long program includes training with experts and mentors and the opportunity for NXTP Labs to invest in their companies. Applications close March 30, 2018. Read more.
DowDupont Ag Division To Become Corteva Agriscience
Come June 2019, three branches of the DowDupont agricultural division will operate as a standalone business called Corteva Agriscience. Corteva brings together Dupont Crop Protection, DuPont Pioneer, and Dow Agrisciences under one roof to focus on developing seed technology, crop protection tools, and digital agriculture. Read more.
University of Minnesota Licenses Crop Nitrogen Monitoring Tool to Sentera
Remote sensing company Sentera signed an agreement this week to bring a new corn nitrogen deficiency tool to the market. Developed by the University of Minnesota, the technology helps growers evaluate the nitrogen needs of a crop, then apply fertilizer, in hopes of limiting over-use. Sentera will integrate the tool with its FieldAgent drone technology platform and plans for a 2019 commercial launch. Read more.
Iowa Ranked No. 1 in Internet Access Nationwide
New data shows that Iowa outpaces every other state in the nation when it comes to internet access. Measuring both access to broadband and access to high-speed broadband, the survey results demonstrated a correlation between poor internet access and low population density. Broadband connectivity in rural areas is particularly important for the agtech industry – many of the tools depend on reliable, fast internet access. Read more.
Other News That’s Fit to Chew
- Immigration audits are coming to more and more farms in California, to chilling effect, reports CNBC.
- Gym-goers are more likely to consider insect-based food products, according to a new study, reports Food Navigator.
- Fast Company follows the greening of Heineken’s latest brewery in Mexico.
- Grocery stores tightened their belts last year as new store openings plummeted, reports Food Dive.
- Increased Russian wheat exports came alongside further reports of the country’s meddling, but this time, in the GMO debate.
- The New Food Economy chews on JUST’s mung-bean based scrambled ‘eggs.’