Why We Host An Urban Agriculture Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
With so much of AgTech X’s programming rooted in New York, we’ve been getting asked a lot: “Why put on a conference in Atlanta?” In this post, Lila Rimalovski explains:
There are few cities in the world as dedicated to urban agriculture as Atlanta, Georgia. With a government appointed Director of Urban Agriculture, an adaptive reuse green space connecting 45 distinct neighborhoods, and 20+ organizations focused on agriculture within a few square miles, Atlanta has a lot to offer.
AgTech X wants to share the success and breadth of Atlanta’s agricultural community with you. In partnership with Agritecture Consulting, we are thrilled to co-organize the 3rd annual AgLanta Conference hosted by the City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Resilience -- a dynamic two-day gathering dedicated to spotlighting innovation and entrepreneurship in Atlanta and beyond. With guided tours, purposeful networking, speaker sessions, creative workshops, delicious locally-sourced meals, and a much anticipated keynote from Ryan Gravel, we’ve designed a conference that elevates conversations about agriculture and food systems to engage multiple stakeholders, farming models, and technologies.
By bringing everyone to the same table (see: Agritecture Xchange), we’ve seen the power that arises when city officials, researchers, farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, urban residents, and private companies collectively tackle the multidimensionality and complexity of urban food systems. Don’t expect a trade show; rather, we’ve designed an interactive experience that is bound to bring about new ventures, energizing connections, and strategic partnerships. Check out what was accomplished at last year’s event.
This year we’ll hone in on three crucial stages of development for any endeavor – Create | Pilot | Grow – by exploring all that Atlanta has to offer around urban agriculture. Initiatives like the Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill, the Grows-A-Lot program, and IoT.ATL Living Labs Challenge highlight the diversity of projects supporting Atlanta’s food system. Per the Atlanta Resilience Strategy report, the city now boasts 11 farms, 49 orchards, and 189 community gardens within city limits, and has already made a measurable impact towards increasing access to fresh food in neighborhoods across the city. On top of this, creative Food & AgTech startups are thriving, and even large companies are taking bold leadership stances.
Is Atlanta on the forefront of designing a resilient and equitable urban food system? Can the city tackle issues like food waste, loss of pollinator habitats, and dependence on distant produce, while simultaneously empowering systematically disadvantaged farmers? We don’t expect you to walk away with all the answers on April 15th, but we’re confident you will leave with deeper connections to people and places— identifying key leverage points in the system— along with inspiration for the specific role you can play.
As urban agriculture is burgeoning in New York (our home) and across the globe, we believe it’s crucial to learn from past shortcomings, collaborate across disciplines, highlight success stories, and workshop the next stage of inclusive solutions to the myriad issues we are facing. The 2019 AgLanta Conference is here to do exactly that.