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SXSW Eco Preview: Food & Agriculture

Sonya Coté and Tink Pinkard
Sonya Coté and Tink Pinkard (Courtesy of Veronica Vallado)

Our world is rapidly changing, and the intricacies of feeding seven billion mouths while preserving the beauty of our natural world requires some planning. Austin is home to many progressives and innovators united in ecological passion, but the second annual SXSW Eco takes it to a whole new level. This coming week, Oct. 3-5, an international array of thinkers and doers, all focused on a sustainable future, descend upon our fair city to discuss the relationship between humans and the Earth. The Food and Agriculture component boasts rising stars, homegrown heroes, and connoisseurs of all things tasty and environmentally conscious. There's something for everyone in the cornucopia of media, filmmakers, academics, charitable celebrities, and farmers diving into topics critical to global existence.

Here's a preview of the SXSW Eco Food sector, but check out the website (www.sxsweco.com) for more info and other areas of interest; other conference topics include health, design, culture, and tech. If the saying "we are what we eat" is true, we should unite in positively shaping food culture for our own community and that of the entire planet. Judging from last year's success and the veritable gold mine found in all SXSW endeavors, inspiration and innovation will be an abundant harvest at SXSW Eco.


Food Anthropology A panel of aficionados examines the effects on hunger in the world community resulting from the "think global, act local" model.

Fighting Food Insecurity With Urban Agriculture in Austin A panel of Austinites talks about the private and public sectors' relationships with food industry models in our city.

Mix Parts, Stir Well: Tech Soup for Food Economies A small panel discusses the various relationships between technology and regional farming and food systems.

Welcome Dinner A special ticketed event (limited seating, support from Local Orbit) held in the old pecan grove at Johnson's Backyard Garden, catered by Sonya Coté. Menu items will include goods from Texas Sake Company, Texas Wild Boar from Broken Arrow Ranch, organic wine, beer, and more.


Responsible Cooking: Using Our Appetites To Eat Afford­ab­ly, Responsibly, and Well Author Tamar Adler discusses the way in which our individual tastes shape the food system.

Good Food: Turning Popularity Into Power Expert panel explains the ins and outs of the organic food market.

'Plenty for the Planet: Sustain­able Food and a Well-Fed World' A screening and Q&A for Anna Lappé's new film that explores the sustainable (and not-so-sustainable) food industry's methods for feeding the global population.

Round Table Dinners A ticketed tour of some of the best highlights of Austin's food scene: Blue Dahlia Bistro, Buenos Aires Cafe, Casa de Luz, Contigo, and La Condesa.


A Secure Oasis in the Food Desert? Fred Haberman examines the issue of availability of good, sustainable food in different pockets, or deserts, of America – and how community concepts improve food security.

Bus Roots Marco Castro describes his urban transformation project that creates mobile gardens on the rooftops of buses. Traveling greenery and reclaimed space!

Symphony of the Soil Award-winning filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia of Lily Films previews her docu­mentary and discusses ramifications of destroyed soil.

Farming the Future A panel (including Johnson's Backyard Garden owner Brenton Johnson and several other industry experts) discusses the paradigm shift of young farmers and local economies changing the way we eat.

Food & Agriculture Meetup A meet and greet for everyone; industry insiders and audience members alike will share the opportunity to chat about their passion for beautiful, sustainable food and agriculture.

Mobile Processing: Responsible Meat From Farm or Field A panel (including local star Sonya Coté) discusses the pros and cons of Mobile Processing Units and their effect on local sustainability.

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