The Austin Chronicle

Laser-Focused SXSW Panels on Making Progress in the Food World

Altering the future, one bite at a time

By Veronica Meewes, March 9, 2018, Screens

South by Southwest is rich with extravagant parties and next-level brand interactions, each one attempting to outdo the next. But there are also plenty of panels focused on improving the world we live in, and each year they're more focused on the intersection of food, technology, and innovation. Want to know how your daily food decisions can make a global impact? Add these panels to your calendar.

Changing the World Through Food

Monday, March 12, 3:30pm; ACC Ballroom EFG
The James Beard Foundation just named chef José Andrés the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year. His nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, served 3.3 million meals to the people of Puerto Rico, and he was a first responder in the wake of the Southern California wildfires and Hurricane Harvey. The ubiquitous chef and media personality Andrew Zimmern has introduced us to the cultures of over 170 countries through the lens of his Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods.

Dana Cowin, former editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine and founder of DBC Creative, will moderate a conversation between the two powerhouse chefs on the philanthropic and unifying powers of food, and how they use their influence to improve our world one dish at a time.

Modern Farms: Is the Future of Farming in Technology?

Tuesday, March 13, 12:30pm; JW Marriott Salon C
With the global population at an all-time high and climate change on the rise, what does the future of food look like? Don Cameron, general manager of Terranova Ranch, a 6,000-acre organic & conventional farm in California, and Fred Haberman, the co-founder of Urban Organics, one of the country's largest indoor aquaponics farms, will share their perspectives on how technology in aquaponic and urban agriculture projects can help farmers better prepare for our changing future.

"I hope that attendees will learn about some exciting new technologies being used on urban and rural farms that will help provide more sustainable food options and reduce the energy and water intensity of farming," says moderator Eliza Barclay, who oversees science, health, and environmental coverage for VOX.

Taking Mass Extinction Off The Seafood Menu

Monday, March 12, 11am; JW Marriott Salon C
Over 90% of the world's seafood stocks are depleted, but most restaurant menus feature just three species. "Chefs and restaurants control millions of dollars in seafood purchasing decisions," says Katherine Miller, senior director of policy and advocacy at the James Beard Foundation, which recently launched a pilot Smart Catch program involving more than 400 participating chefs and restaurants. "By educating them on better, more sustainable options, we're hoping to leverage their financial power, and the trust consumers have in them, to change menus and help protect the world's oceans."

Miller will talk with Seattle chef Renee Erickson (Sea Creatures Restaurants), Amy Grondin of Duna Fisheries, and Sheila Bowman of Monterey Bay Aquarium about how chefs and fishermen are improving the way we catch, serve, and consume seafood.

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