The following is an excerpt from this week’s Under 30 Newsletter.
During the 2020 Forbes AgTech+ Under 30 weekend Hackathons, I am reminded of my time as cofounder of Ube Kitchen, a plant-based startup—now closed due to the pandemic—inside a 10×10 tent along with dozens of other food makers at the outdoor Smorgasburg food markets in New York City. Running the business also meant building relationships with farmers for the best ingredients that are also constantly innovating. Especially when I would visit Farm.One for the shocking delicious tastes from microgreens, herbs and flowers grown vertically and hydropincally. The network of farmers became like family when I would call a Miami dragon fruit supplier who shared her stories for protecting her fruits during hurricanes and then speaking to her mother, who owned a distribution center in Manhattan, about distributing fresh produce quickly to me and others in New York City.
There’s no doubt that the family of food maker culture is vibrant with possibilities and driven by lessons of purpose such as Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder & CEO, Chobani. Forbes contributor David Hessekiel writes about Ulukay’s anti-CEO playbook that emphasizes taking care of employees first, helping the communities in which you operate, having the courage to take positions on social issues and being extremely accountable to consumers.
2020 Forbes AgTech + Under 30 Hackathon
Six years ago, Forbes began convening founders for its AgTech Summits trying to tackle some of agriculture’s biggest problems: irrigation hardware engineered to beat drought, biotechnology startups cultivating future cash crops, and apps harnessing big data and AI to predict bad weather.
Fast forward to last weekend where a small team of Forbes 30 Under 30 list members gathered and took the first steps towards creating a new kind of investment vehicle, powered by blockchain, which will help many independent micro-farms not resort to using state lenders and expensive farm banks or agriculture lenders. Other break-out teams also sought to develop new ways to improve the future of food and agriculture in Indiana.
This week, Chloe Sorvino, will be interviewing former Blue Apron COO and cofounder Matt Wadiak’s new business that is the only vertically integrated chicken producer in the country without ties to the two globally consolidated companies responsible for 99% of America’s chicken.
Next week will feature Rachel Drori, Founder and CEO Daily Harvest about how the coronavirus pandemic has given millions of Americans a reason to love their freezer again. That’s good news for this five-year-old startup that’s looking to reinvent the frozen food aisle.