Spotlighting Women Dedicated to AgTech

by Iris Nolasco

      “Telling a story is like reaching into a granary full of wheat and drawing out a handful.
There is always more to tell than can be told.
”-Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow

As the multimedia project “From Farms to Incubators” rounds the corner into its second year, and heads off to the 38th Annual Eco Farm conference in the first film screening of 2018, we look at how the project reflects the theme of this year’s conference, Sow Good.

The challenges that today’s farmers face, from drought and super bugs, to a severe labor shortage and meeting requirements of policies like the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), requires a certain degree of innovation which lies outside the traditions of farming.

Whether accustomed to the thought of robots and technology in the field or not, the reality is that it is upon us in this age to adapt to the challenges and develop tools to help farmers meet their production goals.

Now there is a new generation of women who are creating the technology to help farmers meet those challenges.

From Farms to Incubators

The women who are featured in the documentary “From Farms to Incubators”, are bringing those solutions to the agriculture industry, not only with a superb knack for developing innovative technologies, but also with a sense of understanding, compassion, and in some cases historical wisdom, in what is otherwise a male dominated industry.

Le Thuy Vuong from Redmelon, is one of these women leveraging her knowledge for the betterment of society. As can been seen on the website, “ Vuong has been working in the development and research of vitamin A rich redmelonTM (gac) to combat deficiencies in women and children of developing countries with a food-based approach.”

At Heavy Connect, Product Manager Rivka Garcia, has developed the app to aid farmers and food safety coordinators alike in being able to simply track all data and manage
farms compliance and risk with FSMA, without the need to haul around stacks of paperwork (Note: Garcia has since left HeavyConnect to work for Mann Packing).

If looking to take the complication out of compliance, then the development of software like AgShift, founded by Miku Jha, who has launched several other companies previously, is working to bring more transparency to the global food supply chain.

Each of these women have contributed momentous influence in the agtech space. By bringing to light their stories we can look at where they have come from and why it is important that not only the agtech sector keep growing, but that women are given the opportunities in creating and leading innovation of an industry that is supporting the fundamentals of each of our daily lives.

“From Farms to Incubators: Telling the stories of minority women entrepreneurs in the Salinas Valley and beyond,” screens on Jan. 26 at 12:15 p.m. at the 38th EcoFarm Conference.

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