What a year for food and tech! It has been truly wonderful getting to know all of you over the past couple of months. I can’t wait to connect with more of you at the events (hackathons, classes, and nerdy tech dinners) that are in the works for 2011.
Two weeks ago, my friend Charlie O’Donnell wrote a really nice post about how during this time of year, it’s important to remember that “relationships are everything.” He continued, “In the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, we’re all grossly underqualified for what we’re trying to do, so we need the help of others. Without the support of strong people around us or the inspiration of thoughtful contemporaries, life is pretty hard.”
I couldn’t agree more. We are a small but rapidly expanding community and we could all use a lot of support and insight. So, in the coming year, I will be working hard to inform, engage, and help build our community.
Congratulations to all of you on your successes this year!
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year!
A Community Is Born
Food+Tech Meetup Created: After leading the “E-Food Revolution: Interactive Tools to Feed the World” session at the SXSW Interactive 2010 conference, Elizabeth McVay Greene returned to NYC and launched the Food+Tech Meetup. Currently, the Meetup group has 251 members
First Ever Food+Tech Hackathon: On Dec 4, developers, designers, statisticians, urban farmers, public officials, and researchers came together for a 12-hour hackathon that used open government data to help citizens connect with and understand their food.
18 Food+Tech Panels Proposals for SXSW 2011: This year saw an explosion in the number of food related panels from food to farm to information management. Babette Pepaj of Bakespace put together a great foodie voters guide . Food+Tech Connect also covered additional panels not mentioned in Pepaj’s list.
The Feast Feast: The Feast Conference, in collaboration with Food+Tech Connect and The Highlands Dinner Club, invited 250 of NYC’s greatest artists, changemakers, government officials, creatives and food innovators to the table for one massive Feast on Good. We even created a Tumblr blog to encourage attendees to learn about and connect with the incredible guest chefs and food artisans that came together to make the Feast Feast such a memorable event.
Massive Brainstorm: How Social Media Can Be Used To Affect the 2012 Farm Bill: The brainstorm lead to lots of incredibly innovative ideas & insights from entrepreneurs, technologists, social media experts, wonks, activists, and community organizers. Lots more to come in 2011! Quick taste of ideas shared: “It would be interesting to create a Foursquare account that would check-in every farm and factory that this “simple” prepared meal had to touch before it arrived at the supermarket. With this, we can show how the current food system supports a grossly overcomplicated supply chain.” – Mike Lee, Studiofeast
Windowfarms Reaches 15,000+ Members: Britta Riley and the Windowfarms team used their R&D-I-Y model to build a community of over 15,000 research & developers. Rewarding contributors with useful tools and blueprints, empowering them to create and popularize innovative sustainable solutions, and providing a support and innovation community, has made Windowfarm successful at crowdsourcing innovation & incentivizing engagement.
Future of Local Media’s Eat. Blog. Love. The Future of Food: Future of Local Media brought together a variety of entrepreneurs, food bloggers, activists, and even New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Bob Lewis to explore some of the ways technology is being used to change how we interact with and experience food.
Eyebeam Explores Food+Tech+Art: This year, Eyebeam featured a number of food+tech+art projects including: The Counter Kitchen, The Spice Trade Expedition, & M2A™: The Fantastic Voyage.
Food Goes Real-Time
Food52 Goes Real-Time: Food52 launched Foodpickle, a Twitter-based cooking helpline that allows users to ask questions and receive answers from other users all over the world. Users then receive real-time responses via direct message or email.
Foodpress: WordPress.com ventured into niche content aggregation and food this year with the launch of Foodpress.com. This says a lot about the strength and breadth of food-related stories, recipes, pictures, and video being shared throughout the blogosphere, as this is the blogging platform’s first attempt at niche content aggregation.
Gourmet Live Launches: This September, Gourmet returned in a totally new incarnation as Gourmet Live – an iPad based “interactive content experience around food and food culture” that combines social gaming, premium real-time recipes and stories, and the best of Gourmet Magazine’s content. After speaking with Kelly Senyei, Content Producer for Gourmet Live, I’m convinced that this digital magazine is iterating its way towards a recipe for success.
Food Trucks Make The Map: Zagat launches food truck finder web app that lets you pinpoint the locations of all your favorite food trucks. Truxmap launches to provide real-time information about food trucks using google maps.
Data & Research Open Up
USDA Releases Farmer’s Market Data: USDA releases raw data sets from the USDA National Farmers Market Directory on Data.gov. CNN used this data as part of a partnership with Foursquare to create the healthy eating badge for frequent farmers market shoppers.
USDA Becomes First Federal Agency To Adopt VIVO: VIVO is an open source semantic web application developed by Cornell to help scientists and researchers to discover research within an institution, network, and collaborate across disciplines. The USDA is the first federal organization to use VIVO to facilitate intra-agency collaboration.
Launch of First-Ever Rooftop Greenhouse Science Lab: New York Sun Works & The Manhattan School For Children Launched NYC’s first-ever rooftop greenhouse science laboratory. It’s like the Science Barge has moved to a school rooftop! Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Council Member Gale Brewer, and NYC Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, all helped launch the greenhouse.
Food+Tech Connect Open Sources Business Plan: In December, I began open sourcing my business plan. Every Tuesday, my business advisor Christine Rico posts about the our business planning process.