Round Table Recap: Mapping a Successful Future for Food and Agriculture

Pressures being felt across the globe in food and agriculture were central to the conversations which took place at Farm Foundation’s Round Table meeting in Chicago this summer.  

Round Table Fellows from around the country and their guests gathered to engage with each other and with thought-provoking speakers on the theme of Mapping a Successful Future for Food and Agriculture.  

Overhead shot from the back of the main meeting room at the June Round Table, showing the opening plenary panel on stage and audience members asking questions.

The opening plenary introduced the levers of people, planet, and technology needed to map a successful future for agriculture. Keynote speakers shared what they are doing to prepare the next generation of leaders, navigate global pressures, and use technology and innovation from the farm level through to the consumer in new ways. 

Sessions on “feeding our evolving world” looked at the increasing population and pressures food banks are facing, as well as global populations who face hunger. We heard from people and organizations who are working through collaboration to continue to craft solutions from grains to dairy and more. 

Leading academics provided their insights on building capacity to overcome planetary limits. They discussed current research to navigate the various planetary pressures of land, water, weather, and climate. 

New Roles, Business Structures, and Environments

The session “Embracing New Roles for Agriculture” highlighted the many renewable products coming from agriculture, from plastics to pharmaceuticals, and the rural investments required to create these opportunities for farmers and society. Innovators and entrepreneurs shared their experiences with their unique products and services. 

“Reimagining Capital and New Business Structures” involved a dialogue from those who are pushing the envelope on creative ways to enable sustainable financing for the future of agriculture. 

A session exploring where we will farm in the future looked at opportunities to produce food in extreme environments such as no soil, no sun, and on other planets, as well as the ongoing innovations to produce plants and seafood indoors. The Round Table closed with a keynote fireside chat on the future of agriculture.  

The meeting provided ample and diverse views, allowing Round Table Fellows and others to synthesize ideas and take back new insights into their work to accelerate practical solutions for food and agriculture.  

Round Table Fellows will gather next in Hawaii in January 2024 around the theme of the business of farming.

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