We are excited to announce that S2G’s Chief Investment Officer Sanjeev Krishnan will be moderating a ‘farmside’ chat with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow at Intelligent Grow Solutions’ on-site demonstration vertical farm at COP26. The conversation will explore how policy, finance, innovative agriculture technologies and other public and private sector tools can be better leveraged to advance climate smart practices in partnership with farmers.
Bringing Startups into the Conversation
While COP26 President Alok Sharma has stated that this should be the most inclusive COP to date, many smaller startups who would benefit immensely and have much to contribute to a conference like this in terms of ideas, perspectives and cutting edge technology do not have the opportunity to attend. Both Secretary Vilsack and Senator Stabenow have expressed that they believe innovative technologies will play a crucial role in strengthening and diversifying food and agriculture supply chains.
Just last month Secretary Vilsack announced an investment of more than $146 million in sustainable agriculture research projects and is working to launch the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate at this conference which seeks to increase and accelerate global innovation, research and development in agriculture and food systems in support of climate action. Senator Stabenow in her opening statement to the Senate Committee on Agriculture’s hearing on Ag Innovation and the Federal Biotechnology Regulatory Framework stated that “Innovation is the foundation of American agriculture.”
As investors in this space we know innovation is the key to feeding a growing population in a way that supports both human and planetary health. This conversation will focus on the pivotal role startups and entrepreneurs can play in a sustainable food system transition and the importance of supporting innovation from new, diverse and exciting companies providing groundbreaking agricultural and climate change solutions.
Senator Debbie Stabenow made history in 2000 when she became the first woman from Michigan elected to the US Senate. She currently serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and is a national leader on food and agriculture policy and a forceful advocate for Michigan agriculture. She authored the 2014 Farm Bill which made historic investments in land and water conservation, clean energy, local food systems, specialty crops, cutting edge research and bio-based manufacturing, and co-authored the 2018 farm bill which passed with the most votes in favor of a farm bill in history.
Secretary Tom Vilsack was nominated for this position of United States Secretary of Agriculture by President Joe Biden and confirmed in February of 2021. He previously served in this role for 8 years under president Barack Obama. During his time in office, Secretary Vilsack worked to provide jobs for more Americans by investing in rural infrastructure, renewable energy, and large scale conservation projects. Between 2009-2016 the USDA enrolled a record number of acres in conservation programs, introduced healthier food choices and expanded free and reduced-price participation for school meals, and introduced new crop insurance and risk management tools to farms of all sizes.
Sanjeev Krishnan is the Chief Investment Officer of S2G Ventures. His career has been focused on finding opportunities at the intersection of investment, sustainability, health and innovation. Prior to being a founding member of S2G, Sanjeev worked at various investing platforms including CLSA Capital Partners, IFC (World Bank Group), Global Environment Fund and JP Morgan. He is passionate about system thinking principles and the application to investing in tough tech sectors, like the food system and others related to climate change and human health. Sanjeev is a graduate of the London School of Economics and serves on a variety of advisory and corporate boards.
Intelligent Growth Solutions is a Scottish-based vertical farm technology business that has developed a highly sophisticated plug-and-play indoor vertical farming technology to enable the production of food in any location in the world. The company has set up a 5.4m high operational demonstration vertical farm at the Sustainable Landing site in Broomielaw and is providing free tours and educational resources for all school groups. The facility is open through the duration of COP26.
Since opening its first vertical farming demonstration facility in August 2018, IGS has received significant interest from around the world for its groundbreaking patented technologies designed specifically to address some of vertical farming’s greatest challenges such as the cost of power and labor as well as the ability to maintain consistent quality at scale. IGS’s products are highly pragmatic, flexible, modular and scalable so they can grow a wide range of crops and meet local needs. The IGS system allows for the efficient use of limited space in cities, enabling producers to grow close to consumers to maximize product freshness and minimize food waste and food miles. It also uses a closed-loop irrigation/fertigation system that is biosecure and reuses between 95 and 97 percent of water in the growing system. The company works with farmers, entrepreneurs, consumer food businesses, pharmaceuticals and governments and is now supplying its modular growing units across four continents.
The event will take place on November 6th at 11:30 a.m. EDT / 3:30 p.m. GMT. Register for the live stream here.