ATLANTA, Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire
The Metro Atlanta Chamber, in partnership with the City of Atlanta, Invest Atlanta, the Atlanta Beltline and Georgia Power, today launched its search for the most innovative AgTech solutions.
From seed production to farming to food processing, agriculture technology (AgTech) is fast-becoming an answer to growing global food shortages. By 2050 the projected food demand will increase anywhere between 59 to 98 percent.1
"As Atlanta goes through tremendous growth, we want equity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do," said Cynthia Curry, Director of IoT for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. "The goal of the IoT.ATL AgTech Challenge is to unearth new, viable food resilience solutions for our city and other cities as they scale."
To improve food resilience at home and abroad, the IoT.ATL AgTech Challenge will select six solutions to tackle this issue via IoT. Startups are encouraged to collaborate to provide one complete and innovative AgTech solution. The selected startups will get access to a 20-foot shipping container along the Atlanta Beltline to pilot their AgTech over the course of 12-months as part of Atlanta's Demonstration Project program.
Duluth-based agricultural equipment manufacturer, AGCO will provide the shipping containers.
"We are thrilled about this global smart farming initiative in proximity to our global headquarters in Atlanta and we believe that with our agriculture expertise and resources AGCO can truly help to maximize all efforts for a good cause in our Atlanta communities. Through our Fuse smart farming platform, we welcome opportunities like this to collaborate and exchange ideas with AgTech startups. Our company's vision is high-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world and we are committed to providing basic necessities to a growing world population," said Metti Richenhagen, Manager, AGCO Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber and City of Atlanta are developing partnerships with community-based organizations to ensure the fresh produce grown in the IoT.ATL AgTech Challenge pilot is received by those needing it the most.
"Now more than ever, it is critical that we develop an accessible, equitable, and resilient local food system for One Atlanta," said Amol Naik, City of Atlanta Chief Resilience Officer. "We are excited that AgTech has been selected as the first challenge of the Living Labs program and look forward to seeing how innovation and technology will maximize the efficacy of urban agriculture - all while raising awareness of these critical issues on the Atlanta Beltline."
In addition to test space along the Atlanta Beltline, winning startups will receive mentorship and guidance from the Atlanta civic, corporate and technology community during the pilot.
"We want each startup to walk away from the pilot experience feeling inspired and empowered to create even more in Atlanta," said Curry.
"Invest Atlanta's Demonstration Project provides startups with opportunities for proof of concept, which can be helpful in a critical stage of a startup's life cycle," said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. "Engaging the next generation of agricultural technology startups in the IoT.ATL AgTech Challenge gives entrepreneurs the chance to test and validate their technologies over 12 months in a real-life urban setting. Our partnerships with entrepreneurs have the potential to not only improve our city's health, environment, and economy, but also to change the world."
The IoT.ATL AgTech Challenge is the first IoT.ATL Living Labs initiative. "This project brings visibility to Atlanta as a center for smart agriculture and smart technology," said Michael Britt, Vice President of Southern Company's Energy Innovation Center. IoT.ATL Living Labs was developed earlier this year to showcase Atlanta's strengths in IoT and drive technology community collaboration and economic development.
Interested candidates residing outside of Atlanta are encouraged to apply.
Illustration Photo: Aquaponic basil at a net-zero vertical farm (credits: Chris Bentley / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))