Produce Marketing Association’s Vonnie Estes, vice president of technology and expert on rising tech needs and trends, is launching her third season of the popular Takes on Tech podcast.
The podcast invites guests from in and outside of the industry to talk about the tools and trends that are emerging in and around our industry while also uncovering the soon-to-be challenges coming our way in the future.
Each episode dives into expert insights on a variety of topics with the latest season tackling water conservation, personalized nutrition, and agtech around the globe in countries like Australia, Brazil and South Africa. There are no shortage of talks on technology, but the differentiator for this podcast, Estes explains, is that the guests are not just changing the tools we use, they’re changing how the industry works.
“Technology is not the end point,” said Estes. “If we’re truly being innovative, we’re not just creating a tool to do a job, we’re creating a solution to a challenge. The guests we have are talking about how the solutions they’re developing are changing the entire way our industry can function – that opens up a lot of opportunity even beyond the immediate need.”
In the first episode of the season (the 12th of the series), Estes is joined by Alexa Lamm, associate professor of Ag Leadership and Communication at the University of Georgia, Jackie Roberts, chief sustainability officer at AppHarvest, and Dr. Sarah Federman, research scientist at Plenty. The panel takes on the topic of Controlled Environment Agriculture that not only requires a fraction of the water of other types of production, but also meets consumer demands around transparency, traceability, sustainability.
“It’s one thing to say ‘here’s what’s possible’ and I think that a lot of technology conversations thrive in that space,” Estes said. “But what we’re hoping to do is to say ‘here’s what’s happening.’ We’re further along than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. It’s important to share those stories not just in our own industry circles but with our consumers as well.”
The podcast, with the upcoming 6 episodes sponsored by Driscoll’s and Sensitech, is one way that PMA is providing insight to the opportunities and impacts of technology on the produce and floral industries. Upcoming events include the Febr. 10, Virtual Town Hall, where speakers will address Root Cause Analysis strategies for produce professionals, and another on Agtech Startups. PMA will also host webinars in the coming months to help industry members reduce energy costs and connect with business solution providers who are innovating the post-harvest space.