Panel explores impact of Food & Innovation

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Exciting things are happening in the way food is grown, sourced, distributed, processed, cooked and served⁠ — which was the topic of conversation last week at Nuvo Network‘s talk on Food & Innovation.

The evening offered a taste of what the Halton and Hamilton area are serving up in terms of food & innovation, with interactive displays, tastings, and a lively panel and Q&A moderated by Chef Damian Wills, who also prepared some of the night’s food tastings.

The panel hosted three local food innovators: Jesse Donaldson, COO at SucSeed; Alex Yurek, founder of New Skew; and Marcia Woods, CEO at FreshSpoke.

SucSeed is a small-scale hydroponic gardening system that allows people to grow fresh herbs and vegetables at home. Their systems are currently in over 200 classrooms coast to coast, offering educators a hands-on approach to teaching students about agriculture, food security and healthy eating. Jesse highlighted the importance of giving people the power to be involved in their own food system, innovation working alongside equity and accessibility, and how low tech can have a big impact.

New Skew is a Toronto-based food innovation company that currently owns and operates a portfolio of 4 craft food brands — Detour Coffee Roasters, Royal Canadian Mead, Dear Grain and Brainbow. Read more about them here. Alex discussed evolving markets, finding relevancy in today’s market, and the growing interest in fresh food and making different foods at home.

FreshSpoke, which we’ve previously highlighted on our blog, is an online platform that connects wholesale buyers with local food suppliers – bridging a serious gap, making the process much easier and more accessible for everyone involved. Marcia underscored distribution issues and market access to local food, tying that in with rural economic prosperity. Marcia also cited the democratization of food and how data can better inform us.

“What’s happening with food today is nothing short of a revolution,” Chef Damian Wills shared on the event site. “We think globally while acting locally, we consider sustainability, climate, access and equity while never losing the joy, and sense of community food had the power to bring. Tall order. But that’s what we food innovators are doing.”

The variety of displays from local food innovators included everything from beer and mead to energy bars, pies, popcorn and more. You can check out the websites of the various vendors below: