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 Takes on Tech podcast.
The podcast invites guests from in and outside of the industry to talk about emerging tools and trends while also uncovering future challenges.
Each episode includes insights on a variety of topics with the latest season tackling water conservation, personalized nutrition and agtech around the globe in countries such as Australia, Brazil and South Africa. While there is no shortage of talks on technology, for this podcast, the guests are not just changing the tools the industry uses--they’re also changing how the industry works, says Estes.
“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.”
Right: Vonnie Estes
In the first episode of the season (the 12th of the series), Estes is joined by Dr. 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 discusses 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 and sustainability.
“It’s one thing to say, ‘here’s what’s possible’ and I think a lot of technology conversations thrive in that space,” Estes said. “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 industry circles but with consumers as well.”
The podcast, with the upcoming six episodes sponsored by Driscoll’s and Sensitech, is one way PMA is providing insight to the opportunities and impacts of technology on the produce and floral industries. Upcoming events include the February 10, Virtual Town Hall, where speakers will address root cause analysis strategies for produce professionals, and another on agtech start-ups. 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.
For more information about upcoming PMA events, visit the PMA website.