Produce Marketing Association Takes on Tech Podcast Seeks to Turn Tech Talk to Industry Action
NEWARK, DE - The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has taken to this new virtual world we inhabit like a duck to water, doubling down on providing industry resources that are both engaging and valuable. The association recently released the third episode of the PMA Takes on Tech Podcast and the fourth is slotted soon. The series, hosted by Vonnie Estes, PMA’s Vice President of Technology, explores how technology supports professionals and businesses across the fresh produce supply chain. Each episode examines how experts are using technology to further the industry.
“Sometimes we think about technology as a cost, or we think about it as a pipe dream, or something that may exist down the line,” Estes remarked in a press release. “I believe that technology is the solution to a multitude of our industry’s greatest challenges. The podcast is about navigating the world as it is right now, with the tools and tech that are available to us and laying the groundwork to ensure we’re prepared for what’s next.”
Estes noted that technology is a huge part of how food is grown, harvested, packaged, delivered, and consumed. Why would we as an industry not want to learn more about that?
Throughout her time at PMA, Estes has offered her expertise and become a critical voice for the industry, highlighting innovations and tech that benefit various segments of the supply chain.
The third episode, “PMA Takes on Tech: Can technology solve the produce labor shortage?” featured Dr. Phil Martin, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Davis; John Purcell, Head of Vegetable Seed R&D at Bayer Crop Science; and James Terry of CloudFarming in Australia. Each guest discussed the state of farm labor in the United States as well as globally. They also chatted about breeding and labor solutions currently in development.
The fourth episode will be foodservice focused, aligning with PMA’s virtual event Foodservice: Delivered. The episode, “The Realities of Foodservice” is set to feature Jin Ju Wilder of Vesta Foodservice; Martha Montoya, CEO of Agtools; Aidan Moaut, CEO of Hazel Technologies; and Patrick Cortes, of Mission Produce. The conversation will look at the challenges in foodservice posed by COVID-19 and how new and existing technology will help the industry plan for the future.
“The conversations about technology have often been about what we ‘could do’,” said Estes. “But in the wake of COVID-19 and the changes to the industry, the economy, and simply the ways we work, the conversations have shifted to be about what we ‘must do.’ We must invest in solutions that will solve our industries biggest challenges. We must be a part of the discussion on how and what solutions we invest in and how they are implemented. The podcast is one way to start that dialogue.”
All episodes are available now and listeners can catch up on previously released episodes if they have missed them. We’ll briefly recap them below so you know what you’re about to get into!
In the first episode, “PMA Takes on Tech: What do we do with all these onions?,” Estes introduced the podcast, and welcomed Shay Myers, CEO of Owyhee Produce; and Michael Helmstetter, the Founder, President, and CEO at TechAccel. Myers and Helmstetter discussed the impact that COVID-19 has had on the industry and identified solutions.
In the second episode, “PMA Takes on Tech: What food and agtech venture capitalists are thinking now,” Estes led a discussion with Sanjeev Krishnan with S2G and Rob Leclerc of Agfunder about the state of the ag and food tech venture capitalist sectors today.
Current weekend plans? Perhaps it’s listening to a podcast and sipping a produce-forward cocktail!