Western Growers Joins Forces With SVG Partners and Forbes for AgTech Innovation
SALINAS, CA - Western Growers and Silicon Valley Global Partners (SVG Partners) are entering into an exclusive strategic alliance agreement to find, accelerate, advance and invest in innovative solutions intended to solve critical challenges to production agriculture through technology and produce more with less water, labor and inputs. The two companies will collaborate on Innovation Centers in Salinas and the Silicon Valley. In addition, Western Growers will become a strategic partner of Forbes Reinventing America: The AgTech Summit to be held in Salinas on July 8-9, 2015.
“With population growth reaching nine billion in 2050 the only way to feed the world will be through technology,” said Tom Nassif, President and CEO of Western Growers. “We are also in an era of diminishing natural resources especially in California where water is a serious concern because of an ongoing four-year drought. In order to create a sustainable food chain, technologies and innovation must be developed and promoted. The purpose of this partnership is to accomplish just that.
Nassif also announced that Western Growers will be creating an Innovation Center in the Salinas Valley. This venue, in addition to other forms of communication and collaboration, will be provided for entrepreneurs and innovators so they may be mentored by Western Growers’ members who produce approximately half the fresh produce in the country.”
John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Partners added, “We are delighted to partner with Western Growers to invest and accelerate technology in agriculture and we welcome their strategic involvement with Forbes Reinventing America: The AgTech Summit. The intersection of technology and agriculture will pave the way to solve the exploding food production challenge, as well as deliver an incredible investment opportunity in the twenty-first century.”
The new partnership is working on something called, the Thrive Accelerator, a selective mentorship and investment program intended to connect technology-enabled startups with leading agricultural companies. According to a press release, other sponsors of the program include Taylor Farms, JV Smith Companies, Chiquita, Dole, Mann’s and Rocket Farms. Currently, ten start-ups have been selected for incubation. Award winners and results from this initiative will be featured at Forbes Reinventing America: The AgTech Summit.
“Forbes’ AgTech Summit promises to be the definitive gathering for leaders at the intersection of technology and agriculture,” said Mike Federle, Forbes Media Chief Operating Officer. “We welcome Western Growers’ strategic support of this event.”
Nassif continued that he believes that farmers today need to increase the quantity and quality of crops using less water, labor, and inputs. He says that Western Growers is taking the initiative to shape the future of the fresh produce industry by partnering with a respected and experienced Silicon Valley technology innovation firm to advance technology innovation in the fresh produce industry.