WHAT's ON

WORKSHOPS & SPEAKER AREAS 

There will be workshops and talks running through the day in our four speaker areas providing updates on the latest industry developments and challenges, with your chance to put your questions directly to industry experts. 

TIMETABLES

PRODUCTIVITY: Cutting Costs and Maximising Yields

morning topics

PRACTICAL APPLICATION TECHNOLOGY

9.30-9.35am

Chair Introduction

John Giles, Divisional Director, Promar International 

9.35-9.50am

Catherine Russell

Sustainability Manager, Angus Soft Fruits

Catherine is the Sustainability Manager at Angus Soft Fruits where she has worked for over two years. Her key areas of focus are: reducing carbon emissions, managing food waste, responsible packaging, human rights due diligence, and creating a positive impact on biodiversity. Before starting at Angus Soft Fruits, Catherine undertook the MDS Graduate Scheme and completed four six-month placements at different companies within the fresh produce industry. Catherine holds a PhD in Food Science from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

PRESENTATION (Click to view)
Implementing a Sustainability Plan Across the Supplier Base

Presentation Synopsis:
Angus Soft Fruits and Angus Growers have been working with SAC Consulting and the Agrecalc carbon calculator tool since 2013 to understand their carbon emissions per unit of production on farms. The group is using the data to create a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction roadmap, which includes: renewable energy, efficient fertiliser use, water management, efficient chilling, accurate forecasting, and exploring new technologies, like electric and hydrogen vehicles. During this presentation, Catherine will share the successes of this sustainability plan, including how the group’s UK-based growers have already reduced their carbon emissions by using more resilient varieties to increase output; as well as the efforts to invest in renewable energy; and use automated irrigation equipment, which uses only the volume of water and fertiliser which are necessary.

9.55-10.10am 

Dr Beenish Siddique, CEO & Founder, AEH Innovative Hydrogel

Dr Beenish Siddique is the founder and CEO of AEH Innovative Hydrogel. Beenish is a young and enthusiastic entrepreneur with high ambitions. She holds a BSc in Chemistry from Aston University and a PhD in Materials from the University of Manchester. She worked as R&D Chemist for Hydrogel Healthcare during 2012. She has won 10 prestigious awards for her innovative work, including the Venture Further award and the Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise award. In 2020, Beenish secured over £1m of UK Government funding from Innovate UK to develop the GelPonic technology and system.

Click to view presentation:

Gelponics – A Growing Medium for Indoor Farming

Presentation Synopsis:

Gelponics sheets and cubes are the ideal growing medium for producing leafy greens indoors. In this presentation Dr Beenish will explain the role of gelponics, made from sustainable low-carbon products and without the use of environmentally-harmful synthetic polymers, in the future of the horticulture industry and vertical farming. Specifically, Beenish will detail how gelponics can significantly reduce production costs, carbon emissions and water consumption, whilst improving product quality.

10.15-10.30am

Dr Atif Syed. CEO & Founder, Wootzano

Dr Atif Syed is the CEO and founder of Wootzano, a British robotics company. He has a PhD in Engineering and Electronics/Bionanotechnology from the University of Edinburgh, as well as extensive experience in Electronics, Nanotechnology, Robotics, and AI. Atif became an Enterprise Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2019, and received the Royal Silver Medal for Engineering in 2022.

Click to view presentation:

The Necessary Adoption of Automation To Sustain a Growing Nation

Presentation Synopsis:

The global population has surpassed 8 billion people, with another 2 billion expected to be added in the next 30 years. Without autonomous intervention, an increase in manual labour alone would not be enough to meet the rapidly growing demands of the post-harvest industry. Until now, that is. In this presentation, Dr Atif will introduce Avarai, a cutting-edge robotic system from Wootzano that is capable of handling, trimming, estimating weight, evaluating quality, and packing delicate fruit.

10.35-10.50am

Alberto Campanaro, Head of Biology, Zayndu

Alberto is Head of Plant Science at Zayndu. During his Ph.D. at Durham University he investigated molecular responses and interactions that underpin the plant growth-immunity balance in collaboration with agritech leaders, such as: KWS, ADAS, and BASF. At Zayndu, Alberto’s role is to lead the biology team to deliver customer research projects and seed evaluations, as well as to coordinate the development of the seed treatment protocols for Zayndu’s novel technology.

Presentation Title:

Harnessing the Power of Lighting to Transition Towards Sustainable Agriculture

Presentation Synopsis:

Zayndu’s technology harnesses the power of nature to create significant improvements in plant health and yield without the need for additional water or harmful chemicals. Modern food production is having to find ways to combat the increasing environmental, economic and legislative challenges facing the industry. During this session, Alberto will examine how technology, such as Zayndu’s seed treatment machine, is widely recognised as the key to unlocking the true potential of indoor growing in order to deliver ongoing regional food security, to reduce the reliance on imported produce, and to deliver cost-effective, quality ingredients to consumers.

10.50-11.00am

General Q&A

11.00-11.30am

Coffee Break

CARBON & ENERGY MANAGEMENT

11.30-11.35am

Chair Introduction

Veryan Bliss, Director, Food Intelligence

With over 25 years ofindustry experience Veryan is a well-recognised and respected produce industry expert.

As a long standing andintegral member of the leadership team at tomato and protected crop specialistsSuncrop Produce Ltd, Veryan ended her day-to-day tenure as Technical andCommercial Director in November 2022, having led the business’s Technicalrelationships with multiple retailers and industry stakeholders. 

In 2022 Veryan founded Food Intelligence Ltd to provide strategic consultancy services to theagriculture, horticulture, and agri-tech sectors. Veryan’s business focuses on supply chain and production optimisation, decarbonisation, sustainability and ESG projects, but she can also identify a good tomato- if you can find one!

Veryan is a passionate advocate of food authenticity holding non-executive board positions at The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), Red Tractor (Fresh Produce) and is the Chair of the Waitrose Agronomy Group

11.35-11.50am

Dr Will Beer

CEO, Tunley Engineering

Will has a professional background in multi-departmental transformation, and an academic background in advanced full factorials, large datasets and combustion modelling, including a PhD in mechanical engineering with a chemical bias. At Tunley Engineering, Will continues to apply innovation, change management and exploration skills to his role as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer.

Presentation Title:

Business Carbon Assessments and Achieving Net Zero Carbon

Presentation Synopsis:

Tunley Engineering provides businesses with insights into their carbon emissions and achievable ways to reduce them. This safeguards the future sustainability of both businesses and the planet. This is especially pertinent in the fresh produce industry as climate change so directly impacts on the success of food production. During his presentation, Dr Will will explain business carbon assessments, and how to achieve net zero carbon.

11.55-12.10pm

Jon Swain, Technical Director, NFU Energy

Jon is the Technical Director at NFU Energy. He has a background in farming, and was educated an an engineer and electrician before embarking on a broad career in energy. Since 2005, Jon has been involved in all areas of NFU Energy, and, as such, he benefits from expertise in technical consultancy, renewable energy and energy scheme compliance. In recent years Jon has consulted on all manner of renewables projects, especially in anaerobic digestion (AD), biomass heating and combined heat and power (CHP).

Presentation Title:

The Current Energy Climate and the Outlook for the Future

Presentation Synopsis:

During this presentation, Jon will discuss the energy climate currently affecting the industry, and offer his predictions on what the future holds, including the options for investment to the added benefit of the market.

12.15-12.50pm

Antony Yousefian

Partner, The First Thirty Ventures

Antony is a partner at The First Thirty Ventures, which supports early stage technologies that regenerate nature and accelerate transformation of the food system. He began his career in finance, with a strong focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and impact investment. Antony later crossed over into investment banking, where the food security opportunity became apparent, which drove him to work with start-ups in this space. Within the past seven years, Antony has co-founded and built two ag-tech companies focused on transforming the fossil food system. Antony is also Chair of the Advisory Board to Agrimetrics, and an Advisor to Tech Nation’s Net Zero Program.

Mark Hodgson

Co-Founder & CEO, ReFi Venture Studio

Mark is CEO and co-founder of ReFi Ventures Studio, which accelerates agri-food solutions for regenerating nature. Mark has nearly three decades of experience in delivering cloud and climate technology and services to business and government globally. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has an M.Sc. from Aberdeen University, having specialised in sustainable development, rural economy, and natural resources. ReFi Venture Studio is developing an application in partnership with Wiliot Technology to augment the real-time carbon footprint of any food product in the supply chain.

Paddy Long

Co-Founder & CPO, ruumi

Paddy is a Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at ruumi, which is accelerating the adoption of regenerative grazing, improving farmers’ profitability and providing finance to remove emissions and sequester carbon in soils at scale. A designer by training, Paddy is passionate about speaking to customers, visualising new ideas and then testing those concepts. Paddy met the other ruumi co-founders, Johannes and Dani, while working on autonomous taxis for Daimler, where he was the Customer Experience Lead. During his career Paddy has also worked for Emirates Airlines, start-up onefinestay and global innovation consultancy IDEO. He also worked on London’s award-winning pedestrian wayfinding system. Paddy developed a passion for farming while helping on his Godfather’s cattle farm in Essex.

Presentation Title:

Real-time Sourcing & Decarbonisation of Food Supply Chains

Presentation Synopsis:  

What if it was possible to see in real-time the carbon emissions accumulating in your supply chain? Imagine reading an accurate carbon footprint for each individual milk carton or every bunch of bananas at all stages of their supply? During this session, Antony Yousefian, a partner at The First Thirty Ventures, will introduce two exciting technologies that are making this idea a reality. See how Wiliot Pixel technology (referred to as ‘printed computers’ that cost almost nothing) are being deployed by a US retailer to enable the company to see each and every product moving around real time. This – combined with on-farm emission removal solutions like ruumi (who are accelerating adoption of regenerative grazing) – means the decarbonisation of the food supply chain can finally move at pace.

12.50-1.00pm

General Q&A

1.00-2.30pm

Lunch

AFTERNOON topics

2.30-2.35pm

Chair introduction

Ms Claire Donovan BSc Ag

Director - 3i Technical Consulting

2.35-2.50pm

Dr Diogo de Souza Monteiro, Senior Lecturer in Agribusiness, Newcastle University

Dr Diogo is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Agribusiness Management at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES) at Newcastle University. Diogo teaches Business Economics, Marketing and Public Policy, as well as Agro-Food Economics. His research focuses on supply chain coordination to deliver quality attributes of food. An example of this research are Diogo's papers on the economics of traceability, and, more recently, his investigation of free riding in collective labels. Secondly, Diogo studies how information cues, such as labels or certification symbols, influence consumers’ food purchasing and waste choices from farm to fork. His work informs business marketing strategies as well as policy. Diogo employs survey and experimental methods in his empirical research. Currently Diogo is undertaking research into consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable diets; food waste mitigation in foodservice and households; and urban farming.

Presentation Title: 

Are Digital Technologies Aiding Consumers’ Choices?

Presentation Synopsis:

Consumers are increasingly using digital technologies to measure their behaviour and receive information about their food choices. During this talk, Dr Diogo will share the findings of recently published research into the tools that aid consumer choices of healthy meals, as well as the effects that expiry date smart labels have on consumers’ attitudes towards food waste.

2.55-3.10pm

James Hammond

Reefer Client Manager, Maersk UK & Ireland

James has worked at Maersk for 27 years across different departments. For almost the last 20 years, he has been working with temperature-controlled cargoes, specialising in the fresh sector. James is passionate about some of the projects in which Maersk is involved in conjunction with the fresh produce industry. These initiatives are truly exciting, and James believes they will be beneficial to our environment as a whole.

Presentation Title:

Integrating The World With Zero Emissions

Presentation Synopsis:

Consumer behaviour now, and even more so in the future, is focusing on decarbonisation and sustainability in all matters, especially food and drink. Transport plays a major role in the supply of all foods, making it important to develop a detailed plan that can deliver zero emissions as soon as possible. Maersk has set a target to become climate neutral by 2040, and the company has put in place the milestones to make changes during this decade. The effects of those changes will be multiplied over the next decade to deliver zero emissions in good time. Join this presentation to find out how Maersk will achieve this ambitious goal.

3.15-3.30pm

Emma Brown

Commercial Manager (Produce), FareShare

Prior to joining FareShare in 2019, Emma worked for almost five years in Research and Development for JDE, after studying Food Science & Nutrition at the University of Leeds. At FareShare, she has worked across various categories, including Ambient, Food Service, Wholesale and Frozen. Emma is currently a Commercial Manager for the produce industry, working in collaboration with organisations to ensure any surplus food is prevented from going to waste, and redistributed to charities.  

Presentation Title:

Working With FareShare To Redistribute Surplus Produce To Charities

Presentation Synopsis:

Join this presentation where Emma will explain how the produce industry can work with FareShare to reduce their food waste while helping people in need. FareShare works to fight food poverty by tackling food waste. The company takes edible surplus food from the food and drink industry and redistributes it to organisations that feed people who need it most; turning an environmental problem into a social solution.

3.35-4.00pm

General Q&A

POST-BREXIT BORDER REGIME

2.30-4.00pm

Chair Introduction

Nigel Jenney, CEO, Fresh Produce Consortium

Session Title:

Introduction To Newly Published Post-Brexit Border Regime – Target Operating Model

Session Synopsis:

The new border strategy for the UK will harness a new approach to border management and reduce the friction and cost for industry and, ultimately, consumers. FPC has played a leading role in influencing and guiding the UK Government to radically change its previously planned border solutions. In FPC’s view, the original plans were simply inadequate to meet the needs of our members and required substantial improvement.

This proposed session is subject to the release by the UK Government of the new Targeted Operating Model prior to FPC Future 2023.

Please note that this session may not occur and is dependent on support by UK Government officials. We will confirm as soon as possible.

RESEARCH & BIG DATA

2.30-2.35pm

Chair Introduction

Alex Marshall, Associate Director, MorePeople

2.35-2.50pm

Dr Carolina Camacho Villa, Senior Lecturer in Social and Managerial Technology, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology, the University of Lincoln

Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa is an interdisciplinary researcher who covers themes such as farming systems, agrobiodiversity, and technological change in agriculture. Her key areas of research interest include the social aspects of agri-food technologies; particularly the design, development and deployment of agricultural robotic technologies and their contribution to global agri-food challenges. She is the Senior Lecturer in Social and Managerial Technology at the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology based at the University of Lincoln. 

Martin de la Harpe, Sustainability Consultant 

Martin de la Harpe has 25 years of experience in developing standards for horticultural supply chains. After completing an MSc in Plant Biotechnology at Wye College in Kent, and a postgraduate diploma in Plant and Soil Analysis at Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, Martin worked in the tea and coffee industry in Malawi and Kenya. Since 1997 he has been working in the floriculture supply chain; developing  technical and ethical standards and human rights due diligence. Martin’s most recent role was Head of Sustainability for Flamingo Horticulture.

Martin Collison, Director, Collison & Associates and Agrifood Advisor to Greater Lincolnshire LEP

Martin has been an agrifood consultant since 2000, a lecturer in agrifood development since 1987, and he has owned businesses and been a partner or company director of four businesses in the food chain since 1990, including companies working in agrifood consultancy, agriculture, horticulture, imports and exports. Martin has been an agrifood advisor to the Greater Lincolnshire LEP since 2014. There, he is helping to lead the development of the UK Food Valley programme, which is focused on delivering industry-led investment, including expanding the fresh produce sector. Martin also lectures on food market trends and policy, has provided assistance for numerous UK and EU agrifood and agricultural strategies and programmes, and holds positions on various agrifood committees and boards.

Presentation Title: 

Foresighting Future Workforce Needs in the Agri-Food Sector: A Pilot Study into Packhouse Skills for Automation

Presentation Synopsis: 

Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa, Martin de la Harpe and Martin Collison will present the initial findings of a pilot study they have undertaken concerning the workforce and skill shortage in the fresh produce packhouse sector. In response to the current labour crisis challenge, the team at LIAT has been investigating the implications of automation for future workforce and skills. Their research consists of a proof-of-concept case study that applies the skills’ foresighting methodology developed by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of research, development and innovation centres transforming UK manufacturing. This session will reveal the significant gaps between the current apprenticeship provision and the future capabilities needs for fresh produce packhouse automation, and the recommendations to close the gaps for the job roles of technical operators, engineers, and advanced engineers.

 

2.55-3.10pm 

Erik Pekkeriet, Programme Manager Agro Food Robotics, University of Wageningen (The Netherlands)

Erik studied Mechanical Engineering before starting his career in maintenance management at Philips. Later he built and led a team of innovation managers at the association Greenhouse Netherlands. In 2001, Erik moved to Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to build great robots, vision sorting systems and new greenhouse production systems both for, and together with, farmers and machine manufacturers. Erik now leads the full Wageningen Robot Portfolio, and has broadened the scope to open field, livestock, fish, food and other Wageningen agri-food domains. In addition to his position at WUR, Erik is board member of the topic group Agriculture within EU Robotics, a Network Coordinator of the European AgROBOfood Digital Innovation Hub network, and a scientific board member at the European Machine Vision Association.

Presentation Title

When Will Robots Shake Hands With Growers?

Presentation Synopsis

A robot can pick fruit, carry out crop care and manage logistical operations. But the uptake of robotics has not yet broken through into the mainstream horticultural market. So, what is missing? And what is still needed to help unburden growers? In this presentation, Erik will provide an insight into state-of-the art robotics, as well as the functions and workflows that are still missing or lacking.

3.15-3.30pm

Dr. Bhavnita Patel

Sector Development Manager for Agri-Food, MTC

Bhavnita is the Sector Development Manager for Agri-Food at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). With a decade of experience bringing technology together to provide new insights for food manufacture, Bhavnita is eager to help the agriculture industry through the development of innovative technology, and improving the agri-food supply chain.

Presentation Title

Technology Development & Automation Adoption

Presentation Synopsis

In this presentation, Bhavnita will discuss the need for technology development for agriculture; specifically, making equipment fit-for-purpose to improve efficiency and to address the challenges faced by the industry. Bhavnita will address the adoption of automation, and some of the barriers, including navigating technology options and limited wireless connectivity in rural areas.

3.35-4.00pm

General Q&A

SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY

2.30-2.35pm

Chair Introduction

Drew Reynolds, Technical & Sustainability Director, Dole UK

2.35-2.50pm

Adrian Bird

Market Development Director Smurfit Kappa

Adrian is the Market Development Director at Smurfit Kappa. He joined the company’s UK & Ireland office 39 years ago after graduating from Birmingham University with a degree in Business. Adrian has a keen interest in replacing plastic and polystyrene as part of the Better Planet Packaging Initiative from Smurfit Kappa. Major successes have been made across many industries, and now fresh produce is a key area of focus. Adrian also has a great interest in automation through installing machines to reduce labour costs.

Click to view presentation:
Reducing Your Environmental Impact with Sustainable Paper-Based Punnets.

Presentation Synopsis:
Corrugated punnets have a bright and green future, and Smurfit Kappa is eager to design this future together with the produce industry. The team at Smurfit Kappa are committed to being an impactful business and supporting a greener, bluer planet. This means doing the right thing for people, communities and the environment by developing products and processes that make a real difference for its customers and the entire value chain. In this context, during this presentation Adrian will explore Smurfit Kappa’s unique sustainable portfolio of ‘Safe and Green’ paper-based punnets. Adrian will explain how the range will help businesses across the produce industry to reduce their environmental impact while achieving value-added sales revenue.

2.55-3.10pm

Dr Melissa Antoniou-Kourounioti, Network & Partnerships Manager, the Food Safety Research Network

Dr Melissa Antoniou-Kourounioti is the Network & Partnerships Manager for the Food Safety Research Network, hosted at the Quadram Institute. Her role is to support the network’s success by attracting new members, facilitating fruitful communication between members, and enabling impactful collaborations in the field of food safety. Melissa grew up in Crete, Greece, and moved to London to pursue her fascination in genetics and molecular biology at King’s College. After completing a Master’s degree in developmental biology at Nottingham, and a PhD on cell biology at Cambridge, she moved to Norwich to work as a PostDoc at UEA looking at cardiac development in chicken embryos. Melissa then moved to the Quadram Institute to pursue a career in science administration.

Presentation Title:

Impactful Areas for Collaborative Research into Food Safety

Presentation Synopsis:

The UK Food Safety Research Network connects food industry, food and health policymakers and academia to collaboratively pursue shared research priorities that will protect the UK from foodborne hazards. The network is hosted by Quadram Institute, is funded by BBSRC and the Food Standards Agency, and serves as an innovation hub to coordinate and fund cross-sectoral research and training activities that address current and emerging challenges. In this presentation, Melissa will summarise the priority areas impacting food safety that have been identified through stakeholder engagement, and those that have been developed to guide collaborative projects funded by the UK Food Safety Research Network.

3.15-3.50pm

Daniel Johns, Managing Director, Water Resources East

Daniel Johns is Managing Director at Water Resources East, the independent, not-for-profit membership organisation tasked by the government to create a regional water resources plan for all sectors and the environment in Eastern England. Previously, Daniel was a senior civil servant at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He also spent four years at the Climate Change Committee, leading its work on adaptation.

Kelly Hewson-Fisher, National Water Resources Specialist, NFU

Kelly Hewson-Fisher is the National Water Resources Specialist for the National Farmers Union (NFU). She joined the NFU after seven years as a Catchment Advisor at Anglian Water and 12 years as an Agricultural Business Consultant at ADAS, the UK’s largest independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy. Kelly was brought up on her family’s dairy farm in Lincolnshire, and she studied agriculture, marketing and business studies at Harper Adams University. Kelly wants to drive solutions through collaboration for water resource resilience.

Presentation Title:

Future Water Security Challenges and the Solutions for Agriculture

Presentation Synopsis:

Periods of prolonged dry weather and drought, as seen this year, can be expected more and more frequently in the changing climate. At the same time, existing water abstraction licences are being reviewed and many will be capped, if not withdrawn, in order to protect the environment. In this session Daniel and Kelly will set out what is known about the scale of the water security challenge for abstractors, and what the solutions might be for the agriculture sector.

3.50-4.00pm 

General Q&A

AUTOMATION & ROBOTICS: Smart Solutions to Produce Challenges

morning topics

PUTTING INNOVATION INTO ACTION

Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

9.30-9.40am 

Chair Introduction

Transforming Food Production (TFP) Programme: Catalysing the Transition to Net-Zero Food Production

Dr Tom Jenkins, Deputy Challenge Director, Innovate UK

Tom is Deputy Challenge Director for the £90m Transforming Food Production programme. He joined Innovate UK in 2013, and led the delivery of the £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst, having also delivered competitions under the £90m Sustainable Agri-Food Innovation Platform. Tom has led international strategy development within Innovate UK’s Agri-Food team, which includes global innovation missions to Canada and China. He was also previously Assistant Director at Biosciences KTN and Head of the Plant & Crop Sector. Tom has a PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics, which was followed by post-doctoral research positions at leading institutions in France, Denmark and the UK.

9.40-10.05am 

Presentation Title: 

Empowering Growers To Maximise Yield Sustainably (with Robots) 

Halvard Grimstad, Head of Deployment, Saga Robotics

Halvard grew up on a farm in Norway and holds a MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. After graduating, Halvard stayed with the university where he was involved with the early stages of field testing the Thorvald platform, an autonomous and modular robot for agriculture. At Saga Robotics, he was one of the key people to establish Saga Robotics Ltd where he first sat as COO, before moving back to Norway. At Saga Robotics, Halvard now holds the position of Head of Deployment; leading the commercial operations of the Thorvald robots in the UK, the US, Norway and Italy.

&

Oli Pascall, Managing Director, Clock House Farm

Oli joined Clock House Farm as a Production Farm Manager in 2013. He has since worked his way through the business to become Managing Director two years ago. During the past decade, Oli has played a key role within the firm’s commitment to helping the
general public to engage with sustainable food production, including by establishing their LEAF Open Farm Sunday events. Oli has a degree in Agricultural Business Management and, prior to joining Clock House Farm, worked for several large agricultural and horticultural businesses. Oli was named Young Producer of the Year at the 2016 M&S Farming for the Future Awards, while Clock House Farm has also won a number of industry and regional accolades.

10.05-10.15am 

Presentation Title: 

Why Robotic Harvesting has been 3-5 Years Away for the Last Decade

Duncan Robertson, Director, Dogtooth Technologies

After completing a PhD in computer vision at Cambridge University, Duncan established an engineering consultancy business with the goal of facilitating the commercialisation of cutting-edge machine learning and computer vision technology. He has worked closely with a variety of clients, such as Microsoft Research and Samsung, and has played a pivotal role in the success of high-growth technology start-ups, including Metail (where he was Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer) and TrialReach (CSO). Duncan has authored numerous patents and high-profile technical publications. He is also an active angel investor, and has invested in and advised several exciting technology businesses, including HowdyHub and FlyLogix.

10.15-10.35am 

Presentation Title: 

The Funding Opportunities & Grower Benefits Available Through Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme 

Chris Danks, TFP Innovation Lead, Innovate UK 

Chris joined the Transforming Food Production team at Innovate UK in 2020 as Innovation Lead. Since then, he has led the formation of a Series A Investor Partnership programme and two international bilateral interventions with Canada and China, as well as Innovate UK’s role in Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme. Previously, Chris worked in the AgriFood team at the KTN, which he joined in 2015; leading the AgriTech Investment Showcase. Chris also has a great deal of experience in designing diagnostic concepts for field assays relating to plant disease identification and eradication, an area in which he is recognised as an industry expert.

Sarah Evered, Head of Farming Innovation & Productivity Policy, Defra

​​Sarah heads up the productivity and innovation policy teams at Defra, where she has worked for more than three years. Sarah is responsible for helping to develop the Farming Investment Fund, but also some of the other productivity schemes, including the Future Farming Resilience Fund, the Farming Innovation Programme and the new entrants scheme.

10.35-10.45am

Presentation Title: 

How Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Can Support Producers

Simon Baty, Knowledge Transfer Manager, Innovate UK KTN

Simon is a proven manager and business developer, who benefits from 25 years of experience in food safety, production, change and commercial management, within both the public and private sectors. Simon has been working for the KTN, focusing on Agrifood, for almost nine years – having previously spent a year as a knowledge transfer manager in the Biosciences KTN. Before his innovation roles, Simon worked in business development; creating bespoke and new ways to ensure food safety. Earlier in his career, Simon managed a business unit in the animal feed sector.

10.45-11.00am 

General Q&A

11.00-11.30am

Coffee Break

ROBOTS & AUTOMATED PROCESSES

11.30-11.35am

Chair Introduction

Professor Simon Pearson, Director, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology (LIAT), University of Lincoln

 

11.35-11.50am

Sohabe Richyal, Robot & Automation Advisor, Gain & Co (HowToRobot’s sister company)

Sohabe is a seasoned automation professional who helps businesses from SMEs to Fortune 500 companies. His background spans multiple industries, including Robotics Research, Petrochemical, and Nuclear Energy. He has worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority; where he developed, tested, and commissioned control systems and robotics hardware for applications in harsh environments, such as nuclear reactors, deep sea, and outer space. Sohabe holds a Master’s degree in both Petrochemical and Robotics Engineering. Today, Sohabe is a Robot & Automation Advisor at Gain & Co, an independent advisor that helps companies to succeed with robots and automation. The company is 100 per cent market neutral with no ties to any suppliers. Its team of independent experts help manufacturers through each phase of the automation process to make sure that their business goals are met, and that the solutions are implemented smoothly and effectively.

Presentation Title 

Are Robots The New Seasonal Workers? How Automation Can Solve The Produce Industry’s Labour Challenges 

Presentation Synopsis

An increasing number of growers are exploring robots and automation in an effort to address labour shortages, especially the lack of seasonal workers. The technologies have advanced rapidly in recent years, and are now also able to take on a range of jobs such as: seeding, weeding, packing and much more. But how and where do you start? In this presentation from the online global automation hub HowToRobot.com, Sohabe Richyal, an independent advisor on robotics and automation, will provide a quick overview of the most promising automation opportunities in the fresh produce industry right now. He will share learnings from other farms and demonstrate how you can take the first steps to automate and find suitable solutions to your labour challenges.

 

11.55-12.10pm

TBC

12.15-12.30pm

Christopher Weis Thomasen, CEO, Seasony

Christopher Weis Thomasen is the CEO and co-founder of Seasony – the developer of an autonomous mobile robot that handles all the logistics in vertical farming, while increasing data collection. Seasony’s mobile robot allows for numerous applications through an ecosystem of technology partners; enabling advanced automation solutions within crop monitoring, harvesting, pruning, and pollinating, among others.

Presentation Title:

Using Robotics to Cut Costs and Prepare for a Data-Driven Future in Vertical Farming

Presentation Synopsis:

Christopher will cover the automation journey for vertical farms, plus take a look back at the historical development of automation in the warehouse industry. He will delve into the benefits of robotics, and how they not only can help to save costs but also to gather data to improve both traceability and production optimisation, as well as increase yields.

12.35-12.50pm

Jake Norman, Director, OAL

Jake is a Director at OAL, a Peterborough-based engineering business specialising in fresh produce automation. OAL has helped a number of leading fresh produce businesses to automate and digitalise their operations; from ensuring the right packaging and grower information is applied to raspberries to optimising the production of asparagus. In this session, Jake will share the three factors that are critical to automation success in fresh produce, plus a few examples of how to use new artificial intelligence technology developed with OAL’s partners Cognex and the University of Lincoln.

Presentation Title

Three Ingredients to Successful Fresh Produce Automation

Presentation Synopsis

During this presentation, Jake will share the three ingredients that are critical for automation success in the fresh produce industry. The learnings have been generated from successful automation projects undertaken at Berry Gardens, Wealmoor and a number of other fresh produce businesses. Plus, given the technical nature of the business, Jake will share a few applications of artificial intelligence (AI) that have been developed together with OAL’s partners; Cognex and the University of Lincoln.

12.50-1.00pm

General Q&A

1.00-2.30pm

Lunch

AFTERNOON topics

2.30-2.35pm

Chair introduction

Ms Claire Donovan BSc Ag

Director - 3i Technical Consulting

2.35-2.50pm

Dr Diogo de Souza Monteiro, Senior Lecturer in Agribusiness, Newcastle University

Dr Diogo is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Agribusiness Management at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES) at Newcastle University. Diogo teaches Business Economics, Marketing and Public Policy, as well as Agro-Food Economics. His research focuses on supply chain coordination to deliver quality attributes of food. An example of this research are Diogo's papers on the economics of traceability, and, more recently, his investigation of free riding in collective labels. Secondly, Diogo studies how information cues, such as labels or certification symbols, influence consumers’ food purchasing and waste choices from farm to fork. His work informs business marketing strategies as well as policy. Diogo employs survey and experimental methods in his empirical research. Currently Diogo is undertaking research into consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable diets; food waste mitigation in foodservice and households; and urban farming.

Presentation Title: 

Are Digital Technologies Aiding Consumers’ Choices?

Presentation Synopsis:

Consumers are increasingly using digital technologies to measure their behaviour and receive information about their food choices. During this talk, Dr Diogo will share the findings of recently published research into the tools that aid consumer choices of healthy meals, as well as the effects that expiry date smart labels have on consumers’ attitudes towards food waste.

2.55-3.10pm

James Hammond

Reefer Client Manager, Maersk UK & Ireland

James has worked at Maersk for 27 years across different departments. For almost the last 20 years, he has been working with temperature-controlled cargoes, specialising in the fresh sector. James is passionate about some of the projects in which Maersk is involved in conjunction with the fresh produce industry. These initiatives are truly exciting, and James believes they will be beneficial to our environment as a whole.

Presentation Title:

Integrating The World With Zero Emissions

Presentation Synopsis:

Consumer behaviour now, and even more so in the future, is focusing on decarbonisation and sustainability in all matters, especially food and drink. Transport plays a major role in the supply of all foods, making it important to develop a detailed plan that can deliver zero emissions as soon as possible. Maersk has set a target to become climate neutral by 2040, and the company has put in place the milestones to make changes during this decade. The effects of those changes will be multiplied over the next decade to deliver zero emissions in good time. Join this presentation to find out how Maersk will achieve this ambitious goal.

3.15-3.30pm

Emma Brown

Commercial Manager (Produce), FareShare

Prior to joining FareShare in 2019, Emma worked for almost five years in Research and Development for JDE, after studying Food Science & Nutrition at the University of Leeds. At FareShare, she has worked across various categories, including Ambient, Food Service, Wholesale and Frozen. Emma is currently a Commercial Manager for the produce industry, working in collaboration with organisations to ensure any surplus food is prevented from going to waste, and redistributed to charities.  

Presentation Title:

Working With FareShare To Redistribute Surplus Produce To Charities

Presentation Synopsis:

Join this presentation where Emma will explain how the produce industry can work with FareShare to reduce their food waste while helping people in need. FareShare works to fight food poverty by tackling food waste. The company takes edible surplus food from the food and drink industry and redistributes it to organisations that feed people who need it most; turning an environmental problem into a social solution.

3.35-4.00pm

General Q&A

POST-BREXIT BORDER REGIME

2.30-4.00pm

Chair Introduction

Nigel Jenney, CEO, Fresh Produce Consortium

Session Title:

Introduction To Newly Published Post-Brexit Border Regime – Target Operating Model

Session Synopsis:

The new border strategy for the UK will harness a new approach to border management and reduce the friction and cost for industry and, ultimately, consumers. FPC has played a leading role in influencing and guiding the UK Government to radically change its previously planned border solutions. In FPC’s view, the original plans were simply inadequate to meet the needs of our members and required substantial improvement.

This proposed session is subject to the release by the UK Government of the new Targeted Operating Model prior to FPC Future 2023.

Please note that this session may not occur and is dependent on support by UK Government officials. We will confirm as soon as possible.

RESEARCH & BIG DATA

2.30-2.35pm

Chair Introduction

Alex Marshall, Associate Director, MorePeople

2.35-2.50pm

Dr Carolina Camacho Villa, Senior Lecturer in Social and Managerial Technology, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology, the University of Lincoln

Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa is an interdisciplinary researcher who covers themes such as farming systems, agrobiodiversity, and technological change in agriculture. Her key areas of research interest include the social aspects of agri-food technologies; particularly the design, development and deployment of agricultural robotic technologies and their contribution to global agri-food challenges. She is the Senior Lecturer in Social and Managerial Technology at the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology based at the University of Lincoln. 

Martin de la Harpe, Sustainability Consultant 

Martin de la Harpe has 25 years of experience in developing standards for horticultural supply chains. After completing an MSc in Plant Biotechnology at Wye College in Kent, and a postgraduate diploma in Plant and Soil Analysis at Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, Martin worked in the tea and coffee industry in Malawi and Kenya. Since 1997 he has been working in the floriculture supply chain; developing  technical and ethical standards and human rights due diligence. Martin’s most recent role was Head of Sustainability for Flamingo Horticulture.

Martin Collison, Director, Collison & Associates and Agrifood Advisor to Greater Lincolnshire LEP

Martin has been an agrifood consultant since 2000, a lecturer in agrifood development since 1987, and he has owned businesses and been a partner or company director of four businesses in the food chain since 1990, including companies working in agrifood consultancy, agriculture, horticulture, imports and exports. Martin has been an agrifood advisor to the Greater Lincolnshire LEP since 2014. There, he is helping to lead the development of the UK Food Valley programme, which is focused on delivering industry-led investment, including expanding the fresh produce sector. Martin also lectures on food market trends and policy, has provided assistance for numerous UK and EU agrifood and agricultural strategies and programmes, and holds positions on various agrifood committees and boards.

Presentation Title: 

Foresighting Future Workforce Needs in the Agri-Food Sector: A Pilot Study into Packhouse Skills for Automation

Presentation Synopsis: 

Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa, Martin de la Harpe and Martin Collison will present the initial findings of a pilot study they have undertaken concerning the workforce and skill shortage in the fresh produce packhouse sector. In response to the current labour crisis challenge, the team at LIAT has been investigating the implications of automation for future workforce and skills. Their research consists of a proof-of-concept case study that applies the skills’ foresighting methodology developed by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of research, development and innovation centres transforming UK manufacturing. This session will reveal the significant gaps between the current apprenticeship provision and the future capabilities needs for fresh produce packhouse automation, and the recommendations to close the gaps for the job roles of technical operators, engineers, and advanced engineers.

 

2.55-3.10pm 

Erik Pekkeriet, Programme Manager Agro Food Robotics, University of Wageningen (The Netherlands)

Erik studied Mechanical Engineering before starting his career in maintenance management at Philips. Later he built and led a team of innovation managers at the association Greenhouse Netherlands. In 2001, Erik moved to Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to build great robots, vision sorting systems and new greenhouse production systems both for, and together with, farmers and machine manufacturers. Erik now leads the full Wageningen Robot Portfolio, and has broadened the scope to open field, livestock, fish, food and other Wageningen agri-food domains. In addition to his position at WUR, Erik is board member of the topic group Agriculture within EU Robotics, a Network Coordinator of the European AgROBOfood Digital Innovation Hub network, and a scientific board member at the European Machine Vision Association.

Presentation Title

When Will Robots Shake Hands With Growers?

Presentation Synopsis

A robot can pick fruit, carry out crop care and manage logistical operations. But the uptake of robotics has not yet broken through into the mainstream horticultural market. So, what is missing? And what is still needed to help unburden growers? In this presentation, Erik will provide an insight into state-of-the art robotics, as well as the functions and workflows that are still missing or lacking.

3.15-3.30pm

Dr. Bhavnita Patel

Sector Development Manager for Agri-Food, MTC

Bhavnita is the Sector Development Manager for Agri-Food at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). With a decade of experience bringing technology together to provide new insights for food manufacture, Bhavnita is eager to help the agriculture industry through the development of innovative technology, and improving the agri-food supply chain.

Presentation Title

Technology Development & Automation Adoption

Presentation Synopsis

In this presentation, Bhavnita will discuss the need for technology development for agriculture; specifically, making equipment fit-for-purpose to improve efficiency and to address the challenges faced by the industry. Bhavnita will address the adoption of automation, and some of the barriers, including navigating technology options and limited wireless connectivity in rural areas.

3.35-4.00pm

General Q&A

SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY

2.30-2.35pm

Chair Introduction

Drew Reynolds, Technical & Sustainability Director, Dole UK

2.35-2.50pm

Adrian Bird

Market Development Director Smurfit Kappa

Adrian is the Market Development Director at Smurfit Kappa. He joined the company’s UK & Ireland office 39 years ago after graduating from Birmingham University with a degree in Business. Adrian has a keen interest in replacing plastic and polystyrene as part of the Better Planet Packaging Initiative from Smurfit Kappa. Major successes have been made across many industries, and now fresh produce is a key area of focus. Adrian also has a great interest in automation through installing machines to reduce labour costs.

Click to view presentation:
Reducing Your Environmental Impact with Sustainable Paper-Based Punnets.

Presentation Synopsis:
Corrugated punnets have a bright and green future, and Smurfit Kappa is eager to design this future together with the produce industry. The team at Smurfit Kappa are committed to being an impactful business and supporting a greener, bluer planet. This means doing the right thing for people, communities and the environment by developing products and processes that make a real difference for its customers and the entire value chain. In this context, during this presentation Adrian will explore Smurfit Kappa’s unique sustainable portfolio of ‘Safe and Green’ paper-based punnets. Adrian will explain how the range will help businesses across the produce industry to reduce their environmental impact while achieving value-added sales revenue.

2.55-3.10pm

Dr Melissa Antoniou-Kourounioti, Network & Partnerships Manager, the Food Safety Research Network

Dr Melissa Antoniou-Kourounioti is the Network & Partnerships Manager for the Food Safety Research Network, hosted at the Quadram Institute. Her role is to support the network’s success by attracting new members, facilitating fruitful communication between members, and enabling impactful collaborations in the field of food safety. Melissa grew up in Crete, Greece, and moved to London to pursue her fascination in genetics and molecular biology at King’s College. After completing a Master’s degree in developmental biology at Nottingham, and a PhD on cell biology at Cambridge, she moved to Norwich to work as a PostDoc at UEA looking at cardiac development in chicken embryos. Melissa then moved to the Quadram Institute to pursue a career in science administration.

Presentation Title:

Impactful Areas for Collaborative Research into Food Safety

Presentation Synopsis:

The UK Food Safety Research Network connects food industry, food and health policymakers and academia to collaboratively pursue shared research priorities that will protect the UK from foodborne hazards. The network is hosted by Quadram Institute, is funded by BBSRC and the Food Standards Agency, and serves as an innovation hub to coordinate and fund cross-sectoral research and training activities that address current and emerging challenges. In this presentation, Melissa will summarise the priority areas impacting food safety that have been identified through stakeholder engagement, and those that have been developed to guide collaborative projects funded by the UK Food Safety Research Network.

3.15-3.50pm

Daniel Johns, Managing Director, Water Resources East

Daniel Johns is Managing Director at Water Resources East, the independent, not-for-profit membership organisation tasked by the government to create a regional water resources plan for all sectors and the environment in Eastern England. Previously, Daniel was a senior civil servant at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He also spent four years at the Climate Change Committee, leading its work on adaptation.

Kelly Hewson-Fisher, National Water Resources Specialist, NFU

Kelly Hewson-Fisher is the National Water Resources Specialist for the National Farmers Union (NFU). She joined the NFU after seven years as a Catchment Advisor at Anglian Water and 12 years as an Agricultural Business Consultant at ADAS, the UK’s largest independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy. Kelly was brought up on her family’s dairy farm in Lincolnshire, and she studied agriculture, marketing and business studies at Harper Adams University. Kelly wants to drive solutions through collaboration for water resource resilience.

Presentation Title:

Future Water Security Challenges and the Solutions for Agriculture

Presentation Synopsis:

Periods of prolonged dry weather and drought, as seen this year, can be expected more and more frequently in the changing climate. At the same time, existing water abstraction licences are being reviewed and many will be capped, if not withdrawn, in order to protect the environment. In this session Daniel and Kelly will set out what is known about the scale of the water security challenge for abstractors, and what the solutions might be for the agriculture sector.

3.50-4.00pm 

General Q&A

VERTICAL FARMING & GLASSHOUSE CEA: Futuristic Farming

morning topics

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS

9.30-9.35am 

Chair Introduction

Alan Forrester, COO, SoilPoint

9.35-9.50am

Don Kester
Business Development Director, Certhon

Don is the Business Development Director at Certhon. He enjoys life-long experience in the international horticulture business, and was the proud owner of a 70,000-square metre high-tech vegetable facility in the Netherlands. At Certhon, Don is responsible for commercial and strategic business development; building new partnerships and growing the company worldwide. Previously, Don has held several commercial and strategic leading roles within exporting companies involved in finance, horticultural supplies, and solutions for high-tech greenhouses. He has also worked at a climate hardware and software company where he was responsible for global business strategies. Don has a great passion and ambition to expand sustainable food and flower production all over the world, which is becoming increasingly accessible thanks to Certhon’s turnkey technological solutions.

Presentation Title:
Growing Cherry Tomatoes Indoor and Year Round Without Human Labour

Presentation Synopsis:
During this presentation, Don will reveal all about Gronos, one of the latest agri-tech innovations developed by Certhon. This autonomous indoor farming system tackles two big issues in horticulture: saving energy and labour. Don will explain how this fully automated growing system enables tomatoes and other crops to be grown optimally indoors from start to finish, without human hands touching the fruits. He will detail how the plants are modified to grow to the ideal shorter height, and become ready for harvest in just 15 weeks. Finally, Don will share his thoughts on why the Gronos system creates the perfect environment for tomatoes; leading to a higher and consistent yield year-round, without the need for pesticides.

9.55-10.10am

Nick Bateman, Executive Chairman, GrowPura

As the Executive Chairman of GrowPura, Nick is responsible for the strategic direction of the business to firmly establish the brand and its innovative technology as market leaders in the vertical farming hydroponics industry. Nick has his finger firmly on the pulse of both sustainable agriculture and social economic behaviour trends and demands. Plus he has the technical expertise and environmental knowledge to bring intuitive farming solutions that bridge that gap. Nick is perfectly positioned to steer GrowPura to become an industry leader thanks to his proven track record in the biotechnology and food industries, coupled with extensive financial experience from senior positions at the likes of ICI/Zeneca, Lloyds Bank, British Steel Corporation and, most recently, Marlow Foods Limited.

Presentation Title: 

How to Make Vertical Farming Sustainable

Presentation Synopsis:

The food we eat traditionally, plus the way it is produced and transported, accounts for a significant portion of every single person’s carbon footprint, land usage and water waste. Vertical farming offers a far greener, and, most importantly, a sustainable alternative to traditional farming methods. It enables crops to be grown outside of their natural habitat, eliminates long-distance shipping of foods and doesn’t require the use of environmentally harmful fertilisers. Vertical farming guarantees quality, consistency and yield. 

In his presentation, Nick will demonstrate how GrowPura’s unique, automated technology goes one step further than the vertical farming seen to date. Nick will highlight why it is the technology of the future, and how it requires less investment for a superior return; not just financially but in the quality of produce too. Nick will also describe how GrowPura’s technology requires far fewer resources and land to feed, water and grow crops; thereby presenting a greener choice at a more affordable price for both manufacturers and the end users across a host of sectors. This, as Nick will explain, will be the driver towards choosing the ethical option.  

10.15-10.30am

Nathanael Dannenberg, Horticulture Commercial Lead, Philips Lighting UK & Ireland 

Nathanael Dannenberg is the Horticultural Commercial Lead for Philips Lighting UK and Ireland. Nathanael joined Philips Lighting in 2013 and brings with him industry and professional experience from a range of sectors. Prior to his role within horticulture, Nathanael held the position of National Sales Manager within the Retail and Hospitality End User team, where he was responsible for the delivery of major store rollouts. These focused on energy saving and carbon reduction, including the adoption of 3D printing within Marks and Spencer; saving over 60 per cent in energy, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the replacement luminaire by over 50 per cent. Nathanael is passionate about sustainability and is a keen gardener and grower in his spare time.

Presentation Title: 

Sustainable Winter Production Using Artificial Lighting

Presentation Synopsis:

During the winter, natural light falls short of giving crops what they need to grow and flourish, whereas artificial LED lighting can extend the growing season in a sustainable, energy-efficient way. However, low-carbon food production is a must if the UK is to hit its sustainability targets; meaning reducing emissions from food production will be one of the biggest challenges. In this presentation, Nathanael will explain how LED lighting, along with ‘light recipes’, can enable growers to unlock the power of light in order to sustainably feed a growing population.

10.35-10.50am

Jack Farmer, Co-founder & Chief Scientific Officer, LettUs Grow

Jack is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at LettUs Grow, a world-leading aeroponic irrigation company. By profession, he is a plant biologist who specialises in controlled-environment agriculture and its use as a means to reduce agricultural pressures upon natural ecosystems. At heart, Jack is a passionate advocate for the use of social enterprise, policy and the circular economy to bring about a more sustainable future.

Presentation Title:

Aeroponic Irrigation: Scaling Efficiencies and Impact

Presentation Synopsis:

Jack will focus on how aeroponic irrigation can help growers to save resources, such as water, fertilisers, and media; as well as to enhance crop health and yields, whilst enabling the growth of totally new crops within the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industries.

10.50-11.00am

General Q&A

11.00-11.30am

Coffee Break

VISIONS FOR A GREENER FUTURE 

11.30-11.35am 

Chair Introduction

Nigel Jenney, CEO, Fresh Produce Consortium

11.35-11.50am

Dr Phoebe Sutton, Plant Scientist, Vertically Urban

Dr Phoebe Sutton leads the Plant Science research conducted at Vertically Urban, a manufacturer of horticultural lighting solutions for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). She began her work with vertical farming businesses in Bristol whilst completing her Masters in Science at the University of Bristol. She then completed a PhD at Lancaster University in the field of photobiology, with a focus on plant responses to LED lighting within CEA. Phoebe is thrilled to be able to apply her knowledge and contribute further to the science of horticultural lighting at Vertically Urban to light the farms of the future.

Presentation Title:

Combating Nutritional Deficiencies with Vertical Farming

Presentation Synopsis:

Poor diet is a significant risk factor for obesity and related chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. This increased disease burden has a knock-on cost to society and economic development; estimated at £27 billion today, and rising to £49.9 billion per year in 2050. Phoebe will discuss how to address this societal issue by harnessing the potential of LED lighting regimes that use photobiology, and, thereby, leverage the significant advantages of localised vertical farming to increase access to fresh, nutritionally-dense produce.

11.55-12.10pm

Professor Derek Stewart, Director of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre, The James Hutton Institute

Professor Derek Stewart is Director of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre (APGC), a £27 million Tay Cities Deal regional development project at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland. He was formerly the Chair of Plant and Food Chemistry at Heriot Watt University, a post he now holds as an honorary position. For over 30 years Derek has worked at the industry-academia interface, and has led multiple (inter)national multi-partner projects that, to date, total approximately £300 million. As director of the APGC, Prof Stewart oversees the novel research, development and innovation around crops grown ‘under cover’ as well as post-harvest storage facilities. Within this remit, green biotechnology features heavily. Allied to the APGC, Derek is also on the board of Bloom Biotechnology Ltd, a joint venture in crop biotechnology between James Hutton Ltd and Epigentica Ltd. Prof Derek currently runs several projects and publishes widely on crop utility, quality and bioactivity.

Presentation Title:

Routes to Sustainable Food Production: A Scottish Snapshot

Presentation Synopsis: 

Analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 31 per cent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions originate from the world’s agri-food systems. With an increasing population, predicted to rise from 7 billion in 2021 to 9.7 billion in 2050, there will be an increasing demand for fresh water (30%), energy (50%) and food (50%), and, coupled with this, a need for more productive land (120 million hectares). In the meantime, we are experiencing soil erosion, biodiversity loss and significant climate change, plus weather extremes. During this presentation, Professor Stewart will discuss how the intersection of vertical farming (VF) and managed energy systems may be a route to help deliver increased levels of fresh produce, as well as lift food security and self-sufficiency. Also, Professor Stewart will explain how the industry should be able to produce food with a significantly minimised emissions footprint by linking VF to renewable energy sources.

12.15-12.30pm

Phil Pearson, Group Development Director, APS Group

Phil is the Group Development Director for APS Group, the largest supplier of British tomatoes to the UK’s major supermarkets, and the operator of 70 hectares of glasshouses across six nurseries throughout the UK. Phil is the driving force for innovation at APS Group, which has led to the development of a number of new agritech approaches. Phil is driven to improve the sustainability of British tomato production. As a Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture and the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the British Tomato Growers’ Association, he has been involved with the implementation of many new technologies across the UK tomato industry. Phil is also a member of Defra’s Innovation and R&D Panel, and works with BEIS and other Government departments. In addition, Phil is on the NFU Horticulture and Potato Board, and works directly with BBSRC, EPSRC, and Innovate UK, to drive innovation and raise awareness of the protected horticulture sector.

Presentation Title

High-Technology Food Production: Moving Towards Net Zero

Presentation Topic

APS Produce is on a drive towards net zero food production. During this presentation, Phil will provide the audience with an understanding of the initiatives taken by APS Group, including: the use of third-party waste streams as feedstocks for protected horticulture; closed-loop production (using the cellulose in waste tomato leaves to produce compostable packaging), and re-using water and fertiliser to reduce input costs as well as the carbon impact of food production.

12.35-12.50pm

Dr Harry Langford, Innovation Network Lead, Crop Health and Protection (CHAP)

With a background in interdisciplinary environmental science, soil health and sustainable agriculture, Dr Harry Langford is CHAP’s Innovation Network Lead. His role is to develop and deliver collaborative R&D in the agri-tech sector, as well as to support future sector growth by leading CHAP’s New Innovations Programme. This is a collaborative business case development programme designed to tackle sector-wide challenges and market failures, as well as to deliver realistic and impactful solutions.

Presentation Title 

Innovation to Improve Sustainable Productivity in CEA Horticulture

Presentation Synopsis

Sustainable innovation has never been a hotter topic with growers facing the compound challenge of managing the recent rises in input costs, whilst concurrently forging a path towards Net Zero production in order to provide fresh produce into the UK and global food system. Dr Harry Langford will discuss how the latest technological solutions – across lighting, environmental control, fertigation and substrates – are improving the efficiency and sustainability of production. Plus he will explain what that might mean for the future of controlled environment agriculture (CEA).


12.50-1.00pm

General Q&A

1.00-2.30pm

Lunch

AFTERNOON topics

POST-BREXIT BORDER REGIME

2.30-4.00pm

Chair Introduction

Nigel Jenney, CEO, Fresh Produce Consortium

Session Title:

Introduction To Newly Published Post-Brexit Border Regime – Target Operating Model

Session Synopsis:

The new border strategy for the UK will harness a new approach to border management and reduce the friction and cost for industry and, ultimately, consumers. FPC has played a leading role in influencing and guiding the UK Government to radically change its previously planned border solutions. In FPC’s view, the original plans were simply inadequate to meet the needs of our members and required substantial improvement.

This proposed session is subject to the release by the UK Government of the new Targeted Operating Model prior to FPC Future 2023.

Please note that this session may not occur and is dependent on support by UK Government officials. We will confirm as soon as possible.

FPC FUTURE INSIGHTS: Plant Science, Nutrition, Labelling, Recycling, Finance & Digital Technology

morning topics

9.30-9.35am 

Chair Introduction

Jim Jefcoate, UK Director, Food Experts Solutions

9.35-9.50am 

Professor Carl-Otto Ottosen, Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

Professor Carl-Otto Ottosen’s research focus concerns the photosynthesis of plants subjected to changes in abiotic factors, including carbon dioxide and other environmental factors. He uses the physiological responses on intact plants to build up a knowledge base to understand how to control the climate in commercial greenhouses with the aim of conserving energy. His current research includes the effects of regular or irregular light patterns as well as the effects of spectral composition of plant reactions, both in terms of photosynthesis and secondary metabolites linked to circadian rhythms and carbohydrate metabolism. The toolbox to obtain the results utilises all types of measurements of photosynthesis and its related processes; both using invasive and non-invasive measurements. Professor Ottosen and his team have developed platforms for phenotyping in greenhouses and controlled environments, initially for heat stress, which has been applied to tomatoes and wheat crops. Future work will focus on repeated stresses, including cold stress on protein crops. The systems for phenotyping are small scale and focused.

Presentation Title:

How Light Spectra Affects Plant Responses in Commercial Greenhouses

Presentation Synopsis:

Plants perceive signals from their surrounding environment and regulate their growth and development accordingly. Plants are highly sensitive to the spectral distribution of light; perceiving changes in the light spectra and intensity through several photoreceptors. In his presentation, Professor Ottosen will examine the ways in which growers can manipulate the light spectra within a greenhouse or a closed growing system to regulate plant growth and quality.

9.55-10.10am

Dr Fabrizio Ticchiarelli, LeadBiologist, Gardin

Dr Fabrizio Ticchiarelli is Gardin’s Lead Biologist. He is responsible for plant science, grants, running trials with Gardin’s commercial and academic partners, and to lead a team of plant scientists in Gardin's own research centre. Prior to joining Gardin, Fabrizio worked at Synthace, a UK software company which helps pharmaceutical and ag-tech companies such as Syngenta, Astrazeneca and GSK to digitise and automate their R&D processes. Fabrizio’s career background is in ag-tech and plant science. He holds a PhD in Plant Science from the University of Cambridge, where he used imaging techniques and genetic tools to study the relationship between environmental conditions, phytohormones and plant growth.

PresentationTitle:

Monitoring photosynthesis: lessons learnt from adapting growth conditions to plant responses in near real-time

PresentationSynopsis:

Dr Ticchiarelli will showcase a remote sensing technology, developed by Gardin, which provides actionable insights to reduce variability in crop performance and increase productivity in the farm. Dr Ticchiarelli will discuss examples of how the technology has been used to tackle some of the most pressing challenges faced by the industry - the use of water and the use of supplemental lighting.

10.15-10.30am

Will Hill, Founder and Chief Evangelist, FruPro

Will has extensive experience in the fresh produce industry, having worked with every step of the supply chain. Will was the fifth generation to work for his family business WT Hills Western, a 130-year-old premium fruit wholesaler at Western International Market in London. Then, in 2019, Will conceived the idea of transforming the siloed fresh produce supply chain and digitally connecting the B2B industry. Using the success of the ‘WT Hills Imports’ venture, founded in 2016, and a family business with 130 years of fresh produce experience, Will brought to life FruPro, an online B2B fresh produce platform, together with co-founders Ollie Morley-Fletcher (COO) and Kov Murugaratnam (CTO).

Presentation Title:

Taking Fresh Produce Into The Future

Presentation Synopsis:

The fresh produce industry finds itself at a critical moment as its supply chain faces intense pressure to boost efficiency. This cannot happen, however, with the current analog way in which it functions. During this presentation, you will hear how the online platform FruPro can help to ensure that every business has ample opportunity to trade and expand their network, with easy solutions to donate produce that would otherwise be wasted. Will will explain how using FruPro’s online B2B platform is the next step towards a modern fresh produce industry that can meet rising demands and maintain steady profits.

10.35-10.50am

Stuart Catchpole, Inward Investment Manager, New Anglia LEP

From an initial start as a high school teacher, Stuart has built a varied career that has seen him work across many industry sectors under both public and private ownership. As a senior leader he has been responsible for the strategic development and successful delivery of operations within the Advanced Manufacturing, Bioscience, Construction and Education sectors. In his role as an Inward Investment Manager at the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), he utilises these experiences to promote Norfolk and Suffolk as an ideal destination for business on a global platform.

Dr Jonathan Clarke, Head of Business Development John Innes Centre

Jonathan is Head of Business Development and part of the Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation team at the John Innes Centre. He is responsible for interactions with Industry, Technology Transfer, Innovation and Enterprise. Between 2014 and 2016, Jonathan span out six companies in AgriTech, MedTech, Industrial Biotech, Food and Diagnostics. He is a non-executive Director of three companies and a Board member of AgriTech East and the Food Drink and Agriculture Board of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. Jonathan gained his BSc from the University of Leeds in 1985, and a PhD in Plant Genetics from the University of East Anglia (JIC) in 1993. He spent three years as a European Union Research Fellow at the Vlaams Institute for Biotechnology (Universität Gent, Belgium). Since 1996, Jonathan has worked at the John Innes Centre as a Project Manager on European Union research programmes into functional genomics, and as CSO of the JIC Genome Laboratory. He was appointed to his current role in 2009.

Presentation Title:

Plant Science for Nutrition – A High Potential Opportunity in Norfolk and Suffolk

Presentation Synopsis: 

The Plant Science for Nutrition programme from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) capitalises on the growing market for healthy and nutritious, plant-based foods. The proposition offers the opportunity for both businesses and investors to harness Norfolk and Suffolk’s globally-renowned plant science, nutrition and health research in order to supercharge the development of nutritious food products derived from plants; right the way from concept through to commercialisation. This talk from Stuart will provide insight into how businesses can engage with the Plant Science for Nutrition programme to exploit the region’s world-leading plant science, nutrition, and health research, and, thereby, capitalise on the growing market for healthy and nutritious plant-based foods.

10.50-11.00am

General Q&A

11.00-11.30am

Coffee Break

FINANCE & INVESTMENT

FPC in conjunction with UK Food Valley 

11.30-11.35am

Chair Introduction

Martin Collison, Director, Collison & Associates and Agrifood Advisor to Greater Lincolnshire LEP

Martin has been an agrifood consultant since 2000, a lecturer in agrifood development since 1987, and he has owned businesses and been a partner or company director of four businesses in the food chain since 1990, including companies working in agrifood consultancy, agriculture, horticulture, imports and exports. Martin has been an agrifood advisor to the Greater Lincolnshire LEP since 2014. There, he is helping to lead the development of the UK Food Valley programme, which is focused on delivering industry-led investment, including expanding the fresh produce sector. Martin also lectures on food market trends and policy, has provided assistance for numerous UK and EU agrifood and agricultural strategies and programmes, and holds positions on various agrifood committees and boards.

11.35-11.45am

Keynote Speaker

Allan Wilkinson, Head of Agrifoods, HSBC

Allan Wilkinson is a dairy farmer’s son from North Yorkshire. A graduate in Agriculture from Aberystwyth University, he commenced working for the Milk Marketing Board’s Farm Management Services in Leicestershire, before joining the Midland Bank’s Agriculture team in 1988. After working in various roles, Allan became HSBC’s Head of Agriculture in early 2010. He is currently Head of Agrifoods at HSBC UK; a role he has held for the past seven years and one which covers food chains and systems from farm to fork both in the UK and elsewhere. Additionally, Allan sits on a number of industry bodies, including: the Food and Drink Sector Council’s Exporter’s Forum, and its Agriculture Productivity Task Force, as well as the University of Exeter’s Impact Assessment of Covid on the UK food chain. Allan is a Trustee of the Prince’s Countryside Fund; Chair of the Technical Committee of the City Food and Drink Lecture; a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Farmers; and a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

Presentation Title:

Financing Continuing Operations and Ongoing Re-investment

Presentation Synopsis:

The fresh produce industry is a resource-intensive industry with substantial investment costs. This is true both for initial capital and its replacement, such as: buildings, infrastructure and machinery; as well as substantial operational costs, including: labour, energy, seeds/plants, fertiliser, water, packaging, transport and logistics, professional support and services. All of these costs have been rising, with 2022 alone seeing some of the largest cost rises on record. In his keynote presentation Allan will focus on the various ways in which fresh produce growers can continue to finance their current operations.

11.45-12.15pm

Panel Discussion

  • How fresh produce businesses can secure the increased capital they need to support rising input costs and capital investment needs.
  • The options for financing investment in capital infrastructure and machinery, and which options should be used for what purpose.
  • Tips for fresh produce businesses faced with rising costs, and the need to raise more finance to support continuing operations.
  • The grants or financial assistance available to help businesses invest.

Panelists:

Allan Wilkinson, Head of Agrifoods, HSBC 

Dr Iain Thomas, Head of Life Sciences, Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge 

Professor Simon Pearson

Director, LIAT, University of Lincoln  

Simon is responsible for founding and developing the Lincoln Institute of Agri Food Technology (LIAT), now recognised as ‘world leading’ within the 2021 BEIS Innovation Strategy, Creating the Future. LIAT has helped to pioneer the development of advanced robotic systems, machine learning, artificial intelligence and digital systems for UK agriculture. These systems are now entering the marketplace. During 2021, some 12 Saga Thorvald robot systems, which were co-developed with LIAT, achieved the milestone of 10,000km of on-farm autonomy. In 2021, Simon co-chaired the DEFRA Automation and Robotics Review with former Secretary of State George Eustice. Prior to LIAT, Simon was Director of a farming company producing cut flowers in Lincolnshire and Cornwall. He grew up in South Lincolnshire, where his family produced vegetable and cereal crops. Simon was awarded the 2022 RASE Science and Technology Award for his contribution to the sector.

Paul Smith 

Head of Operations, Greenborough Management & Greater Lincolnshire Growth Hub

Launched in 2015, the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub has been integral to supporting the achievement of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise’s Strategic Economic Plan. The plan sets out the ambition to create new jobs, support businesses, and increase the value of the economy in Greater Lincolnshire. Paul’s role as Head of Operations is to engage with businesses to understand exactly what they want to achieve, and how much funding is required. Based upon that, coupled with the current business circumstances, and funding opportunities, he supports and signposts businesses to the most appropriate funder or financial planner. With businesses looking for investment, Paul works with them to make certain that they have the skills and tools at their fingertips to deliver with confidence a winning pitch, and to ensure they are investment ready.

Rachel Galbraith 

Director, Head of Agriculture & Renewables, MAF Finance

Rachel Galbraith has worked in the finance industry for 26 years, previously working at Lloyds Banking Group, as well as two other banks, before joining MAF Finance Group in 2018. Over the last 16 years, she has worked extensively on numerous renewable energy projects, including the arrangement of finance for a variety of assets such as: anaerobic digestion plants, biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps. Rachel joined MAF as Director, Head of Agriculture & Renewables and manages a portfolio of agricultural and horticultural clients; guiding them through projects and assisting with decisions including: choosing potential suppliers and installers; mitigating risk against rising energy costs; and securing new income streams. Rachel works closely with a selected group of suppliers and consultants – often supporting them through the Ofgem accreditation process. She also works with a panel of over 100 funders that enables her to match the client, asset or project to the most appropriate funder.

Aiden Gregory

Agriculture & Renewables Relationship Manager, MAF Finance

Aiden is the Agriculture & Renewables Relationship Manager at MAF Finance Group. Aiden has a degree in economics and has worked in the finance industry ever since university; joining MAF Finance Group in 2021. He has helped to finance all kinds of renewable energy; ranging from solar panels, biomass boilers, and ground source heat pumps, to anaerobic digestion plants. In terms of the size of the projects, MAF can look at financing transactions from £25,000 all the way to £20 million. Aiden and MAF Finance Group work alongside specialist suppliers and consultants – often supporting them through the OFGEN accreditation process. MAF Finance Group has access to over 100 funding partners, which enables the firm to tailor the finance agreement to each client’s needs

​​12.15-12.25pm

Keynote Speaker

Dr Iain Thomas, Head of Life Sciences, Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge

Iain is Head of Cambridge Enterprise’s Life Sciences team at the University of Cambridge. He and his team support researchers in the commercialisation of technology across the whole life sciences spectrum; from therapeutics to agritech. The team have helped spin-out Mission Therapeutics, XO1 Therapeutics (sold to Janssen), Phoremost, Predictimmune, DIOSynVax, Storm Therapeutics, NoBACZ, Morphogenix, Apcintex and Z-Factor (the latter three now founding assets in Centessa (NASDAQ: CNTA). With colleagues at UCL and Imperial, Iain founded Apollo Therapeutics with £40m, and has gone on to raise £100m in 2021. Iain led discussions with GSK in respect of the University of Cambridge–GSK open innovation drug discovery initiative based at the SBC. Iain also led the founding of Ceres Agritech Partnership which from a standing start span out three companies (Fruitcast, Agaricus Robotics and Cellexcel) in 3 years. Iain has been an active trainer on PraxisAuril courses since 2004 and is currently the Chair of PraxisAuril. He started his scientific life with a PhD in Sydney, Australia, post docs in Oxford and Cambridge before completing an MBA at the Judge Business School in Cambridge.

Presentation Title:

Financing Innovative Technologies and New Developments in the Fresh Produce Industry

Presentation Synopsis:

The fresh produce industry needs to innovate and embrace changes, such as the move to decarbonise the economy, and must work to place sustainability at the heart of their operations. In his keynote presentation, Iain will explore how innovative practices can be developed and supported in the produce sector, and examine the role of finance in delivering this change for the future.

12.25-12.55pm

Panel Discussion

  • How to secure investment for the green transition, and whether new green finance programmes and green income streams can help the fresh produce sector.
  • How the sector should approach investing in new technology they have not used before, and where the impact on costs or production are unclear.
  • How the industry can work with the innovation funding system and research base to develop new ideas.
  • The opportunities and risks that come with new forms of finance, such as venture capital.

Panelists:

Dr Iain Thomas, Head of Life Sciences, Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge 

Allan Wilkinson, Head of Agrifoods, HSBC

Professor Simon Pearson, Director, LIAT, University of Lincoln

Paul Smith, Head of Operations, Greater Lincolnshire Growth Hub

Rachel Galbraith, Director, Head of Agriculture & Renewables, MAF Finance

Aiden Gregory, Agriculture & Renewables Relationship Manager, MAF Finance

12.55-1.00pm 

General Q&A

1.00-2.30pm

Lunch

AFTERNOON topics

2.30-2.35pm

Chair introduction

Ms Claire Donovan BSc Ag

Director - 3i Technical Consulting

2.35-2.50pm

Dr Diogo de Souza Monteiro, Senior Lecturer in Agribusiness, Newcastle University

Dr Diogo is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Agribusiness Management at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES) at Newcastle University. Diogo teaches Business Economics, Marketing and Public Policy, as well as Agro-Food Economics. His research focuses on supply chain coordination to deliver quality attributes of food. An example of this research are Diogo's papers on the economics of traceability, and, more recently, his investigation of free riding in collective labels. Secondly, Diogo studies how information cues, such as labels or certification symbols, influence consumers’ food purchasing and waste choices from farm to fork. His work informs business marketing strategies as well as policy. Diogo employs survey and experimental methods in his empirical research. Currently Diogo is undertaking research into consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable diets; food waste mitigation in foodservice and households; and urban farming.

Presentation Title: 

Are Digital Technologies Aiding Consumers’ Choices?

Presentation Synopsis:

Consumers are increasingly using digital technologies to measure their behaviour and receive information about their food choices. During this talk, Dr Diogo will share the findings of recently published research into the tools that aid consumer choices of healthy meals, as well as the effects that expiry date smart labels have on consumers’ attitudes towards food waste.

2.55-3.10pm

James Hammond

Reefer Client Manager, Maersk UK & Ireland

James has worked at Maersk for 27 years across different departments. For almost the last 20 years, he has been working with temperature-controlled cargoes, specialising in the fresh sector. James is passionate about some of the projects in which Maersk is involved in conjunction with the fresh produce industry. These initiatives are truly exciting, and James believes they will be beneficial to our environment as a whole.

Presentation Title:

Integrating The World With Zero Emissions

Presentation Synopsis:

Consumer behaviour now, and even more so in the future, is focusing on decarbonisation and sustainability in all matters, especially food and drink. Transport plays a major role in the supply of all foods, making it important to develop a detailed plan that can deliver zero emissions as soon as possible. Maersk has set a target to become climate neutral by 2040, and the company has put in place the milestones to make changes during this decade. The effects of those changes will be multiplied over the next decade to deliver zero emissions in good time. Join this presentation to find out how Maersk will achieve this ambitious goal.

3.15-3.30pm

Emma Brown

Commercial Manager (Produce), FareShare

Prior to joining FareShare in 2019, Emma worked for almost five years in Research and Development for JDE, after studying Food Science & Nutrition at the University of Leeds. At FareShare, she has worked across various categories, including Ambient, Food Service, Wholesale and Frozen. Emma is currently a Commercial Manager for the produce industry, working in collaboration with organisations to ensure any surplus food is prevented from going to waste, and redistributed to charities.  

Presentation Title:

Working With FareShare To Redistribute Surplus Produce To Charities

Presentation Synopsis:

Join this presentation where Emma will explain how the produce industry can work with FareShare to reduce their food waste while helping people in need. FareShare works to fight food poverty by tackling food waste. The company takes edible surplus food from the food and drink industry and redistributes it to organisations that feed people who need it most; turning an environmental problem into a social solution.

3.35-4.00pm

General Q&A

TIMETABLES

AREA 1

AREA 2

AREA 3

AREA 4

NOTE

The following timetables show an example of the talks and topics that will be taking place in each of our four speaker areas.

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Roll over each AREA section to reveal the timetable.

SILENT
HEADPHONE
PRESENTING

To give you full control over your day, you’ll be issued with a headset on arrival that will allow you to join whatever talks you like. This means you can switch between sessions, as well as listen in from anywhere within the exhibition hall, not just within the workshop areas. 

WHO'S SPEAKING?

Adrian Bird

Market Development Director, Smurfit Kappa

PRESENTATION TITLE

Reducing Your Environmental Impact with Sustainable Paper-Based Punnets

Adrian is the Market Development Director at Smurfit Kappa. He joined the company’s UK & Ireland office 39 years ago after graduating from Birmingham University with a degree in Business. Adrian has a keen interest in replacing plastic and polystyrene as part of the Better Planet Packaging Initiative from Smurfit Kappa. Major successes have been made across many industries, and now fresh produce is a key area of focus. Adrian also has a great interest in automation through installing machines to reduce labour costs.

READ MORE

Corrugated punnets have a bright and green future, and Smurfit Kappa is eager to design this future together with the produce industry. The team at Smurfit Kappa are committed to being an impactful business and supporting a greener, bluer planet. This means doing the right thing for people, communities and the environment by developing products and processes that make a real difference for its customers and the entire value chain. In this context, during this presentation Adrian will explore Smurfit Kappa’s unique sustainable portfolio of ‘Safe and Green’ paper-based punnets. Adrian will explain how the range will help businesses across the produce industry to reduce their environmental impact while achieving value-added sales revenue.

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Aiden Gregory

Agriculture & Renewables Relationship Manager, MAF Finance

PRESENTATION TITLE

Panelist, Finance & Investment Session - FPC in conjunction with UK Food Valley

Aiden is the Agriculture & Renewables Relationship Manager at MAF Finance Group. Aiden has a degree in economics and has worked in the finance industry ever since university; joining MAF Finance Group in 2021. He has helped to finance all kinds of renewable energy; ranging from solar panels, biomass boilers, and ground source heat pumps, to anaerobic digestion plants. In terms of the size of the projects, MAF can look at financing transactions from £25,000 all the way to £20 million. Aiden and MAF Finance Group work alongside specialist suppliers and consultants – often supporting them through the OFGEN accreditation process. MAF Finance Group has access to over 100 funding partners, which enables the firm to tailor the finance agreement to each client’s needs.

READ MORE

Panel Discussion 1 How fresh produce businesses can secure the increased capital they need to support rising input costs and capital investment needs. The options for financing investment in capital infrastructure and machinery, and which options should be used for what purpose. Tips for fresh produce businesses faced with rising costs, and the need to raise more finance to support continuing operations. The grants or financial assistance available to help businesses invest. Panel Discussion 2 How to secure investment for the green transition, and whether new green finance programmes and green income streams can help the fresh produce sector. How the sector should approach investing in new technology they have not used before, and where the impact on costs or production are unclear. How the industry can work with the innovation funding system and research base to develop new ideas. The opportunities and risks that come with new forms of finance, such as venture capital.

READ MORE

Alberto Campanaro

Head of Biology, Zayndu

PRESENTATION TITLE

Harnessing the Power of Lighting to Transition Towards Sustainable Agriculture

Alberto is Head of Plant Science at Zayndu. During his Ph.D. at Durham University he investigated molecular responses and interactions that underpin the plant growth-immunity balance in collaboration with agritech leaders, such as: KWS, ADAS, and BASF. At Zayndu, Alberto’s role is to lead the biology team to deliver customer research projects and seed evaluations, as well as to coordinate the development of the seed treatment protocols for Zayndu’s novel technology.

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Zayndu’s technology harnesses the power of nature to create significant improvements in plant health and yield without the need for additional water or harmful chemicals. Modern food production is having to find ways to combat the increasing environmental, economic and legislative challenges facing the industry. During this session, Alberto will examine how technology, such as Zayndu’s seed treatment machine, is widely recognised as the key to unlocking the true potential of indoor growing in order to deliver ongoing regional food security, to reduce the reliance on imported produce, and to deliver cost-effective, quality ingredients to consumers.

READ MORE

Allan Wilkinson

Head of Agrifoods, HSBC

PRESENTATION TITLE

Financing Continuing Operations and Ongoing Re-investment

Allan Wilkinson is a dairy farmer’s son from North Yorkshire. A graduate in Agriculture from Aberystwyth University, he commenced working for the Milk Marketing Board’s Farm Management Services in Leicestershire, before joining the Midland Bank’s Agriculture team in 1988. After working in various roles, Allan became HSBC’s Head of Agriculture in early 2010. He is currently Head of Agrifoods at HSBC UK; a role he has held for the past seven years and one which covers food chains and systems from farm to fork both in the UK and elsewhere. Additionally, Allan sits on a number of industry bodies, including: the Food and Drink Sector Council’s Exporter’s Forum, and its Agriculture Productivity Task Force, as well as the University of Exeter’s Impact Assessment of Covid on the UK food chain. Allan is a Trustee of the Prince’s Countryside Fund; Chair of the Technical Committee of the City Food and Drink Lecture; a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Farmers; and a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

READ MORE

The fresh produce industry is a resource-intensive industry with substantial investment costs. This is true both for initial capital and its replacement, such as: buildings, infrastructure and machinery; as well as substantial operational costs, including: labour, energy, seeds/plants, fertiliser, water, packaging, transport and logistics, professional support and services. All of these costs have been rising, with 2022 alone seeing some of the largest cost rises on record. In his keynote presentation Allan will focus on the various ways in which fresh produce growers can continue to finance their current operations.

READ MORE

Antony Yousefian

Partner, The First Thirty Ventures

PRESENTATION TITLE

Real-time Sourcing & Decarbonisation of Food Supply Chains

Antony is a partner at The First Thirty (TFT) Ventures. He is passionate about and focused on developing tech-enabled solutions that regenerate natural capital, specifically soil. Antony has been building ag-tech companies for the past seven years. Having begun his career in finance, initially with a focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and impact investment, Antony later crossed over into food security; working closely with early-stage start-ups in this space. Today Antony’s focus is on early-stage venture investing with The First Thirty (TFT) Ventures.

READ MORE

What if it was possible to see in real-time the carbon emissions accumulating in your supply chain? Imagine reading an accurate carbon footprint for each individual milk carton or every bunch of bananas at all stages of their supply? During this session, Antony Yousefian, a partner at The First Thirty Ventures, will introduce two exciting technologies that are making this idea a reality. See how Wiliot Pixel technology (referred to as ‘printed computers’ that cost almost nothing) are being deployed by a US retailer to enable the company to see each and every product moving around real time. This – combined with on-farm emission removal solutions like ruumi (who are accelerating adoption of regenerative grazing) – means the decarbonisation of the food supply chain can finally move at pace.

READ MORE

Catherine Russell

Sustainability Manager, Angus Soft Fruits

PRESENTATION TITLE

Implementing a Sustainability Plan Across the Supplier Base

Catherine is the Sustainability Manager at Angus Soft Fruits where she has worked for over two years. Her key areas of focus are: reducing carbon emissions, managing food waste, responsible packaging, human rights due diligence, and creating a positive impact on biodiversity. Before starting at Angus Soft Fruits, Catherine undertook the MDS Graduate Scheme and completed four six-month placements at different companies within the fresh produce industry. Catherine holds a PhD in Food Science from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

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Angus Soft Fruits and Angus Growers have been working with SAC Consulting and the Agrecalc carbon calculator tool since 2013 to understand their carbon emissions per unit of production on farms. The group is using the data to create a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction roadmap, which includes: renewable energy, efficient fertiliser use, water management, efficient chilling, accurate forecasting, and exploring new technologies, like electric and hydrogen vehicles. During this presentation, Catherine will share the successes of this sustainability plan, including how the group’s UK-based growers have already reduced their carbon emissions by using more resilient varieties to increase output; as well as the efforts to invest in renewable energy; and use automated irrigation equipment, which uses only the volume of water and fertiliser which are necessary.

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Chris Danks

TFP Innovation Lead, Innovate UK

PRESENTATION TITLE

The Funding Opportunities & Grower Benefits Available Through Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme

Chris joined the Transforming Food Production team at Innovate UK in 2020 as Innovation Lead. Since then, he has led the formation of a Series A Investor Partnership programme and two international bilateral interventions with Canada and China, as well as Innovate UK’s role in Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme. Previously, Chris worked in the AgriFood team at the KTN, which he joined in 2015; leading the AgriTech Investment Showcase. Chris also has a great deal of experience in designing diagnostic concepts for field assays relating to plant disease identification and eradication, an area in which he is recognised as an industry expert.

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Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

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Christopher Weis Thomasen

CEO, Seasony

PRESENTATION TITLE

Using Robotics to Cut Costs and Prepare for a Data-Driven Future in Vertical Farming

Christopher Weis Thomasen is the CEO and co-founder of Seasony – the developer of an autonomous mobile robot that handles all the logistics in vertical farming, while increasing data collection. Seasony’s mobile robot allows for numerous applications through an ecosystem of technology partners; enabling advanced automation solutions within crop monitoring, harvesting, pruning, and pollinating, among others.

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Christopher will cover the automation journey for vertical farms, plus take a look back at the historical development of automation in the warehouse industry. He will delve into the benefits of robotics, and how they not only can help to save costs but also to gather data to improve both traceability and production optimisation, as well as increase yields.

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Daniel Johns

Managing Director, Water Resources East

PRESENTATION TITLE

Future Water Security Challenges and the Solutions for Agriculture

Daniel Johns is Managing Director at Water Resources East, the independent, not-for-profit membership organisation tasked by the government to create a regional water resources plan for all sectors and the environment in Eastern England. Previously, Daniel was a senior civil servant at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He also spent four years at the Climate Change Committee, leading its work on adaptation.

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Periods of prolonged dry weather and drought, as seen this year, can be expected more and more frequently in the changing climate. At the same time, existing water abstraction licences are being reviewed and many will be capped, if not withdrawn, in order to protect the environment. In this session Daniel and Kelly will set out what is known about the scale of the water security challenge for abstractors, and what the solutions might be for the agriculture sector.

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Don Kester

Business Development Director, Certhon

PRESENTATION TITLE

Growing Cherry Tomatoes Indoor and Year Round Without Human Labour

Don is the Business Development Director at Certhon. He enjoys life-long experience in the international horticulture business, and was the proud owner of a 70,000-square metre high-tech vegetable facility in the Netherlands. At Certhon, Don is responsible for commercial and strategic business development; building new partnerships and growing the company worldwide. Previously, Don has held several commercial and strategic leading roles within exporting companies involved in finance, horticultural supplies, and solutions for high-tech greenhouses. He has also worked at a climate hardware and software company where he was responsible for global business strategies. Don has a great passion and ambition to expand sustainable food and flower production all over the world, which is becoming increasingly accessible thanks to Certhon’s turnkey technological solutions.

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During this presentation, Don will reveal all about Gronos, one of the latest agri-tech innovations developed by Certhon. This autonomous indoor farming system tackles two big issues in horticulture: saving energy and labour. Don will explain how this fully automated growing system enables tomatoes and other crops to be grown optimally indoors from start to finish, without human hands touching the fruits. He will detail how the plants are modified to grow to the ideal shorter height, and become ready for harvest in just 15 weeks. Finally, Don will share his thoughts on why the Gronos system creates the perfect environment for tomatoes; leading to a higher and consistent yield year-round, without the need for pesticides.

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Dr Atif Syed

CEO & Founder, Wootzano

PRESENTATION TITLE

The Necessary Adoption of Automation To Sustain a Growing Nation

Dr Atif Syed is the CEO and founder of Wootzano, a British robotics company. He has a PhD in Engineering and Electronics/Bionano technology from the University of Edinburgh, as well as extensive experience in Electronics, Nanotechnology, Robotics, and AI. Atif became an Enterprise Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2019, and received the Royal Silver Medal for Engineering in 2022.

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The global population has surpassed 8 billion people, with another 2 billion expected to be added in the next 30 years. Without autonomous intervention, an increase in manual labour alone would not be enough to meet the rapidly growing demands of the post- harvest industry. Until now, that is. In this presentation, Dr Atif will introduce Avarai, a cutting-edge robotic system from Wootzano that is capable of handling, trimming, estimating weight, evaluating quality, and packing delicate fruit.

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Dr Beenish Siddique

CEO & Founder, AEH Innovative Hydrogel

PRESENTATION TITLE

Gelponics – A Growing Medium for Indoor Farming

Dr Beenish Siddique is the founder and CEO of AEH Innovative Hydrogel. Beenish is a young and enthusiastic entrepreneur with high ambitions. She holds a BSc in Chemistry from Aston University and a PhD in Materials from the University of Manchester. She worked as R&D Chemist for Hydrogel Healthcare during 2012. She has won 10 prestigious awards for her innovative work, including the Venture Further award and the Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise award. In 2020, Beenish secured over £1m of UK Government funding from Innovate UK to develop the GelPonic technology and system.

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Gelponics sheets and cubes are the ideal growing medium for producing leafy greens indoors. In this presentation Dr Beenish will explain the role of gelponics, made from sustainable low-carbon products and without the use of environmentally-harmful synthetic polymers, in the future of the horticulture industry and vertical farming. Specifically, Beenish will detail how gelponics can significantly reduce production costs, carbon emissions and water consumption, whilst improving product quality

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Dr Bhavnita Patel‍

Sector Development Manager for Agri-Food, MTC ‍

PRESENTATION TITLE

Technology Development & Automation Adoption

Bhavnita is the Sector Development Manager for Agri-Food at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). With a decade of experience bringing technology together to provide new insights for food manufacture, Bhavnita is eager to help the agriculture industry through the development of innovative technology, and improving the agri-food supply chain.

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In this presentation, Bhavnita will discuss the need for technology development for agriculture; specifically, making equipment fit-for-purpose to improve efficiency and to address the challenges faced by the industry. Bhavnita will address the adoption of automation, and some of the barriers, including navigating technology options and limited wireless connectivity in rural areas.

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Dr Carolina Camacho Villa

Senior Lecturer in Social and Managerial Technology, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology, the University of Lincoln

PRESENTATION TITLE

Foresighting Future Workforce Needs in the Agri-Food Sector: A Pilot Study into Packhouse Skills for Automation

Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa is an interdisciplinary researcher who covers themes such as farming systems, agrobiodiversity, and technological change in agriculture. Her key areas of research interest include the social aspects of agri-food technologies; particularly the design, development and deployment of agricultural robotic technologies and their contribution to global agri-food challenges. She is the Senior Lecturer in Social and Managerial Technology at the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology based at the University of Lincoln.

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Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa, Martin de la Harpe and Martin Collison will present the initial findings of a pilot study they have undertaken concerning the workforce and skill shortage in the fresh produce packhouse sector. In response to the current labour crisis challenge, the team at LIAT has been investigating the implications of automation for future workforce and skills. Their research consists of a proof-of-concept case study that applies the skills’ foresighting methodology developed by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of research, development and innovation centres transforming UK manufacturing. This session will reveal the significant gaps between the current apprenticeship provision and the future capabilities needs for fresh produce packhouse automation, and the recommendations to close the gaps for the job roles of technical operators, engineers, and advanced engineers.

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Dr Diogo de Souza Monteiro

Senior Lecturer in Agribusiness, Newcastle University

PRESENTATION TITLE

Are Digital Technologies Aiding Consumers’ Choices?

Dr Diogo is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Agribusiness Management at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES) at Newcastle University. Diogo teaches Business Economics, Marketing and Public Policy, as well as Agro-Food Economics. His research focuses on supply chain coordination to deliver quality attributes of food. An example of this research are Diogo's papers on the economics of traceability, and, more recently, his investigation of free riding in collective labels. Secondly, Diogo studies how information cues, such as labels or certification symbols, influence consumers’ food purchasing and waste choices from farm to fork. His work informs business marketing strategies as well as policy. Diogo employs survey and experimental methods in his empirical research. Currently Diogo is undertaking research into consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable diets; food waste mitigation in foodservice and households; and urban farming.

READ MORE

Consumers are increasingly using digital technologies to measure their behaviour and receive information about their food choices. During this talk, Dr Diogo will share the findings of recently published research into the tools that aid consumer choices of healthy meals, as well as the effects that expiry date smart labels have on consumers’ attitudes towards food waste.

READ MORE

Dr Fabrizio Ticchiarelli

Lead Biologist, Gardin

PRESENTATION TITLE

Nutritional Phenotyping for the Entire Food Supply Chain

Dr Fabrizio Ticchiarelli is Gardin’s Lead Biologist. He is responsible for plant science, grants, running trials with Gardin’s commercial and academic partners, and helping his team to remain focused on growers and what matters to them. Prior to joining Gardin, Fabrizio worked at Synthace, a UK software company which helps pharmaceutical and ag-tech companies to digitise and automate their R&D processes. At Synthace, Fabrizio was responsible for delivering digitisation and automation campaigns for clients such as: Syngenta, Genentech, GSK and Astrazeneca. Fabrizio’s career background is in ag-tech and plant science. He holds joint BSc. And MSc. degrees in Plant Biotechnology from the University of Pisa and the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa in Italy. Additionally, he has a PhD in Plant Science from the University of Cambridge the UK, where he used imaging techniques and genetic tools to study the relationship between environmental conditions, phytohormones and plant growth.

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Dr Ticchiarelli will discuss how the industry currently measures food quality versus how it should be measured. Next, he will showcase a remote sensing technology, developed by Gardin, which provides easy-to-understand, actionable insights to assist with your growing needs and fine-tuned recipes. Finally, Dr Ticchiarelli will explain how Gardin enables food producers to grow the most nutritious crops, sustainably and affordably.

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Dr Iain Thomas

Head of Life Sciences, Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge

PRESENTATION TITLE

Financing Innovative Technologies and New Developments in the Fresh Produce Industry

Iain is Head of Cambridge Enterprise’s Life Sciences team at the University of Cambridge. He and his team support researchers in the commercialisation of technology across the whole life sciences spectrum; from therapeutics to agritech. The team have helped spin-out Mission Therapeutics, XO1 Therapeutics (sold to Janssen), Phoremost, Predictimmune, DIOSynVax, Storm Therapeutics, NoBACZ, Morphogenix, Apcintex and Z-Factor (the latter three now founding assets in Centessa (NASDAQ: CNTA). With colleagues at UCL and Imperial, Iain founded Apollo Therapeutics with £40m, and has gone on to raise £100m in 2021. Iain led discussions with GSK in respect of the University of Cambridge–GSK open innovation drug discovery initiative based at the SBC. Iain also led the founding of Ceres Agritech Partnership which from a standing start span out three companies (Fruitcast, Agaricus Robotics and Cellexcel) in 3 years. Iain has been an active trainer on PraxisAuril courses since 2004 and is currently the Chair of PraxisAuril. He started his scientific life with a PhD in Sydney, Australia, post docs in Oxford and Cambridge before completing an MBA at the Judge Business School in Cambridge.

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The fresh produce industry needs to innovate and embrace changes, such as the move to decarbonise the economy, and must work to place sustainability at the heart of their operations. In his keynote presentation, Iain will explore how innovative practices can be developed and supported in the produce sector, and examine the role of finance in delivering this change for the future.

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Dr Jonathan Clarke

Head of Business Development, John Innes Centre

PRESENTATION TITLE

Plant Science for Nutrition – A High Potential Opportunity in Norfolk and Suffolk

Jonathan is Head of Business Development and part of the Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation team at the John Innes Centre. He is responsible for interactions with Industry, Technology Transfer, Innovation and Enterprise. Between 2014 and 2016, Jonathan span out six companies in AgriTech, MedTech, Industrial Biotech, Food and Diagnostics. He is a non-executive Director of three companies and a Board member of AgriTech East and the Food Drink and Agriculture Board of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. Jonathan gained his BSc from the University of Leeds in 1985, and a PhD in Plant Genetics from the University of East Anglia (JIC) in 1993. He spent three years as a European Union Research Fellow at the Vlaams Institute for Biotechnology (Universität Gent, Belgium). Since 1996, Jonathan has worked at the John Innes Centre as a Project Manager on European Union research programmes into functional genomics, and as CSO of the JIC Genome Laboratory. He was appointed to his current role in 2009.

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The Plant Science for Nutrition programme from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) capitalises on the growing market for healthy and nutritious, plant-based foods. The proposition offers the opportunity for both businesses and investors to harness Norfolk and Suffolk’s globally-renowned plant science, nutrition and health research in order to supercharge the development of nutritious food products derived from plants; right the way from concept through to commercialisation. This talk from Stuart will provide insight into how businesses can engage with the Plant Science for Nutrition programme to exploit the region’s world-leading plant science, nutrition, and health research, and, thereby, capitalise on the growing market for healthy and nutritious plant-based foods.

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Dr Melissa Antoniou-Kourounioti

Network & Partnerships Manager, the Food Safety Research Network

PRESENTATION TITLE

Impactful Areas for Collaborative Research into Food Safety

Dr Melissa Antoniou-Kourounioti is the Network & Partnerships Manager for the Food Safety Research Network, hosted at the Quadram Institute. Her role is to support the network’s success by attracting new members, facilitating fruitful communication between members, and enabling impactful collaborations in the field of food safety. Melissa grew up in Crete, Greece, and moved to London to pursue her fascination in genetics and molecular biology at King’s College. After completing a Master’s degree in developmental biology at Nottingham, and a PhD on cell biology at Cambridge, she moved to Norwich to work as a PostDoc at UEA looking at cardiac development in chicken embryos. Melissa then moved to the Quadram Institute to pursue a career in science administration.

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The UK Food Safety Research Network connects food industry, food and health policymakers and academia to collaboratively pursue shared research priorities that will protect the UK from foodborne hazards. The network is hosted by Quadram Institute, is funded by BBSRC and the Food Standards Agency, and serves as an innovation hub to coordinate and fund cross-sectoral research and training activities that address current and emerging challenges. In this presentation, Melissa will summarise the priority areas impacting food safety that have been identified through stakeholder engagement, and those that have been developed to guide collaborative projects funded by the UK Food Safety Research Network.

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Dr Phoebe Sutton

Plant Scientist, Vertically Urban

PRESENTATION TITLE

Combating Nutritional Deficiencies with Vertical Farming

Dr Phoebe Sutton leads the Plant Science research conducted at Vertically Urban, a manufacturer of horticultural lighting solutions for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). She began her work with vertical farming businesses in Bristol whilst completing her Masters in Science at the University of Bristol. She then completed a PhD at Lancaster University in the field of photobiology, with a focus on plant responses to LED lighting within CEA. Phoebe is thrilled to be able to apply her knowledge and contribute further to the science of horticultural lighting at Vertically Urban to light the farms of the future.

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Poor diet is a significant risk factor for obesity and related chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. This increased disease burden has a knock-on cost to society and economic development; estimated at £27 billion today, and rising to £49.9 billion per year in 2050. Phoebe will discuss how to address this societal issue by harnessing the potential of LED lighting regimes that use photobiology, and, thereby, leverage the significant advantages of localised vertical farming to increase access to fresh, nutritionally-dense produce.

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Dr Tom Jenkins

Deputy Challenge Director, Innovate UK

PRESENTATION TITLE

Transforming Food Production (TFP) Programme: Catalysing the Transition to Net-Zero Food Production

Tom is Deputy Challenge Director for the £90m Transforming Food Production programme. He joined Innovate UK in 2013, and led the delivery of the £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst, having also delivered competitions under the £90m Sustainable Agri-Food Innovation Platform. Tom has led international strategy development within Innovate UK’s Agri-Food team, which includes global innovation missions to Canada and China. He was also previously Assistant Director at Biosciences KTN and Head of the Plant & Crop Sector. Tom has a PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics, which was followed by post-doctoral research positions at leading institutions in France, Denmark and the UK.

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Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

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Duncan Robertson

Director, Dogtooth Technologies

PRESENTATION TITLE

Why Robotic Harvesting has been 3-5 Years Away for the Last Decade

After completing a PhD in computer vision at Cambridge University, Duncan established an engineering consultancy business with the goal of facilitating the commercialisation of cutting-edge machine learning and computer vision technology. He has worked closely with a variety of clients, such as Microsoft Research and Samsung, and has played a pivotal role in the success of high-growth technology start-ups, including Metail (where he was Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer) and TrialReach (CSO). Duncan has authored numerous patents and high-profile technical publications. He is also an active angel investor, and has invested in and advised several exciting technology businesses, including HowdyHub and FlyLogix.

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Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

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Emma Brown

Commercial Manager (Produce), FareShare 

PRESENTATION TITLE

Working With FareShare To Redistribute Surplus Produce To Charities

Prior to joining FareShare in 2019, Emma worked for almost five years in Research and Development for JDE, after studying Food Science & Nutrition at the University of Leeds. At FareShare, she has worked across various categories, including Ambient, Food Service, Wholesale and Frozen. Emma is currently a Commercial Manager for the produce industry, working in collaboration with organisations to ensure any surplus food is prevented from going to waste, and redistributed to charities.

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Join this presentation where Emma will explain how the produce industry can work with FareShare to reduce their food waste while helping people in need. FareShare works to fight food poverty by tackling food waste. The company takes edible surplus food from the food and drink industry and redistributes it to organisations that feed people who need it most; turning an environmental problem into a social solution.

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Erik Pekkeriet

Programme Manager Agro Food Robotics, University of Wageningen

PRESENTATION TITLE

When Will Robots Shake Hands With Growers?

Erik studied Mechanical Engineering before starting his career in maintenance management at Philips. Later he built and led a team of innovation managers at the association Greenhouse Netherlands. In 2001, Erik moved to Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to build great robots, vision sorting systems and new greenhouse production systems both for, and together with, farmers and machine manufacturers. Erik now leads the full Wageningen Robot Portfolio, and has broadened the scope to open field, livestock, fish, food and other Wageningen agri-food domains. In addition to his position at WUR, Erik is board member of the topic group Agriculture within EU Robotics, a Network Coordinator of the European AgROBOfood Digital Innovation Hub network, and a scientific board member at the European Machine Vision Association.

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A robot can pick fruit, carry out crop care and manage logistical operations. But the uptake of robotics has not yet broken through into the mainstream horticultural market. So, what is missing? And what is still needed to help unburden growers? In this presentation, Erik will provide an insight into state-of-the art robotics, as well as the functions and workflows that are still missing or lacking.

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Halvard Grimstad

Head of Deployment, Saga Robotics

PRESENTATION TITLE

Empowering Growers To Maximise Yield Sustainably (with Robots)

Halvard grew up on a farm in Norway and holds a MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. After graduating, Halvard stayed with the university where he was involved with the early stages of field testing the Thorvald platform, an autonomous and modular robot for agriculture. At Saga Robotics, he was one of the key people to establish Saga Robotics Ltd where he first sat as COO, before moving back to Norway. At Saga Robotics, Halvard now holds the position of Head of Deployment; leading the commercial operations of the Thorvald robots in the UK, the US, Norway and Italy.

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Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

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Harry Langford

Innovation Network Lead, Crop Health and Protection (CHAP)

PRESENTATION TITLE

Innovation to Improve Sustainable Productivity in CEA Horticulture

With a background in interdisciplinary environmental science, soil health and sustainable agriculture, Dr Harry Langford is CHAP’s Innovation Network Lead. His role is to develop and deliver collaborative R&D in the agri-tech sector, as well as to support future sector growth by leading CHAP’s New Innovations Programme. This is a collaborative business case development programme designed to tackle sector-wide challenges and market failures, as well as to deliver realistic and impactful solutions.

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Sustainable innovation has never been a hotter topic with growers facing the compound challenge of managing the recent rises in input costs, whilst concurrently forging a path towards Net Zero production in order to provide fresh produce into the UK and global food system. Dr Harry Langford will discuss how the latest technological solutions – across lighting, environmental control, fertigation and substrates – are improving the efficiency and sustainability of production. Plus he will explain what that might mean for the future of controlled environment agriculture (CEA).

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Jack Farmer

Co-founder & Chief Scientific Officer, LettUs Grow

PRESENTATION TITLE

Aeroponic Irrigation: Scaling Efficiencies and Impact

Jack is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at LettUs Grow, a world-leading aeroponic irrigation company. By profession, he is a plant biologist who specialises in controlled-environment agriculture and its use as a means to reduce agricultural pressures upon natural ecosystems. At heart, Jack is a passionate advocate for the use of social enterprise, policy and the circular economy to bring about a more sustainable future.

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Jack will focus on how aeroponic irrigation can help growers to save resources, such as water, fertilisers, and media; as well as to enhance crop health and yields, whilst enabling the growth of totally new crops within the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industries.

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Jake Norman

Director, OAL

PRESENTATION TITLE

Three Ingredients to Successful Fresh Produce Automation

Jake is a Director at OAL, a Peterborough-based engineering business specialising in fresh produce automation. Jake has a degree in Economics from the University of Bristol. He has helped to introduce automation into a wide range of European and US food manufacturers. Jake has worked across a number of £million Innovate UK projects focused on improving the sustainability and efficiency of the food industry. OAL has supported a number of leading fresh produce businesses with the automation and digitalisation of their operations; from ensuring the right packaging and grower information is applied to raspberries, to optimising the production of asparagus.

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During this presentation, Jake will share the three ingredients that are critical for automation success in the fresh produce industry. The learnings have been generated from successful automation projects undertaken at Berry Gardens, Wealmoor and a number of other fresh produce businesses. Plus, given the technical nature of the business, Jake will share a few applications of artificial intelligence (AI) that have been developed together with OAL’s partners; Cognex and the University of Lincoln.

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James Hammond

Reefer Client Manager, Maersk UK & Ireland

PRESENTATION TITLE

Integrating The World With Zero Emissions

James has worked at Maersk for 27 years across different departments. For almost the last 20 years, he has been working with temperature-controlled cargoes, specialising in the fresh sector. James is passionate about some of the projects in which Maersk is involved in conjunction with the fresh produce industry. These initiatives are truly exciting, and James believes they will be beneficial to our environment as a whole.

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Consumer behaviour now, and even more so in the future, is focusing on decarbonisation and sustainability in all matters, especially food and drink. Transport plays a major role in the supply of all foods, making it important to develop a detailed plan that can deliver zero emissions as soon as possible. Maersk has set a target to become climate neutral by 2040, and the company has put in place the milestones to make changes during this decade. The effects of those changes will be multiplied over the next decade to deliver zero emissions in good time. Join this presentation to find out how Maersk will achieve this ambitious goal.

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Jon Swain

Technical Director, NFU Energy

PRESENTATION TITLE

The Current Energy Climate and the Outlook for the Future

Jon is the Technical Director at NFU Energy. He has a background in farming, and was educated an an engineer and electrician before embarking on a broad career in energy. Since 2005, Jon has been involved in all areas of NFU Energy, and, as such, he benefits from expertise in technical consultancy, renewable energy and energy scheme compliance. In recent years Jon has consulted on all manner of renewables projects, especially in anaerobic digestion (AD), biomass heating and combined heat and power (CHP).

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During this presentation, Jon will discuss the energy climate currently affecting the industry, and offer his predictions on what the future holds, including the options for investment to the added benefit of the market.

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Kelly Hewson-Fisher

National Water Resources Specialist, NFU

PRESENTATION TITLE

Future Water Security Challenges and the Solutions for Agriculture

Kelly Hewson-Fisher is the National Water Resources Specialist for the National Farmers Union (NFU). She joined the NFU after seven years as a Catchment Advisor at Anglian Water and 12 years as an Agricultural Business Consultant at ADAS, the UK’s largest independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy. Kelly was brought up on her family’s dairy farm in Lincolnshire, and she studied agriculture, marketing and business studies at Harper Adams University. Kelly wants to drive solutions through collaboration for water resource resilience.

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Periods of prolonged dry weather and drought, as seen this year, can be expected more and more frequently in the changing climate. At the same time, existing water abstraction licences are being reviewed and many will be capped, if not withdrawn, in order to protect the environment. In this session Daniel and Kelly will set out what is known about the scale of the water security challenge for abstractors, and what the solutions might be for the agriculture sector.

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Mark Hodgson

Co-Founder & CEO, ReFi Venture Studio

PRESENTATION TITLE

Real-time Sourcing & Decarbonisation of Food Supply Chains

Mark is CEO and co-founder of ReFi Ventures Studio, which accelerates agri-food solutions for regenerating nature. Mark has nearly three decades of experience in delivering cloud and climate technology and services to business and government globally. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has an M.Sc. from Aberdeen University, having specialised in sustainable development, rural economy, and natural resources. ReFi Venture Studio is developing an application in partnership with Wiliot Technology to augment the real-time carbon footprint of any food product in the supply chain.

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What if it was possible to see in real-time the carbon emissions accumulating in your supply chain? Imagine reading an accurate carbon footprint for each individual milk carton or every bunch of bananas at all stages of their supply? During this session, Antony Yousefian, a partner at The First Thirty Ventures, will introduce two exciting technologies that are making this idea a reality. See how Wiliot Pixel technology (referred to as ‘printed computers’ that cost almost nothing) are being deployed by a US retailer to enable the company to see each and every product moving around real time. This – combined with on-farm emission removal solutions like ruumi (who are accelerating adoption of regenerative grazing) – means the decarbonisation of the food supply chain can finally move at pace.

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Martin Collison

Director, Collison & Associates and Agrifood Advisor to Greater Lincolnshire LEP

PRESENTATION TITLE

Foresighting Future Workforce Needs in the Agri-Food Sector: A Pilot Study into Packhouse Skills for Automation

Martin has been an agrifood consultant since 2000, a lecturer in agrifood development since 1987, and he has owned businesses and been a partner or company director of four businesses in the food chain since 1990, including companies working in agrifood consultancy, agriculture, horticulture, imports and exports. Martin has been an agrifood advisor to the Greater Lincolnshire LEP since 2014. There, he is helping to lead the development of the UK Food Valley programme, which is focused on delivering industry-led investment, including expanding the fresh produce sector. Martin also lectures on food market trends and policy, has provided assistance for numerous UK and EU agrifood and agricultural strategies and programmes, and holds positions on various agrifood committees and boards.

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Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa, Martin de la Harpe and Martin Collison will present the initial findings of a pilot study they have undertaken concerning the workforce and skill shortage in the fresh produce packhouse sector. In response to the current labour crisis challenge, the team at LIAT has been investigating the implications of automation for future workforce and skills. Their research consists of a proof-of-concept case study that applies the skills’ foresighting methodology developed by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of research, development and innovation centres transforming UK manufacturing. This session will reveal the significant gaps between the current apprenticeship provision and the future capabilities needs for fresh produce packhouse automation, and the recommendations to close the gaps for the job roles of technical operators, engineers, and advanced engineers.

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Martin de la Harpe

Sustainability Consultant

PRESENTATION TITLE

Foresighting Future Workforce Needs in the Agri-Food Sector: A Pilot Study into Packhouse Skills for Automation

Martin de la Harpe has 25 years of experience in developing standards for horticultural supply chains. After completing an MSc in Plant Biotechnology at Wye College in Kent, and a postgraduate diploma in Plant and Soil Analysis at Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, Martin worked in the tea and coffee industry in Malawi and Kenya. Since 1997 he has been working in the floriculture supply chain; developing technical and ethical standards and human rights due diligence. Martin’s most recent role was Head of Sustainability for Flamingo Horticulture.

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Dr Carolina Camacho-Villa, Martin de la Harpe and Martin Collison will present the initial findings of a pilot study they have undertaken concerning the workforce and skill shortage in the fresh produce packhouse sector. In response to the current labour crisis challenge, the team at LIAT has been investigating the implications of automation for future workforce and skills. Their research consists of a proof-of-concept case study that applies the skills’ foresighting methodology developed by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of research, development and innovation centres transforming UK manufacturing. This session will reveal the significant gaps between the current apprenticeship provision and the future capabilities needs for fresh produce packhouse automation, and the recommendations to close the gaps for the job roles of technical operators, engineers, and advanced engineers.

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Nathanael Dannenberg

Horticulture Commercial Lead, Philips Lighting UK & Ireland

PRESENTATION TITLE

Sustainable Winter Production Using Artificial Lighting

Nathanael Dannenberg is the Horticultural Commercial Lead for Signify UK and Ireland (formerly Philips Lighting). Nathanael joined Signify in 2013 and brings with him industry and professional experience from a range of sectors. Prior to his role within horticulture, Nathanael held the position of National Sales Manager within the Retail and Hospitality End User team, where he was responsible for the delivery of major store rollouts. These focused on energy saving and carbon reduction, including the adoption of 3D printing within Marks and Spencer; saving over 60 per cent in energy, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the replacement luminaire by over 50 per cent. Nathanael is passionate about sustainability and is a keen gardener and grower in his spare time.

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During the winter, natural light falls short of giving crops what they need to grow and flourish, whereas artificial LED lighting can extend the growing season in a sustainable, energy-efficient way. However, low-carbon food production is a must if the UK is to hit its sustainability targets; meaning reducing emissions from food production will be one of the biggest challenges. In this presentation, Nathanael will explain how LED lighting, along with ‘light recipes’, can enable growers to unlock the power of light in order to sustainably feed a growing population.

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Nick Bateman

Executive Chairman, GrowPura

PRESENTATION TITLE

How to Make Vertical Farming Sustainable

As the Executive Chairman of GrowPura, Nick is responsible for the strategic direction of the business to firmly establish the brand and its innovative technology as market leaders in the vertical farming hydroponics industry. Nick has his finger firmly on the pulse of both sustainable agriculture and social economic behaviour trends and demands. Plus he has the technical expertise and environmental knowledge to bring intuitive farming solutions that bridge that gap. Nick is perfectly positioned to steer GrowPura to become an industry leader thanks to his proven track record in the biotechnology and food industries, coupled with extensive financial experience from senior positions at the likes of ICI/Zeneca, Lloyds Bank, British Steel Corporation and, most recently, Marlow Foods Limited.

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The food we eat traditionally, plus the way it is produced and transported, accounts for a significant portion of every single person’s carbon footprint, land usage and water waste. Vertical farming offers a far greener, and, most importantly, a sustainable alternative to traditional farming methods. It enables crops to be grown outside of their natural habitat, eliminates long-distance shipping of foods and doesn’t require the use of environmentally harmful fertilisers. Vertical farming guarantees quality, consistency and yield. In his presentation, Nick will demonstrate how GrowPura’s unique, automated technology goes one step further than the vertical farming seen to date. Nick will highlight why it is the technology of the future, and how it requires less investment for a superior return; not just financially but in the quality of produce too. Nick will also describe how GrowPura’s technology requires far fewer resources and land to feed, water and grow crops; thereby presenting a greener choice at a more affordable price for both manufacturers and the end users across a host of sectors. This, as Nick will explain, will be the driver towards choosing the ethical option.

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Oli Pascall

Managing Director, Clock House Farm

PRESENTATION TITLE

Empowering Growers To Maximise Yield Sustainably (with Robots)

Oli joined Clock House Farm as a Production Farm Manager in 2013. He has since worked his way through the business to become Managing Director two years ago. During the past decade, Oli has played a key role within the firm’s commitment to helping the general public to engage with sustainable food production, including by establishing their LEAF Open Farm Sunday events. Oli has a degree in Agricultural Business Management and, prior to joining Clock House Farm, worked for several large agricultural and horticultural businesses. Oli was named Young Producer of the Year at the 2016 M&S Farming for the Future Awards, while Clock House Farm has also won a number of industry and regional accolades.

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Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

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Paddy Long

Co-Founder & CPO, ruumi

PRESENTATION TITLE

Real-time Sourcing & Decarbonisation of Food Supply Chains

Paddy is a Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at ruumi, which is accelerating the adoption of regenerative grazing, improving farmers’ profitability and providing finance to remove emissions and sequester carbon in soils at scale. A designer by training, Paddy is passionate about speaking to customers, visualising new ideas and then testing those concepts. Paddy met the other ruumi co-founders, Johannes and Dani, while working on autonomous taxis for Daimler, where he was the Customer Experience Lead. During his career Paddy has also worked for Emirates Airlines, start-up onefinestay and global innovation consultancy IDEO. He also worked on London’s award-winning pedestrian wayfinding system. Paddy developed a passion for farming while helping on his Godfather’s cattle farm in Essex.

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What if it was possible to see in real-time the carbon emissions accumulating in your supply chain? Imagine reading an accurate carbon footprint for each individual milk carton or every bunch of bananas at all stages of their supply? During this session, Antony Yousefian, a partner at The First Thirty Ventures, will introduce two exciting technologies that are making this idea a reality. See how Wiliot Pixel technology (referred to as ‘printed computers’ that cost almost nothing) are being deployed by a US retailer to enable the company to see each and every product moving around real time. This – combined with on-farm emission removal solutions like ruumi (who are accelerating adoption of regenerative grazing) – means the decarbonisation of the food supply chain can finally move at pace.

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Paul Smith

Head of Operations, Greenborough Management & Greater Lincolnshire Growth Hub

PRESENTATION TITLE

Panelist, Finance & Investment Session - FPC in conjunction with UK Food Valley

Launched in 2015, the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub has been integral to supporting the achievement of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise’s Strategic Economic Plan. The plan sets out the ambition to create new jobs, support businesses, and increase the value of the economy in Greater Lincolnshire. Paul’s role as Head of Operations is to engage with businesses to understand exactly what they want to achieve, and how much funding is required. Based upon that, coupled with the current business circumstances, and funding opportunities, he supports and signposts businesses to the most appropriate funder or financial planner. With businesses looking for investment, Paul works with them to make certain that they have the skills and tools at their fingertips to deliver with confidence a winning pitch, and to ensure they are investment ready.

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Panel Discussion 1 How fresh produce businesses can secure the increased capital they need to support rising input costs and capital investment needs. The options for financing investment in capital infrastructure and machinery, and which options should be used for what purpose. Tips for fresh produce businesses faced with rising costs, and the need to raise more finance to support continuing operations. The grants or financial assistance available to help businesses invest. Panel Discussion 2 How to secure investment for the green transition, and whether new green finance programmes and green income streams can help the fresh produce sector. How the sector should approach investing in new technology they have not used before, and where the impact on costs or production are unclear. How the industry can work with the innovation funding system and research base to develop new ideas. The opportunities and risks that come with new forms of finance, such as venture capital.

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Phil Pearson

Group Development Director, APS Group

PRESENTATION TITLE

High-Technology Food Production: Moving Towards Net Zero

Phil is the Group Development Director for APS Group, the largest supplier of British tomatoes to the UK’s major supermarkets, and the operator of 70 hectares of glasshouses across six nurseries throughout the UK. Phil is the driving force for innovation at APS Group, which has led to the development of a number of new agritech approaches. Phil is driven to improve the sustainability of British tomato production. As a Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture and the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the British Tomato Growers’ Association, he has been involved with the implementation of many new technologies across the UK tomato industry. Phil is also a member of Defra’s Innovation and R&D Panel, and works with BEIS and other Government departments. In addition, Phil is on the NFU Horticulture and Potato Board, and works directly with BBSRC, EPSRC, and Innovate UK, to drive innovation and raise awareness of the protected horticulture sector.

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APS Produce is on a drive towards net zero food production. During this presentation, Phil will provide the audience with an understanding of the initiatives taken by APS Group, including: the use of third-party waste streams as feedstocks for protected horticulture; closed-loop production (using the cellulose in waste tomato leaves to produce compostable packaging), and re-using water and fertiliser to reduce input costs as well as the carbon impact of food production.

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Professor Carl-Otto Ottosen

Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

PRESENTATION TITLE

How Light Spectra Affects Plant Responses in Commercial Greenhouses

Professor Carl-Otto Ottosen’s research focus concerns the photosynthesis of plants subjected to changes in abiotic factors, including carbon dioxide and other environmental factors. He uses the physiological responses on intact plants to build up a knowledge base to understand how to control the climate in commercial greenhouses with the aim of conserving energy. His current research includes the effects of regular or irregular light patterns as well as the effects of spectral composition of plant reactions, both in terms of photosynthesis and secondary metabolites linked to circadian rhythms and carbohydrate metabolism. The toolbox to obtain the results utilises all types of measurements of photosynthesis and its related processes; both using invasive and non-invasive measurements. Professor Ottosen and his team have developed platforms for phenotyping in greenhouses and controlled environments, initially for heat stress, which has been applied to tomatoes and wheat crops. Future work will focus on repeated stresses, including cold stress on protein crops. The systems for phenotyping are small scale and focused.

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Plants perceive signals from their surrounding environment and regulate their growth and development accordingly. Plants are highly sensitive to the spectral distribution of light; perceiving changes in the light spectra and intensity through several photoreceptors. In his presentation, Professor Ottosen will examine the ways in which growers can manipulate the light spectra within a greenhouse or a closed growing system to regulate plant growth and quality.

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Professor Derek Stewart

Director of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre, The James Hutton Institute

PRESENTATION TITLE

Routes to Sustainable Food Production: A Scottish Snapshot

Professor Derek Stewart is Director of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre (APGC), a £27 million Tay Cities Deal regional development project at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland. He was formerly the Chair of Plant and Food Chemistry at Heriot Watt University, a post he now holds as an honorary position. For over 30 years Derek has worked at the industry-academia interface, and has led multiple (inter)national multi-partner projects that, to date, total approximately £300 million. As director of the APGC, Prof Stewart oversees the novel research, development and innovation around crops grown ‘under cover’ as well as post-harvest storage facilities. Within this remit, green biotechnology features heavily. Allied to the APGC, Derek is also on the board of Bloom Biotechnology Ltd, a joint venture in crop biotechnology between James Hutton Ltd and Epigentica Ltd. Prof Derek currently runs several projects and publishes widely on crop utility, quality and bioactivity.

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Analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 31 per cent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions originate from the world’s agri-food systems. With an increasing population, predicted to rise from 7 billion in 2021 to 9.7 billion in 2050, there will be an increasing demand for fresh water (30%), energy (50%) and food (50%), and, coupled with this, a need for more productive land (120 million hectares). In the meantime, we are experiencing soil erosion, biodiversity loss and significant climate change, plus weather extremes. During this presentation, Professor Stewart will discuss how the intersection of vertical farming (VF) and managed energy systems may be a route to help deliver increased levels of fresh produce, as well as lift food security and self-sufficiency. Also, Professor Stewart will explain how the industry should be able to produce food with a significantly minimised emissions footprint by linking VF to renewable energy sources.

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Professor Simon Pearson

Director, LIAT, University of Lincoln

PRESENTATION TITLE

Panelist, Finance & Investment Session - FPC in conjunction with UK Food Valley

Simon is responsible for founding and developing the Lincoln Institute of Agri Food Technology (LIAT), now recognised as ‘world leading’ within the 2021 BEIS Innovation Strategy, Creating the Future. LIAT has helped to pioneer the development of advanced robotic systems, machine learning, artificial intelligence and digital systems for UK agriculture. These systems are now entering the marketplace. During 2021, some 12 Saga Thorvald robot systems, which were co-developed with LIAT, achieved the milestone of 10,000km of on-farm autonomy. In 2021, Simon co-chaired the DEFRA Automation and Robotics Review with former Secretary of State George Eustice. Prior to LIAT, Simon was Director of a farming company producing cut flowers in Lincolnshire and Cornwall. He grew up in South Lincolnshire, where his family produced vegetable and cereal crops. Simon was awarded the 2022 RASE Science and Technology Award for his contribution to the sector.

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Panel Discussion 1 How fresh produce businesses can secure the increased capital they need to support rising input costs and capital investment needs. The options for financing investment in capital infrastructure and machinery, and which options should be used for what purpose. Tips for fresh produce businesses faced with rising costs, and the need to raise more finance to support continuing operations. The grants or financial assistance available to help businesses invest. Panel Discussion 2 How to secure investment for the green transition, and whether new green finance programmes and green income streams can help the fresh produce sector. How the sector should approach investing in new technology they have not used before, and where the impact on costs or production are unclear. How the industry can work with the innovation funding system and research base to develop new ideas. The opportunities and risks that come with new forms of finance, such as venture capital.

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Rachel Galbraith

Director, Head of Agriculture & Renewables, MAF Finance

PRESENTATION TITLE

Panelist, Finance & Investment Session - FPC in conjunction with UK Food Valley

Rachel Galbraith has worked in the finance industry for 26 years, previously working at Lloyds Banking Group, as well as two other banks, before joining MAF Finance Group in 2018. Over the last 16 years, she has worked extensively on numerous renewable energy projects, including the arrangement of finance for a variety of assets such as: anaerobic digestion plants, biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps. Rachel joined MAF as Director, Head of Agriculture & Renewables and manages a portfolio of agricultural and horticultural clients; guiding them through projects and assisting with decisions including: choosing potential suppliers and installers; mitigating risk against rising energy costs; and securing new income streams. Rachel works closely with a selected group of suppliers and consultants – often supporting them through the Ofgem accreditation process. She also works with a panel of over 100 funders that enables her to match the client, asset or project to the most appropriate funder.

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Panel Discussion 1 How fresh produce businesses can secure the increased capital they need to support rising input costs and capital investment needs. The options for financing investment in capital infrastructure and machinery, and which options should be used for what purpose. Tips for fresh produce businesses faced with rising costs, and the need to raise more finance to support continuing operations. The grants or financial assistance available to help businesses invest. Panel Discussion 2 How to secure investment for the green transition, and whether new green finance programmes and green income streams can help the fresh produce sector. How the sector should approach investing in new technology they have not used before, and where the impact on costs or production are unclear. How the industry can work with the innovation funding system and research base to develop new ideas. The opportunities and risks that come with new forms of finance, such as venture capital.

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Sarah Evered

Head of Farming Innovation & Productivity Policy, Defra

PRESENTATION TITLE

The Funding Opportunities & Grower Benefits Available Through Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme

​​Sarah heads up the productivity and innovation policy teams at Defra, where she has worked for more than three years. Sarah is responsible for helping to develop the Farming Investment Fund, but also some of the other productivity schemes, including the Future Farming Resilience Fund, the Farming Innovation Programme and the new entrants scheme.

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Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

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Simon Baty

Knowledge Transfer Manager, Innovate UK KTN

PRESENTATION TITLE

How Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Can Support Producers

Simon is a proven manager and business developer, who benefits from 25 years of experience in food safety, production, change and commercial management, within both the public and private sectors. Simon has been working for the KTN, focusing on Agrifood, for almost nine years – having previously spent a year as a knowledge transfer manager in the Biosciences KTN. Before his innovation roles, Simon worked in business development; creating bespoke and new ways to ensure food safety. Earlier in his career, Simon managed a business unit in the animal feed sector.

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Everyone recognises the need for innovation across the food sector, but how do busy farmers and growers adapt in order to adopt new technology in reality? In this session, Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production team discuss the funding and support available to those looking to become involved. Innovate UK is joined by guest speakers from successful on-farm automation projects who will tell the story of how innovation can be put into practice from both the innovator and the producer perspective.

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Sohabe Richyal

Robot & Automation Advisor, Gain & Co (HowToRobot’s sister company)

PRESENTATION TITLE

Are Robots The New Seasonal Workers? How Automation Can Solve The Produce Industry’s Labour Challenges

Sohabe is a seasoned automation professional who helps businesses from SMEs to Fortune 500 companies. His background spans multiple industries, including: Robotics Research, Petrochemical, and Nuclear Energy. He has worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority; where he developed, tested, and commissioned control systems and robotics hardware for applications in harsh environments, such as nuclear reactors, deep sea, and outer space. Sohabe holds a Master’s degree in both Petrochemical and Robotics Engineering. Today, Sohabe is a Robot & Automation Advisor at Gain & Co, an independent advisor that helps companies to succeed with robots and automation. The company is 100 per cent market neutral with no ties to any suppliers. Its team of independent experts help manufacturers through each phase of the automation process to make sure that their business goals are met, and that the solutions are implemented smoothly and effectively.

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An increasing number of growers are exploring robots and automation in an effort to address labour shortages, especially the lack of seasonal workers. The technologies have advanced rapidly in recent years, and are now also able to take on a range of jobs such as: seeding, weeding, packing and much more. But how and where do you start? In this presentation from online global automation hub HowToRobot.com, Sohabe Richyal, an independent advisor on robotics and automation, will provide a quick overview of the most promising automation opportunities in the fresh produce industry right now. He will share learnings from other farms, and demonstrate how you can take the first steps to automate and find suitable solutions to your labour challenges.

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Stuart Catchpole

Inward Investment Manager, New Anglia LEP

PRESENTATION TITLE

Plant Science for Nutrition – A High Potential Opportunity in Norfolk and Suffolk

From an initial start as a high school teacher, Stuart has built a varied career that has seen him work across many industry sectors under both public and private ownership. As a senior leader he has been responsible for the strategic development and successful delivery of operations within the Advanced Manufacturing, Bioscience, Construction and Education sectors. In his role as an Inward Investment Manager at the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), he utilises these experiences to promote Norfolk and Suffolk as an ideal destination for business on a global platform.

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The Plant Science for Nutrition programme from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) capitalises on the growing market for healthy and nutritious, plant-based foods. The proposition offers the opportunity for both businesses and investors to harness Norfolk and Suffolk’s globally-renowned plant science, nutrition and health research in order to supercharge the development of nutritious food products derived from plants; right the way from concept through to commercialisation. This talk from Stuart will provide insight into how businesses can engage with the Plant Science for Nutrition programme to exploit the region’s world-leading plant science, nutrition, and health research, and, thereby, capitalise on the growing market for healthy and nutritious plant-based foods.

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Will Hill

Founder and Chief Evangelist, FruPro

PRESENTATION TITLE

Taking Fresh Produce Into The Future

Will has extensive experience in the fresh produce industry, having worked with every step of the supply chain. Will was the fifth generation to work for his family business WT Hills Western, a 130-year-old premium fruit wholesaler at Western International Market in London. Then, in 2019, Will conceived the idea of transforming the siloed fresh produce supply chain and digitally connecting the B2B industry. Using the success of the ‘WT Hills Imports’ venture, founded in 2016, and a family business with 130 years of fresh produce experience, Will brought to life FruPro, an online B2B fresh produce platform, together with co-founders Ollie Morley-Fletcher (COO) and Kov Murugaratnam (CTO).

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The fresh produce industry finds itself at a critical moment as its supply chain faces intense pressure to boost efficiency. This cannot happen, however, with the current analog way in which it functions. During this presentation, you will hear how the online platform FruPro can help to ensure that every business has ample opportunity to trade and expand their network, with easy solutions to donate produce that would otherwise be wasted. Will will explain how using FruPro’s online B2B platform is the next step towards a modern fresh produce industry that can meet rising demands and maintain steady profits.

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EXHIBITORS

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BIG
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SHOW INFO

here is our 2023 show guide

2023 show guide

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