SXSW Interactive typically offers a plethora of panels with guest speakers that have traveled to Austin to offer their expert opinion in this annual festival.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the normally massive in-person festival returned with a fully online, virtual event.  These panels and events normally present an opportunity to see the experts live and in person with the potential of connecting with other festival attendees.  However, this year’s festival was limited to laptop screens.

While this year’s festival was limited to an online-only experience, there were multiple opportunities to enjoy expert panelists speaking on a range of important and informative topics that shape our lives and our future.  Food panels have always been a subjective of important discussion on multiple panels each year at SXSW, and this year was no different.  While attendees were not able to enjoy the breakout after-parties filled with free tacos and drinks, each panel offered a collection of outstanding information on the future of food, agriculture and the policies that affect our consumption.


Andrew Zimern - Austin Food and Wine festival

Aquaculture, Food Systems and Climate Change

In an all-star panel lead by chef Andrew Zimern, a group of experts discuss the context of the global climate crisis and the global health crisis, with an immense challenge humanity faces is that of transforming our global food systems.  Aquaculture- the farming of aquatic animals and plants, is vital as the planet’s fastest-growing food production system.  Seafood is one of the healthiest proteins to consume and one of the most efficient and sustainable to produce. Done well, aquaculture can be a powerful force for ecological and social good. The moderated panel of experts will discuss aquaculture’s key role.


Future of Food sxsw

The Future of Food @ SXSW

In the next 30 years, we will need to feed a growing global population with diminishing resources and a changing climate. What future foods will we grow and eat on Earth to help people thrive? How has the pandemic highlighted the complexity and fragility of our global food system, and how can we create a more efficient and equitable food system for the future?

The Future of Food @ SXSW will take place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, March 18 through Sunday, March 21, online. The series of virtual events will bring together a diverse group of experts, leaders and innovators that will challenge us to think about how food and agricultural production will need to adapt to new pressures, and about  technologies and innovations that will help us feed the world while we combat climate change and conserve the earth’s precious natural resources.  To Attend: [].  Thursday-Sunday, March 18, 2021 – March 21, 2021 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Hemp Forward: Regulation and Free Market Collide

Hemp is undergoing a worldwide resurgence in legalization and popularity, and it’s value is only beginning to be explored. From food to fashion, industrial applications to personal care, hemp holds great promise as a versatile, affordable and sustainable solution to global challenges. Key to the re-adoption of hemp and rapid industry innovation is acceptance by consumers, regulators and retailers alike. This session will tackle the future of hemp from diverse perspectives encompassing inter-industry to retail giants and government. Join Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Eric Steenstra from Vote Hemp and industry experts, as we tackle competing agendas head on and chart a bold new course for the hemp marketplace.


Eating Bugs SXSW

Bugs And Kelp, Feeding Our Post-Pandemic Planet

This panel highlights the premise of building a better food system in a post-pandemic world, using bugs and kelp, and how it might just be our best bet to substantially change how we feed people on a global scale. Alternative crops like kelp, algae, and seaweed, or micro-livestock like farmed insects are often overshadowed by flashier techno-food solutions with wild valuations, but both are nutritionally dense and resource-efficient methods to grow food that can be deployed today, with historic and cultural roots worldwide. We’ll explore industry hurdles and growth opportunities in this nascent space; look at broader consumer perceptions driving larger companies to take stock of alternative proteins, and what the future holds for farmers and founders building this new market.


LC Guacamole

What Is Taste?

As part of “An Uncharted Future’s” conference theme, What is Taste focuses how the experience of eating shapes our entire journey of food and culture. Our sensitivity to taste is an almost magical part of our individual experience because everyone’s perceptions and preferences are so unique; but what IS taste, really, and what informs it?  It is so much more than a chemical reaction on our taste buds.  Taste is made up of shifting cultural norms, food science and technology, and the art of cooking, of bringing a dish to life through careful preparation and the right ingredients. And by better understanding how all of these elements work together, you can develop an even deeper appreciation for your favorite food experiences. Food scientists, chefs, and other food experts will discuss how culture, science, and technology shape one of the most important aspects of our lives.
Panelists include: Chef Dominque Cren (Atelier Crenn); Jonathan McIntyre (Motiff Foods)


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