Agenda for 5.4.21 Space for Food - From Vision to Reality

Updated: May 26

Free, Virtual Event on May 4th at 9:00 -12:00 PM CT


Join thought leaders and innovators across space tech and space exploration, addressing controlled environment growing, microbial ag, regenerative ag, alternative proteins, and food systems as we discuss how the challenges of feeding humanities growing population in space can help develop solutions for the food challenges here on Earth.

Register for Event

Thought Starter Block 1 (9:00 - 9:45 AM CT):

These concurrent 'thought starter sessions' will each have 3-4 co-leaders and a moderator and will last 45. Each co-leader will deliver a 3-5 minute lightning talk about their unique perspective on the topic of the thought starter session, leading to a participatory and cross-pollinating discussion with attendees in the room. In addition to the live audience on 5/4, all the sessions will be recorded and archived at the Yield Lab Institute's YouTube page.

A Roadmap for Food Systems on Earth and in Space What's state of the art and what is coming next in truly integrated food production for Earth and space? What are the best use cases in it being used for research that can lead to production?

  • Kai Staats on building off the lessons from Biosphere 2 - Kai's work includes SIMOC (Scalable, Interactive Model of an Off-world Community)and SAM (Study of Analog Missions)

  • Julia Wolfenbarger of NanoRacks

  • Gene Boland, Chief Scientist at TechShot on CEA, bioprinting, and more getting from chicken egg rotators to LEO to cislunar and beyond

  • Moderated by Ryan DelPercio of Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Simpler Organisms for Food and Biomaterials

Yeast, bacteria, fungi, and algae can produce far more than plants and production animals and can increasingly have nutrition and function engineered in. They can produce starches, proteins, lipids, and more for food and biomaterials while helping regulate the environment and deal with waste from other systems. Join a discussion for creators of microbial growing systems:

  • Richard Sayre of Richard Sayre Consulting on tuning algae to produce what we need

  • Lahiru Jayakody of Southern Illinois University’s Fermentation Science Institute on using biotech and microbiology to turn waste into value added bio products

  • Moderated by Thi Nguyen of Saint Louis Community College

What's Next in CEA

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is evolving and scaling rapidly - what’s happening in CEA and how are startups, researchers, and industry partners readying themselves to play a part?


Thought Starter Block 2 (9:45 - 10:30 AM CT):

These concurrent 'thought starter sessions' will each have 3-4 co-leaders and a moderator and will last 45. Each co-leader will deliver a 3-5 minute lightning talk about their unique perspective on the topic of the thought starter session, leading to a participatory and cross-pollinating discussion with attendees in the room. In addition to the live audience on 5/4, all the sessions will be recorded and archived at the Yield Lab Institute's YouTube page.

Educating for Future Food Systems Climate change and population growth require that we produce more food using fewer resources. To meet this demand, the agriculture industry is going through a revolution. Traditional agricultural education programs are not adequately preparing students for future careers in agriscience and STEM students do not see agriculture as an interesting career. Space provides the unique opportunity for students to explore what it takes to grow plants successfully. We’ll hear from teachers, program directors, and ed-tech entrepreneurs as we explore a few of these programs in more detail!

  • Moderated by Peter Webb, CEO of MARSfarm

  • Amy Padolf, Director of Education at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens and creator of Growing Beyond Earth

  • Regina Smart - FFA Ag Ambassador in Louisiana, GBE Participant

  • Lauren Milord, Partnerships and Outreach Manager of DreamUp

Integrated Data for Future Food Systems

The data to inform future food systems is going to come from millions of silos small and large, from IoT networks in fields or bioreactors, to startups creating new value streams, to the systems operated by parts of the supply chain, and event remote sensing from drones and satellites networks that can put all of it into context. How can we make the tech work together for the people in ag/food systems?

We Grew it, Now What?

Just because it can be grown in a CEA system, fermenter or bioreactor doesn’t mean it will be consumed if we can’t turn it into an ingredient or product tailored for preparation and consumption. Join a discussion with food experts on how alternative proteins and other foodtech is turning into sustainable products with shelf life. Whether cultured meat or microbial foods, how do we turn them into food products people will love and trust? Co-leaders:

  • Adam Janczuk, VP of Global R&D at IFF Nourish

  • Stacy Kimmel, VP of R&D at AeroFarms

  • Moderator - TBD from food innovation perspective

What's Next: A Space for Food Town Hall (from 10:30 - 11:15 AM CT):

Town Hall/Working Session: Where Next with Space for Food?

  • Opening Remarks by Dane Gobel of the Deep Space Food Challenge on the challenge, what’s coming out of it for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, and what it’s revealing about the opportunity for food and ag innovators as humanity steps beyond Earth - and how its not too late to get involved

  • Discussion: how we can support the ecosystem of cellag, microbial foods, CEA, regenerative and circular biosystem, and other similar innovators and their workforce, suppliers, supporters and customers as a future food system like imagined at Space for Food comes to life

Networking (from 11:15 AM - 12:00 PM CT):

Finally, meet your peers from all over the world working on issues like these in a special speed networking session where our event platform will connect you to each other for short video sessions that you can control - opt-in, opt-out, duck out early, or extend the conversation if it’s going really well.


Don't miss this opportunity to network and learn about this exciting Space for Food initiative launched by the Yield Lab Institut you miss the first Space for Food event?

If you missed our first event, you missed some fantastic talks on obstacles to supporting live in space, microbes as bio blocks for anything, and much more content!


To exemplify that, check out this talk from Evan Fraser of Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph during the 'Food as System and Experience' thought starter session from the first Space for Food event.


Check the link below for more content from the first Space for Food event and agtech/space tech related content.

Recordings of First Event Sessions Here

Space for Food:

Space for Food is an initiative of The Yield Lab Institute, an agtech think tank and the non-profit arm of the Yield Lab, a global agtech venture capital firm and a leader in accelerating food and agtech innovations and startups.


Space for Food will support Controlled Environment Agriculture, Circular and Regenerative Agri-food systems, Food Production in Extreme Conditions, Biomaterial Production and Use, Food Ingredients, Uses and Packaging, Cellular and Fermentation Agtech startups, researchers, and resource providers in both the Deep Space Food Challenge and beyond.


The Deep Space Food Challenge is an initiative of NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to help bring innovative food production technologies to space and Earth.